OBASI: To Tackle Biafra, Let Govt Show Fairness To All

OBASI

OBASI

What triggered the recent surge of agitation for Biafran independence?

THE immediate trigger was the October 19 arrest by the Department of State Services (DSS) of Nnamdi Nwannekaenyi Kanu, leader of a separatist organisation, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and director of Radio Biafra, an unlicensed station urging violent struggle to achieve independence for Biafra in Nigeria’s South east. Charges against him include sedition, ethnic incitement and treasonable felony. Some of these offences carry heavy penalties, from long jail terms to the death sentence. The agitators are primarily demanding his freedom, but also calling for the restoration of Biafra as an independent country.
Does Biafra exist as a distinct unit in Nigeria today?

No, and the separatists are not clear about how they see the territory of the “new Biafra”. Some claim it would include all areas inhabited by people of Igbo descent, including parts of the oil-rich Niger Delta to the south and Benue State to the north, but the peoples of these regions vehemently oppose inclusion in any new Biafra. Other separatists say a restored Biafra would be limited to the five core Ibo states – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo – referred to administratively as Nigeria’s “South East Zone”.

Nigeria’s last national census in 2006 counted 18.9 million people in the five states of the South East zone. There were no questions about ethnicity in the census, but in these five states, Ibos constitute nearly all of the population. The trouble for Biafran separatists is that the South East zone is landlocked and has only marginal natural resources. Its agricultural land is already densely populated and overworked, and, should ethnic conflict intensify, certainly it could not sustain many of the millions of Ibos who live in other parts of Nigeria.
What other factors have fueled the protests?

In a way, this is a new attempt to attract attention and spending from the central government, but it is based on a cocktail of longstanding and recent economic and political grievances. Some pre-date the three years during which Biafra fought to establish its independence in 1967-70. The would-be state was recognised by five countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Zambia, Gabon and Haiti), but was reintegrated into Nigeria after losing a bitter war in which one million people died, mostly of starvation and disease due to a federal government blockade.

The South East, like much of the country, suffers from deficient and dilapidated infrastructure and widespread youth unemployment. The resulting economic frustration feeds into longstanding complaints that the Federal Government never fully rehabilitated the region after the civil war. Critics hold that administrative changes (such as the creation of new states and local government areas) decreed by northern-led military governments from 1983 to 1999 diminished the region’s share of federal appointments, revenue and development projects.

Grievances were further aggravated when President Muhammadu Buhari’s first appointments after coming to power this year were seen by many as favouring the North. Subsequent ministerial appointments have substantially redressed the earlier imbalance, but mistrust persists. Agitators say the South East is not getting its due from the country’s federal system.

What are the recent politics of Biafran separatism?

For over a decade, agitation for Biafra’s restoration was championed by the Movement for Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), formed in 1999 and led by Ralph Uwazuruike. The group pledged to be non-violent but, over time, its members, alleging provocation, clashed with police repeatedly, resulting in the death of several members. (In May 2008, the group alleged security operatives had killed an implausible 2,020 members since 1999).

Uwazuruike claims he is MASSOB’s sole sponsor but the group also sells “Biafran passports” to members and fundraises from some Diaspora Igbo organisations. In May 2013, then President Goodluck Jonathan listed the movement (along with the radical Islamist Boko Haram and the militant Yoruba group, the O’odua People’s Congress) as an “extremist group” threatening Nigeria’s security. In recent years, MASSOB has fractured and, on 30 November 2015, a major faction tried to expel Uwazuruike, alleging he had compromised the secessionist cause and pocketed some 100 million naira of the group’s funds.

In September 2010, a splinter group formed the Biafra Zionist Movement (BZM), later renamed as the Biafran Zionist Front (BZF). It claimed international links and even an “alliance” with Israel. On 5 November 2012, BZF leader Benjamin Igwe Onwuka “re-declared the Republic of Biafra” at a rally in Enugu; he and about 100 members were promptly arrested and charged with treason, but granted bail. On 8 March 2014, Onwuka and BZF members tried to seize an Enugu-state-owned radio station and broadcast another Biafra declaration: they were arrested by police and are now on trial.
What do we know about the group involved in the recent flare-up?

