In the recent past, self-determination groups have sprung up in Nigeria. The self-determination groups include IPOB, MASSOB, YELICOM, Arewa Youths, Niger Delta Republic, and the Republic of the Middle Belt.
Of all these groups IPOB and Boko Haram have been designated as terrorist organizations by the federal government. This development in relation to IPOB is unfortunate. Boko Haram is an armed organization that has attacked and occupied Nigerian territory hoisted its flag and appointed local authority governments.
It has abducted and abused Nigerian women kidnapped and imprisoned many and killed over two hundred thousand people. It is still involved in guerrilla warfare against Nigeria yet the Federal government is negotiating with them. No member of Boko Haram captured by the military is under trial.
Members of this Federal government are on record for condemning the previous government for the brutal murder of Boko Haram members and condemning the retired Chief of Army Staff for zealous prosecution of the anti-terror campaign. Members of the sect who confess to a change of mind have been received along with their abducted female partners in the Presidency and rehabilitated.
The declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization is in my view hurried, unfair, and not in conformity with the intendment of the law. Whereas I am not completely in agreement with some of the methods of IPOB like its inappropriate and divisive broadcast, the uncontested evidence given by the Attorney General of the Federation in an interlocutory action claiming that IPOB attempted and/or actually snatched guns from law enforcement agents is, if proven, merely criminal offenses.
They do not constitute enough evidence to meet international law definitions of a terrorist organization. Happily, the United States Embassy in Nigeria only three days ago shared this conclusion and asserted that the United States Government does not recognize IPOB as a terrorist organization.
This same unarmed IPOB that is being stigmatized by the Nigerian government had its members murdered in Asaba, Nkpor, Aba, and Port Harcourt simply for having public demonstrations without the federal government ordering a judicial inquiry.
Instead, after I called for one and Amnesty International provided evidence that 150 of them were killed, the Chief of Army Staff set up an inquiry composed of serving and retired army officers thus abandoning the rules of natural justice which prescribes that you cannot be a judge in your own court.
The Igbos in Nigeria feel the treatment of IPOB as unfair, discriminatory, and overhanded. They see the move as an attempt to encourage a profiling of Igbos in the international security arena.
We know of other self-determination groups in Nigeria that are armed and have destroyed government and private sector installations and wells that government prefers to negotiate with rather than labeling them as terrorist organizations.
Fulani Herdsmen otherwise called the Fulani militants have ravaged farms in Middlebelt, South West, and South-Eastern Nigeria killing several farmers in the process. In January 2016 they killed 500 farmers and their families in Agatu in Benue state.
In Enugu state, they murdered more than 100 farmers in Ukpabi Nimbo in April 2016. Photographs depicting them with automatic rifles trend in the entire world media, yet not one of them is facing criminal charges, nor is Operation Python Dance being conducted in the areas where they ravage and kill and the Federal government describes them as criminals and not terrorist organization notwithstanding their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world (see British Independent Newspaper, 18th November 2015). The London Guardian Newspaper of 12th July 2016 indicated that Fulani herdsmen killed one thousand people in 2014.
Let me seize this opportunity to once more thank the Royal Institute of International Affairs for inviting me as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to speak here today. In Nigeria, Ndigbo whose social cultured organization I lead is, notwithstanding their historical experiences in Nigeria, the most loyal ethnic group to the concept of one Nigeria.
We are the largest ethnic group other than the indigenous group in any part of Nigeria. We invest and contribute to the economic and social life of the committees wherever we live. We are proudly Christians but very accommodating of our brothers of other religious persuasions.
We are grossly marginalized and still treated by the Federal government as second-class citizens. No Igboman, for instance, heads any security arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Our area is the most heavily policed as if there was a deliberate policy to intimidate us and hold us down.
Our endurance has been stretched beyond Hooke’s gauge for elastic limit. The deployment of the Nigerian Army under the guise of Operation Python dance to the South East was unconstitutional under S. 271 of the 1999 Constitution.