Kanu, the figure at the centre of the current unrest, fell out with Uwazuruike in 2009, and emerged as the leader of IPOB in 2012. Shortly thereafter, he set up Radio Biafra, live-streamed from London, which broadcast highly provocative messages laced with misinformation, hate speech and anti-Nigeria derision. IPOB has more recently opened “embassies” (small offices) in the Basque county in Victoria, Spain, and also in Luxemburg.

Following Buhari’s victory in the March 2015 election, Kanu’s Radio Biafra stepped up its messages of hate and incitement against the new president, his government and northern Nigerians.
What is the relationship between the Biafra separatist movement and other restive groups in the Niger Delta?

The Igbo of the South East and minority groups in the Niger Delta share common feelings of marginalisation. IPOB has strong following among the Igbo in Rivers State, particularly in its chief city, Port Harcourt. MASSOB’s leaders and some ex-militant Niger Delta leaders have exchanged solidarity visits and jointly called for the right to self-determination.

However, the Igbo and delta groups are sharply divided over their practical interpretation of what to do with that right. Most groups in the delta are demanding regional autonomy and the right to control their petroleum resources within Nigeria.
How have the Federal Government and security agencies responded?

President Buhari has said Nigeria is indivisible. Initially police action was largely restrained, although they broke up some rallies, arrested scores of people and charged 137 as at 1 December. The agitators claimed some protestors were killed by police and posted gruesome pictures of alleged casualties on social media, which were repudiated by the authorities.

But Army Chief Lt Gen Tukur Buratai later vowed to “crush” any threat to the country’s unity and territorial integrity, a warning apparently carried out in the 2 December shooting of protesters.



13 Comments
  • igboham

    Obasi cannot tell the truth while accusing others of misinformation. He is a Nigerian hack unable to sacrifice anything for his people..

  • Buy Your Football Travel Mugs.
    http://goo.gl/xVmv43

  • amador kester

    There is a grand meta message for comprehensive national restructuring of the federalism before things get out of hand but nigeria does not decipher meta messages. We should not believe in artillery pieces,, air squadrons, as a fundamental panacea to replace thinking and problem solving skills as these may fail. Ask defunct soviet russia

  • ZOOGERIA

    A VERY SIMPLE FACT that the so called Igbo Governors have REFUSED to emphasize.
    They are all guilty of embezzlement and hanky Panky affairs, and are afraid they would be asked to render accounts of the Money allocated to their Governments by the Federal Govt.

  • Benjamin

    Obasi is one of the ZOO’s newest recruits against Biafrans, a brainwashed southerner who does not know that all he has been given or paid by the Islamic ZOO govevernment led by Buhari a notorious terrorist is he Obasi’s own money.

    Fela Anikulapo Kuti says, animals don’t give me my human right. It baffles me that a man who claims to be educated does not know that he is being robbed

    If this medium can publish Obasi’s opinion, let them also deliver this message to him that HE OBASI IS BEING ROBBED BY HOUSA- FULANI – YORUBA OLIGACHY FOR THE PAST 55 YEARS.

    I do not need to remind him where he is coming from or where his father was coming from, or the present condition of women, children and the elderly ones in his village, town and city.

    Obasi and his likes cannot escape God’s judgement that will soon befall the housa/fulan i/ Yorubas who have lived their entire lives by shedding Biafrans blood in order to force the rest that is alive like Obasi to fearfully believe in the superiority and born to rule notion of the Housa/ Fulani Islamic Jihads.

    I pity the condition he fines himself, because, if he cannot save himself, nobody will save him.

    Obasi should also know that in the eyes of northern Nigeria and western Nigeria south south and south east are already captured and is now saving them as slaves.

    Chosing to be a boot licker does not make them to value the life of Obasi, why? you will be the first to be killed by them when the time comes.

    They openly said it, that no matter what Chibuike Amaechi, Rochas Okorocha, Ogbonnaya Onu and co does to please the north that the north cannot trust them, may be this have explained to Mr. Obasi that anything that stands on the way of Islamic north from seeping their Quran into Atlantic Ocean must be destroyed.

    Mr. Obasi is still visually impired and may it be corrected and opened before it becomes too late in Jesus name AMEN.

    .

  • 2mmmmmm1nnnnnn

    ANOTHER NIGERIAN BLIND STOOGE; WHO INTENDS TO WALK BACKWARD SUDDENLY STARTED WALKING FORWARD?

  • Darlington

    I did not wait to read this rubbish to the end. This is one of the agents of divide and rule who has collected a dime to sell generations yet unborn. When will our people learn? Must you speak against collective interest of your people for you to be seen as Pan-Nigeria? Zik was the founder of Pan-Nigerianism, but no one can point at single benefit his people (Biafrans) gained from unity of Nigeria till date. The current Biafra agitation is being driven by Biafran youths who have decided to take their future into their hands. In geography, there is nothing South or Niger-Delta. The name Niger-Delta originated from Niger River which empties into Atlantic ocean via tributaries. Divide and rule agents removed the River in the name just to divide us in Eastern region. Biafra has come to stay.

  • UnapologeticallyYoruba

    The difference between these Igbo separatists and their Southern Neigbours?
    Most groups in the delta are demanding regional autonomy and the right to control their petroleum resources within Nigeria

    Exactly the same thing Yorubas have been agitating for that those without wisdom call us cowards..

  • loveontopover

    The greatest mistake Igbo man made was allowing Zik to leads us. He failed all the way through! Even when the Hausa wanted to opt out of the federation, it was Zik who forced them back by forming alliance with them. See what the awuse look like in their true colour! Any Biafra nation leaving any Igbo man behind in any other country, count me out!

  • Ezekaeze

    This is one of the biased lopsided polical journerlists. Of course, he is working for what he was paid to do by nigerian authorithies.

  • ugochukwu jerome Nweke

    This is one of the buhari paid agent to tarnish the image of biafrans, but I tell you this time biafra has come to stay, you and your fellow terrorist buhari will not stop us