Deployment of the army is only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism, and external aggression not in the killing of priests, or fighting kidnapping. And in those circumstances where they can be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought. This brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concern the South East is provocative.
The Arewa Youths Council by issuing a quit notice for Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria and declaring the Federal Republic of Nigeria without Igboland had committed serious infractions of the law. First, by declaring the new Republic of Nigeria which excises the South East unilaterally, they were committing treason.
By issuing a proclamation for Nigerians to leave any part of Nigeria forcibly they were infringing the fundamental rights of innocent Nigerians, as guaranteed by the Constitution to live and do business anywhere.
By commencing an inventory of Igbo property in Nigeria for seizure by October 1st, 2017, they were attempting conversion. By proclaiming a mop-up action of those who did not comply with their order by October 1st, they were, without doubt, inciting genocide.
Yet in spite of all these orders to arrest them by the Kaduna State Government and the Inspector General of Police were not enforced nor were they prevented from holding court with Governors and leading elders from the North.
The only hope for change in Nigeria today is the rising call for restructuring pioneered by the Southern leadership forum, supported lately by ex Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former President Ibrahim Babangida, and leaders of the Middle belt including Dan Suleiman and Prof. Jerry Gana.
Our expectation is that now that our President is fully recovered and back to work, he will address the situation by constituting a nationwide conversation of all ethnic nationalities to look into the 2014 National Conference report and the trending views on this subject matter so as to come up with a consensus proposal that the national and state assemblies will be persuaded to adopt.
To continue to neglect a resolution of this impasse will spell doom for our dear country.
Our argument is further reinforced by a two-year extensive study by the UNDP titled, JOURNEY TO EXTREMISM released in September 2017 which indicated that exposure to state abuse and marginalization, not religious ideology are better predictors of radicalization.
It also indicates that those living on the periphery of their country with less access to education and health services are more vulnerable to be recruited into violent extremist groups. In Nigeria, millions of unemployed graduates from universities waiting for up to 10 years without gainful employment are restive, agitated, and veritable cannon fodders for escalating restiveness.
In conclusion, I hope that the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the British Government, and British interests associated with Nigeria will continue to offer useful advice to our polity that will lead to an early resolution of our situation.
I thank you for your kind attention
John Nnia Nwodo
Chatham House, London
Four Police officers charged with murder in Lagos protest
Lagos State Police Command has arraigned four of its own before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court over the alleged murder of a local resident, Buraimoh Gafar. The four police inspectors, Inspector Johnson Imeh, Inspector Effiong Edet, Inspector Harrison Ike, and Inspector Etederhi Obaseki, were attached to the Ajah Police Divisional Headquarters. They were charged on two counts of murder before Magistrate A.O. Salawu.
The incident occurred on December 6, 2022, when the four officers were on patrol in the Amadon Estate. Suspected hoodlums in the area reportedly fled upon seeing the police. The officers arrested one suspect and were attempting to force him into their van when the hoodlums regrouped to try and free their colleague. It is alleged that during this altercation, two of the defendants fired their weapons.
Gafar, who was coming out of Skymall Shopping Plaza after watching a football match, was hit by a stray bullet according to reports by the deceased’s sister, Folashade Ibrahim, and an eyewitness, Adebayo Olatunji. The police prosecutor, Haruna Magaji, said that Imeh and Edet confessed to firing their AK-47 rifles during the incident.
During the court proceedings, counsel for the second defendant, Samuel Sodipo, pleaded with the court to grant bail in liberal terms, stating that the policemen had been in custody for 51 days. Ike, one of the defendants, also claimed that he had been exonerated by the police provost as he did not fire any bullets but was still being charged with murder and conspiracy.
Magistrate Salawu ordered that the four policemen be remanded in a custodial center for 30 days pending the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The case was adjourned till March 2, 2023.
Recent Surge In Violence In South East, A Political Ploy To Stop Peter Obi
The 2023 presidential election in Nigeria is fast approaching and tensions are already high among political players. One major area of concern is the recent surge in violence and unrest in Igboland, which is being blamed on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by Nigerian government officials and politicians from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). However, many believe that these accusations are simply a tactic being used by APC politicians to instill fear in residents of the region and prevent them from voting for Peter Obi, a prominent Igbo politician who is a potential candidate for the presidency.
It is important to note that the IPOB has consistently denied any involvement in the recent acts of violence in the region. In fact, the group has issued numerous press releases reiterating their stance on the matter, stating that they are not against the upcoming election and are not campaigning for a boycott of the election. This is in contrast to their previous calls for a boycott of the 2019 general elections and the 2022 Anambra elections, which they later called off.
Many believe that the true culprits behind the violence in Igboland are “mischief makers” and “enemies of Biafra” who seek to keep IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in jail. These individuals are believed to be sponsoring the violence in the region in an effort to scuttle the chances of Peter Obi, a prominent Igbo politician, from getting the necessary votes in the region.
The actions of these APC politicians are not only reprehensible, but they also have the potential to turn Igboland into a warzone. The recent beheading in Imo state and other violent acts going on in the region are a clear indication of this. It is important that Peter Obi supporters rise up to this challenge and do not let the APC terror machine fool them. This new wave of violence in the South East is all about the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, and it is crucial that the voices of the people are not silenced through fear and intimidation.
IPOB is warning that the continued illegal detention of Nnamdi Kanu in Solitary confinement is a calculated plan by Nigeria Govt to cause havoc & blame it on IPOB. Therefore,any crises erupted during this election,the Nig govt is aware & should be held accountable.#FreeNnamdiKanu pic.twitter.com/J5ygJG3qBF
— Emeka Gift Official (@EmekaGift100) January 21, 2023
As the 2023 elections draw closer, it is crucial that Nigeria’s political leaders and citizens alike prioritize peace and stability in the country. The use of violence and fear tactics to influence the outcome of an election is unacceptable, and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions. It is also important that the citizens of Igboland and Nigeria as a whole are not swayed by these tactics and that they are able to exercise their right to vote freely and fairly.
In the upcoming 2023 election in Nigeria, it’s important that all the parties and candidates conduct their campaigns in a peaceful and orderly manner. The political climate should be free from violence and intimidation, and all voices should be heard. The citizens of Nigeria have the right to make their own choices, and it is the duty of the government and political leaders to ensure that their rights are protected.
It was a BLACK Monday in Uli today. Over 45 houses was burnt down by nig army terrorists.. many pple still missing. @real_IpobDOS @IpobRaptureMedi @Ipob_supporters @Anambrastate_ng @CCSoludo @PeterObi @ConcernedNIG @amnesty @hrw @UNHumanRights @BruceFeinEsq @BarEjiofor @cedoziemm pic.twitter.com/rJxriLifLH
— Ahize DN Ahize (@ahizeDNahize) January 23, 2023
The recent surge of violence in Igboland is a cause for concern and must be addressed. It is important that Peter Obi supporters and all citizens of Nigeria do not let fear tactics prevent them from exercising their right to vote freely. It is also important that political leaders and government officials take responsibility for their actions and ensure that the upcoming 2023 election is conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner. The future of Nigeria depends on it.
2 Sharia Court Judges, 16 Others Remanded For N500m Theft Case
The Kano Chief Magistrates’ Court has ordered that 18 individuals, including two State Shari’a Court judges, be detained in a correctional facility for their alleged involvement in stealing N500m. The defendants, who include financial registrars and a cashier, have been charged with five criminal offenses including conspiracy, joint act, criminal breach of trust by a public servant, theft, and forgery.