  • Sonei Servant

    Zik is the author of all problem faced by the Ibo people in the Nigeria setup because he failed to bring into context the best interest of Ibo people in the negotiation process that gave Nigeria independence. He had placed his political ambitions higher than the best interest of ndi Igbo while the leaders of the Northern and the western regions gave preconditions to their joining the nation Nigeria, Zik gave none because he had ambition of leading a unified West Africa as a country. The same is true for present day politicians of Ibo stock whose ambition is not in line with the best interest of ndi Ibo. The would rather prefer houses and demeanor positions in Abuja than the best interest of Ibo people The idea being propagated in certain quarters that ndi Igbo who have property in other parts of Nigeria would forfeit them in the event of a Biafran state is naive designed to deter them from pursing the path of self determination of their destiny as a nation and state. Would ndi Igbo be the only foreign nationals that would own properties in Nigeria in the event of a Biafran state? Are there laws that govern the ownership of properties locally and internationally? I would leave that question to those who oppose the coming into being of the souverin state of Biafran to answer that question. I do not think ndi Igbo would be held ransom in the Nigerian state with a threat of seizure of their property in Nigeria, when the right time comes, that catch from hostile quarters will be taken care-of. I was listening to a young man of Ibo decent narrating his frustration and failure trying to enlist into the army or airforce. He said at some point he was asked to change his name to hausa/fulani Muslim name in other to successfully enlist as he had tried on many occasions but failed with his Ibo name. This is a young man volunteering to dedicate his life for the service of the country in which he found himself but met rejection and frustration. How would such a young man feel a sense of belonging to the Nigerian state? This is the same story in all government parastatatles in which their numbers in service is structurally restricted to the bare minimum to achieve the aim of dominance over them but to the detriment of the nation because all institutions in this country is structured to give certain quarters the edge over the Ibos. These sort of practices has been institutionalized in Nigeria, how can Nigeria make any meaningful progress with such project of exclusion of Ibos while feigning hypocritical oneness and unity while a certain part is hurting. Just recently a delegation was sent to the southeast to seek dialogue while the Ibos are being marginalized from top public offices in recent appointments. The call for dialogue is insincere and was sent to the wrong leaders because the people and those championing the right to self determination have rejected these leaders. Nnamdi Kalu and his team has the support of the people and knows those who have the best interest of Ibo people at heart to engage the other quarters for a meaningful dialogue. The call for dialogue will fail if the figure heads of agitation are not taken seriously and excluded from the so called dialogue. Events in the first few months of the current administration vindicated Ibo people’s choice of whom to vote for at the last general election. The principal citizen so far has not proved Ibo people wrong. Nigeria could have been an exemplary country of development and prosperity where an Ibo would not need to travel 6hrs to Lagos or elsewhere outside their state to catch a flight to travel overseas. What happens if an Ibo man from Abia boards a flight from let say Aba that takes him to his destination overseas without going to Abuja or Lagos? Nigeria could have been a country with a networked economy where Ibos would not need to go to Lagos to clear their goods then haul it 420km back home with more than a quarter of a million Naira to the southeast to the disaffection of Ibo consumers in the southeast. What happens if an Ibo person clears his goods from a wharf at Egbema or Onitscha? Nigeria could have been a nation where road infrastructure in the southeast is at the same par with the others say in the northeast, northcentral, Northwest or say southwest. Wealth and life is destroyed in this country simply because the are of Ibo stock and must be brought under dominance, this sub-human practices against the Ibos has fostered corruption in public services, institutionalized mediocre standard of service to all citizens as best standard practices is never encouraged so as to allow the perpetrators room to carry-out their schemes and designs against ndi Igbo forever. Nigeria could have been a nation whose economy is rail networked to support the movement of goods and services to the east to reduce the overheads of entrepreneurs based there, which cost Ibos in the southeast , consumers of basic goods and services more than other citizens from other regions. Nigeria would have been a country that encourage the Ibos with funds and all other forms of support to industrialized Nigeria rather than a country that reject their skills and personality leading to destruction of national wealth and dreams belittling black Africans we lead in the community of nations. An opposite of what Asians did to industrialize and archive economic prosperity. Nigeria could have been a nation with standard dispensation of public goods and services , social justice. Every past leader of Nigeria had their opportunity of putting this country right but failed, the current principal citizen has been given his opportunity to put this nation right or follow the litany of failures of previous leaders. Here public and private institutions are not designed to serve the people with the best standard practises that benefit the nation and people, meritocracy is debunked and mediocrity based on ethno-religious mechanism is enthroned, which is a no no for a country that needs peace, progress and prosperity. These practices won’t make Nigeria great rather hold-down the country in the pit of corruption, mediocrity and social strife. I hope those in authority would be humble to bend low to hear these whispers that might bring the revolution we desperately need to transform Africa from the dark nation riddle with poverty and diseases to a land of delight. Once upon a time France and England were at war for over 100 years and many nations of Europe were at war with one another which formed nations of Europe which have today merged into the European Union much more like a single nation to give them a bargaining power on the world stage. The same can happen in Nigeria, going by the level of nepotism, corruption and ethno-religious violence even before the inception of independence, Nigeria will make no meaningful progress. If the constituent regions of Nigeria become independent countries where each region would compete with the other in terms of socio-economic development, then these independent nations that separated might be tempted just like the European nations to come together under detailed agreement to form a bargaining block on the community of nations, thereby raising the dignity and Prestige of the black African in the community of races which at the moment is insignificant. If you find yourself in the shoes of Ibo people faced with the level of marginalization from public service, discrimination of nearly 50years that prevents them from achieving their potentials as a nation of people in this world, would you feel a citizen of Nigeria? I will leave this question for the nay-sayers to the establishment of the state of Biafra to answer for themselves. Peace be to the people.