The prosecution claims that the defendants used their positions to forge letterheads of the Sharia Court of Appeal, fraudulently transferred large sums of money to various accounts, and created fake civil servant death benefit files to steal N96.2 million. The defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case has been adjourned until February 1st for further hearing.
The Prosecution Counsel, Zahraddeen Mata, informed the court that an official complaint was received on August 20, 2021, from the Ministry of Justice by the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission.
He alleged that one of the defendants, Hussaina Imam, used her position as a cashier at the State Shari’a Court of Appeal and conspired with four others and one Suleiman, who is currently at large, to forge letterheads of the Sharia Court of Appeal between 2020 and 2021. He further alleged that the defendants fraudulently authorized the bank to transfer the amount to various accounts without the consent of the authorized persons.
The Defence Counsel, Garzali Datti, argued that the court should exercise its jurisdiction judiciously and admit the defendants on bail. However, the Chief Magistrate, Mustapha, ordered the remand of the defendants and adjourned the matter until February 1st for a hearing.
The prosecution claims that the offenses contravened the provision of sections 97, 79, 315, 287 and 363 of the Penal Code.
Keyamo calls out Atiku’s disregard for procurement laws
The spokesperson for the Bola Tinubu, Shettima Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, has reacted to a comment made by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, in which he told party members that in order to receive contracts and appointments in his administration, they must ensure that the party wins in their polling units.
Keyamo expressed his thoughts on the matter via his verified Twitter handle on Thursday. According to DAILY POST, Atiku made the comment on Wednesday during a town hall meeting with members and stakeholders of the party in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State.
“The only way, as far as I am concerned; if I am president, if you come and say you want a job or you want a contract, I will ask you to let me have the result of your polling booth and that is what I am going to direct to everybody because unless we do that, we will not win the elections,” Atiku said.
However, Keyamo believes that Atiku is not capable of changing his true nature. He pointed out that the PDP candidate has forgotten about the existence of the Public Procurement Act, which regulates the award of government contracts.
— Festus Keyamo, SAN (@fkeyamo) January 19, 2023
In his tweet, Keyamo wrote, “A leopard cannot change its skin. He is already promising contracts to political allies, forgetting that there is a law called the Public Procurement Act. Mr. SPV!”
It appears that Keyamo believes that Atiku’s comment is a clear indication of his intentions to award contracts and appointments to party members based on political considerations, rather than merit. This, he believes, is a clear violation of the Public Procurement Act and a sign of Atiku’s inability to change his ways.
Furthermore, Keyamo’s comment highlights a significant issue in the political arena – the use of government contracts and appointments as a means of rewarding political allies and supporters. This type of patronage politics undermines the integrity of the government procurement process and can lead to the misallocation of resources and corruption.
It is important for candidates and politicians to remember that government contracts and appointments should be awarded based on merit, not political considerations. This ensures that the best candidates are selected for the job and that public resources are used efficiently and effectively.
Atiku’s comment, as pointed out by Keyamo, not only demonstrates a lack of understanding of the legal framework surrounding government procurement but also raises questions about his commitment to good governance and transparency. Such comments and actions can erode public trust in the government and its institutions.
In conclusion, Keyamo’s reaction to Atiku’s comment serves as a reminder that politicians must be held accountable for their actions and statements, especially when it comes to the allocation of public resources. It is essential for the public to hold politicians accountable for their promises and actions to ensure that the integrity of government procurement process is upheld and that the public interest is served.
Young Nigerians rush to secure their ballots for historic presidential election
Nigerians are flocking to get their voting cards for next month’s presidential election, where three main candidates are vying to replace President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nearly 10 million new voters have been registered for the February 25 ballot, 84 percent of them people under age 34. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) claimed 1.12 million of those new registrations were invalid.
The election in Africa’s most populous country is shaping up to be an exceptional event. For the first time since the end of military dictatorship in 1999, a third-party candidate is presenting a real challenge to the dominance of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
With Nigeria struggling with growing insecurity, high living costs, and increasing poverty, many young voters say they are keener now to have a say about their future leader.
Over the weekend, crowds gathered at Lagos schools where election officials called out names, checked off lists, and handed out a coveted ID, the biometric Permanent Voting Card or PVC. Some would-be voters were successful, but others were frustrated to be told to come back.
Nigeria’s elections in the past have been marred by logistical delays, violence, and claims of fraud and vote buying. In 2019, INEC was forced to postpone the election by a week just hours before voting was scheduled to start because of difficulty getting material to polling stations.
@inecnigeria @ineclagos @jidesanwoolu @jimidisu @SheriffQuadry We have been standing here since 6:34am at st. Michael primary school, word 01 Ojo, Lagos State to collect our voters card. The Inec staffs are not attending to anyone. We don't deserve this punishment 😭 pic.twitter.com/y2WBhp7IVR
— Mojisola Josephine 💋 (@BiasNigeria) January 12, 2023
Election officials say 2023’s ballot will be more transparent after the introduction of the electronic transfer of results and a biometric voter identification technology known as BVAS at the voting stations to stop fraud.
“This instilled confidence in our people,” Adenike Tadese, INEC head of voter education in Lagos, told AFP.
“I want to believe that is why our people are trooping out en masse to ensure that they come out to collect this Permanent Voting Card.”
Whoever wins the presidency faces a host of challenges from tackling insecurity across the country to reviving an economy hit hard by the financial fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Nigeria presidential hopeful Obi pledges to fight corruption
Peter Obi, a leading candidate in the upcoming Nigerian presidential election, has outlined his plans to address the issues of corruption and insecurity in the country, should he be elected as President. During a speech at the Chatham House international affairs think tank in London, Obi, a former governor of southeastern Anambra state and candidate of the Labour Party, stated that Nigeria is currently in a state of “failure” and in need of new political leadership.
Recent polls have placed Obi ahead of his opponents, including the ruling party’s candidate Bola Tinubu and the main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, both of whom have high name recognition. The upcoming election, scheduled for February 25th, is being seen by political analysts as a pivotal moment in the country’s history, as incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari completes eight years in power.
Obi’s plans for addressing corruption and insecurity align with the promises made by other leading candidates such as Tinubu, who seeks to “renew hope” and Atiku, who aims to “rescue Nigeria.” However, the election process is also being threatened by the security challenges Nigeria is currently facing, including an Islamic extremist insurgency linked to the Islamic State group in the northeast, rebels in the northwest, and secessionists in the southeast.
In response, Obi has stated that he plans to conduct a dialogue with secessionists in Nigeria’s southeast, and has promised to introduce a range of security reforms, particularly in the troubled northern region where thousands have been killed by armed gangs in the past year. These changes could also encourage members of Nigeria’s large diaspora communities abroad to consider returning home and contributing to the country’s development.
Obi believes that the issues currently facing Nigeria are the result of a cumulative leadership failure over the years, and that good governance is the key to resolving these problems. He stated that, “When people start seeing justice, fairness and inclusive government, all those things will start reversing,” and that “Nigerians are prepared to come back if they can find that they have a country to go back to.” He also added that unless there’s a change in the political leadership, the country will remain in a state of underdevelopment and misery.
Fulani Terrorists Continues Their Genocidal Massacre In Ebonyi
Again, Fulani Terror herdsmen sponsored, armed, and guarded by Nigeria Fulani-led federal government has continued their genocidal massacre of Biafrans in Ebonyi.
According to a viral video online, a reporter can be heard saying that the Fulani Terrorists are not relenting in the quest to kill everyone in Ebonyi state.
This is about the 4th time in the last 6 months that Fulani terrorists have gone on the large-scale slaughter of Ebonyi people.
He called on Eastern Security Network(ESN) to come to the aid of the Ebonyi people. ESN was formed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to safeguard Biafrans against marauding Fulani terrorists.