  • IKEM ONUOHA

    An Igbo man sees the entire world as his village, while
    an Hausa man sees Kano as the Universe and a Yoruba man sees Lagos as his
    entire world. Nigeria is just too small to contain the Igbo man’s dreams,
    aspirations, industry, commerce and expertise. He needs a platform to rule and
    dominate the entire Universe which is Biafra. He does not really need oil to
    survive since he does not work in the civil service, public service, or does he
    constitute the majority of politicians or government contractors but earnestly
    needs FREEDOM to control his destiny. His dominion is in the area of invention,
    creativity, industry, development, commerce and the provision of goods and
    services for the good of mankind and not religious, cultural or political
    dominion. He has capacity to drive the world technologically like the US, the
    UK, Russia, France, Germany, China and Israel. An average Igbo man is far better than an average Yoruba or an
    average Hausa-Fulani: intellectually, economically and industrially, not
    withstanding his money that Awolowo stole to develop and empower Yoruba land, or
    his properties that Gowon destroyed and others he dashed out. He carries the
    blessing of Abraham, Nigeria will remain cursed as she continues to curse and
    undermine him. The only way Nigeria will see light is by blessing and letting
    Biafra Go. The blood of the Igbo man slaughtered by Hausa- Fulani and the cries
    of the Igbo child starved to death by Yoruba will continue to
    speak against the Nigeria project. Nigeria is doomed and under a
    curse, and therefore needs to make atonement, restitution and seek
    forgiveness from the Igbo man. Hausa-Fulani should bury their faces in shame,
    how would you explain why an entirely military affairs as regards the 1966 coup
    led to the slaughter of millions of Igbos in Northern Nigeria. What about the
    1945 massacre in Northern Nigeria and the cycle of Igbo slaughter ever since
    then. The plotters of the 1966 coup were not all Igbos. Even at that, Nzeogwu did
    not consult his kith and kin before the coup? Why should an ordinary Igbo man
    pay for what was clearly a military rebellion? Several officers of
    northern origin took part in Nigeria’s first military coup. The “Igbo coup” tag attached to the Majors’
    assault ignores the fact that scores of northern officers took part in the
    Lagos operations, and even assisted Nzeogwu when he stormed the residence of
    the Northern Region’s premier: Ahmadu Bello. Nzeogwu was
    later to describe the detachment of troops accompanying him to Bello’s
    house as “a truly Nigerian gathering” (New Nigerian – 18th January 1966). Nzeogwu pointed out that the northern soldiers accompanying
    him “had the chance to drop out. More than that, they had bullets. They had been issued with bullets but I was
    unarmed. If they disagreed they could have shot me….most of the Other
    Ranks were Northerners but they followed”. Among the prominent northern soldiers that helped Nzeogwu to
    overthrow the Northern Region’s government was John Atom Kpera. Kpera later became the military governor of Benue
    State. Many of the soldiers that accompanied Major
    Ifeajuna when he abducted the Prime Minister: Tafawa Balewa, were also
    northerners. As
    much as Hausa-Fulani-Yoruba, not withstanding grip to civil service, public
    service, politics and government contracts, decide to remain backwards being
    held back by their religion and culture, as much as the Igbo man continues to
    progress Abrahamically, fearlessly propelled by his culture and strengthened by
    repression and hash antagonistic economic policies, the hatred, jealousy and
    envy towards an Igbo man will have no bounds. The Igbo man is dominating the entire
    world and has left the Nigeria backwards competition behind long ago. He is an
    all-round global player and seeks international jobs and offers across the
    world in the global contest, like in the United Nations organisations, the
    World Bank, the IMF, the Commonwealth, etc. He is just not in tiny Lagos or Abuja, Kano, Kaduna etc, he
    is in every country of the world where he feels safe, secure and free even in
    Arab nations but never in Nigeria. You cannot hold an Igbo man down to catch up
    with him. Nnamdi Azikiwe was born in Zungeru in Niger State in 1904, so when
    did his father settle in the North? Emeka Ojukwu was also born in Zungeru in
    1933. Chukwuma Nzeogwu was born in Kaduna in 1937. The Igbo have cohabited with
    Hausa-Fulani-Yoruba for hundred of years in their own land, yet he remains an
    easy prey for slaughter due to envy and jealousy. He is more Nigerian than
    every other Nigerian. He built Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Abuja, etc
    because he is development minded and see the world not just Nigeria as his
    village, the reason he is hated, envied and killed. He needs Biafra so he could
    change, not just Nigeria, but the entire Africa from mental slavery. The Igbo
    man has set new records in the US and in the UK in education, in science and in
    technology, if given the opportunity through Biafra, Africa will see light. LET
    BIAFRA GO FOR THE SAKE OF AFRICA.

Related