This is the reason why we need #ESN.
Anybody on Uniform in Biafraland is a terrorist. pic.twitter.com/P9l7mfD9Ec
— IPOB FINEST 20K HANDS (@20kIpob) June 7, 2021
However, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi has been against the formation of ESN and has been working assiduously to eliminate ESN personnel from Ebonyi instead of supporting them.
This led to the creation of the Ebubeagu Security Network to fight the ESN in Ebonyi and other Eastern states. Ebubeagu has never and does not have the capacity to confront Fulani Terror Herdsmen wielding automatic assault rifles given to them by the Nigerian government.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe’s Speech At Mississippi, USA..
“What I will say here today may come as a surprise to many of you. For those that I will rub the wrong way, I apologize in advance.
However, “NDIGBO si na owu onye nke mmadu na ghu ya ahu na agbata ukwu”. If I fail to say the truth about the existential challenges that we face today in our country Nigeria, and how we believe we should face them, then I would not be true to myself and to you who sent me to represent you in the red chamber.
From the Past to Today.
We can situate our position today following the end of the civil war in 1970. Igbo’s in 1970 were impoverished having lost an estimated 3m Igbo souls in the war, with a ruined and destroyed landscape and infrastructure.
Every Igbo man/woman with savings in the banks before the outbreak of hostilities were pauperized as the military government decreed that one would only get 20 pounds notwithstanding the amount you had. The indigenization decree was passed in 1972 and no Igbo could participate since all had been reduced to penury.
Today the Igbo have the largest pool of educated Nigerians. In 2007, Imo State had more subscribers to the JAMB UTME exams than the 19 Northern States put together.
In 2017, 56% of of NYSC members are from the South East. Our feat in education means that we now have the army to win the war of competition in a market driven economy. Since 1999, the south east states have been the best in all exams.
The largest group of direct domestic investors in Nigeria are from the south east. Igbo investments in property in Abuja alone probably has more than any other ethnic group. We are the most travelled in Nigeria.
In all parts of Nigeria after the indigenous population, Igbo’s are the next largest group. We are the largest propertied class of all ethnic groups in Nigeria and despite all this confusion, we have grown the most economically since the inception of the current democracy in Nigeria.
We have the richest and largest pool of Nigeria diaspora population. Taking an example of Lagos state, Ndigbo form a large proportion of the economy of the state. We created the following from nothing;
- Computer Village in Ikeja.
- Ladipo Spare Parts market.
- Alaba Electronic Market.
- Balogun Int’l Market.
- Balogun (Trade Fair) International Market
- Aspamda market in Festac.
- Orile Market for house fittings & appliances etc
- All second hand clothing markets in Lagos. About 4 markets
The combined turnover daily of these markets run into billions daily. Lagos state benefits by collecting taxes and now its economy contributes 56% of all VAT collected in Nigeria.
Above scenario is replicated in most big cities in Nigeria. Go to Kano, Port Harcourt, Benin City, Kaduna, Sokoto, not to talk of Abuja. Ndigbo are very large players in the economy of all parts of Nigeria. I will return to this.
The ALLURE of BIAFRA
So the question is, given all the advantages that we as Ndigbo have in Nigeria, why the clamour by our youths and others for a separate state of Biafra?
The present agitation in the SouthEast for a sovereign state of Biafra seems very tempting under the prevailing circumstance given the manifest sectional approach to governance at the center.
To some especially the youth and the disadvantaged it is the way to go and when viewed critically you cannot help but to agree with the agitators.
Of a truth there is an obvious feeling of alienation within the Nigerian state today. But has this always been the case? Apart from the civil war and the pernicious policies of the military regimes, we have not fared badly during civil rule until presently.
Given that following the civil war, there seemed to have been a glass ceiling in certain professions in Nigeria where it looked as if Igbo should not aspire to. In the police, military etc.
But we can posit this as the lingering effects of the war where the victor in a war finds it very difficult to fully integrate the other part they fought with into all areas. In the US for example, I understand that it took a very long time for someone from the southern part of the US several decades after the civil war which they lost to break the stranglehold of the north for the presidency of the US. (Correct me if I’m wrong).
But come to think of it, Dr Alex Ekwueme became the Vice President of Nigeria barely 9 years after the civil war. The glass ceiling was on its way to being broken! The military interregnum from 1993 led by the same Muhammadu Buhari put a hold on this. In the US, Germany, Japan and other climes deliberate policies were used by governments to build stronger ties among groups and opposing tendencies.
This helped to forge a bond within their nations. Nigeria seemed to think that a policy of benign neglect will resolve our problems. Of course it didn’t and that’s why we are seeing a resurgence of separatist agitation going on all over the country.
Fast forward to the civil rule era starting from 1999. Nobody would accuse Presidents Obasanjo, late Yar’adua, or Jonathan of what seemed like sectionalism as state policy.
A look at the pattern of appointments by President Obasanjo evinced the fact of an all inclusive government from all parts of the country. Same as President Yar’adua. President Jonathan took it a step further by appointing the first Igbo chief of army staff, first Igbo secretary to the federal government, coordinating minister for the economy etc.
In fact, one of the criticisms we face today in Nigeria is to explain why should this agitation for separation be under President Buhari when it was not done under the previous administration?
However, that criticism is not true. Recall that under President Obasanjo and Yar’adua there was Massob which was managed much better than today.
However, you will recall that when this government came into place, President Buhari went to the US where he made a most unfortunate statement that was widely condemned at that time.
He reportedly said that he doesn’t need to bother about the 5% that didn’t vote for him but will rather concern himself with the 97% that voted for him.
I had at the time the statement was made raised concern that such declaration from an elected President sounds discriminatory and may create the impression that our elected President Buhari is sending a message to those who didn’t vote for him that he will be partial in his decision making.
Unfortunately, it seems also that the people who are in and around the president didn’t advise him properly. They left him to make appointments and take decisions that gave the impression that there are some parts of the country that are not supposed to be part of Nigeria.
Little wonder that our youths feeling left out and not having anything to give them hope in Nigeria, started believing that a separate country would be better. But I say it is NOT. I will come to this later.
I recall that in November of 2016, after seeing how things were going, the South East caucus of the Senate sought for and got an appointment with the President Buhari.
Our discussion centered on the south East perception of not being part of this administration thereby giving rise to our people feeling disconnected from the government.
We pointed out that it should be a cause for concern if a major part of the country is not represented in the security architecture of the country in addition to other critical sectors from the inception of the administration.
We were promised that our concerns would be looked into. Sadly, this was not done till today. Our country Nigeria is supposed to be for inclusion; for making sure that everyone makes his or her input into its affairs.
Allowing such fairness and equity to prevail in a plural society like ours will make us a bigger and better nation. Today that is not the case.
Either as a deliberate act as it seems or a willful omission geared towards achieving a pre-determined goal, Ndigbo have been pushed to the fringes of the Nigerian Union in so many ways by the present government.
The unfortunate scenario is enough for one to ask the hypothetical question….why am I here?
As much as the music of separatism stirs the soul, one must ask the question; Is relapsing into a sovereign state of Biafra the optimum option or is it a restructuring of the state such that all the federating units would have greater autonomy in the mould of a near quasi self determination the better option?
When these two options are posed; a sovereign state of Biafra or restructured Nigeria, the position of most Nigerians as of today is for the latter.
See How Mohammadu Buhari Is Looting Nigeria Bankrupt
Apart from the problem of even determining the boundaries of the state of Biafra and the multifarious and multifaceted problems a simplistic solution such as Biafra poses, perhaps it makes more sense for those who have tasted war to be a little more discerning when matters affecting their race comes up in Nigeria.
Nigerians have been known to come together to use the Igbo head to break coconuts (apologies to late Abiola). Despite the problems that befell the Yoruba race following the annulment of the June 12 elections, they didn’t seek to break out out of Nigeria despite some of them calling for an Oduduwa country.
They simply used the sympathies of other Nigerians to create an economic haven for themselves which has led to massive relocation of industries by all Nigerians to Lagos and Ogun States.
They also got the Presidency of Nigeria. Our brothers from the Niger Delta have not sought to go away either. They also got the Presidency of Nigeria. However we seem to be in the unfortunate position of seeming to drag the Niger Delta into a Biafra unwanted by them.
The agitation for Biafra and how it was being prosecuted by IPOB has rather elicited hate and disdain for our people from other ethnic groups notwithstanding that they may have been nursing such tendencies.
The agitation as championed by IPOB somehow gave muscle to traditional traducers of Ndigbo to spew out hate and envious vituperations. This was exemplified by the October 1st quit notice given to Igbos to leave the North by the so-called Arewa youths which persons are yet to be arrested for hate speech and breaching the law.
They claimed to be responding to our own hate speeches etc. Indeed, other people seem to want to see us fall into the trap for them to use us to solve their own problems with Nigeria.
That notwithstanding, we as political leaders from the South East were unequivocal in asserting that that the rights of Ndigbo to peaceful and democratic engagements must be respected.
On this score we made it clear that no amount of threat will cow Ndigbo from consistently demanding for an equitable, fair and just society within the Nigerian State.
We also cautioned our youths on their vituperative calls and employed the Igbo concept of “bu uzo chu fuo Ufu, tutu ta wa Okuko uta”! This of course was misunderstood by other Nigerians as support rather than constructive engagement.
WHY NOT BIAFRA?
We believe that the best way to go given our situation today is to look before we leap. We must not be pushed to abandon our huge contribution to the modern Nigerian state.
As we pointed out in the beginning of this paper, Ndigbo have been the single ethnic group that have welded the country Nigeria together given our way of life as sojourners everywhere in Nigeria, West Africa, Africa and the world.
I dare say that we make up to 50% or more of Nigerians in the US. The question is why would we look to confine ourselves to a small landlocked entity when we have the whole of Nigeria to cavort in?
I have deliberately left out of this discussion the practical impossibility of even getting our brothers from the Niger Delta to go with us in this quest. Not to talk of the Idoma or the Kogi that we insist are part of us.
One thing seems to elude our people when these questions are posed. We look at the determination of the present government to treat us dismissively and feel that it is well nigh an impossible task to get our wish for a just society but we fail to look at the historical evidence before us.
When the 97% vs 5% controversy erupted, I told our people that my people the Ngwa says that “Ohu afor abughi ndu ebighi ebi”. Governments come and go. PDP government lost election and quit the stage for this APC government.
Who says they cannot also lose? Why are we then acting as if it’s the end of the world? The maximum any government can stay is two term totaling 8yrs. “Obughi ndu ebighi ebi”!
Restructuring is an idea whose time has come and it will happen. Biafra should be a last option, only after every other avenue to realize a restructured Nigeria where every component part is allowed a measure of autonomy and self determination fails.
Let me state here that if the dominant views in Nigeria is for restructuring, then that should be the minimum that Ndigbo should demand, so that every component part of this country can substantially harness its resources and develop at its own pace.
Do not forget that the breached Aburi accord was about restructuring and today this call has garnered overwhelming momentum even from quarters that hitherto opposed it.
Just recently former President Ibrahim Babangida, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and lately Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and a host of others have joined the fray.
Restructuring has become a singsong which we must explore vigorously. Even the ruling APC has set up a committee led by Governor el-Rufai to bring about a considered view on it. Forget the fact that it was part of their manifesto. The fact is that the discussion is on, as it should be.
I recall that in August, the Igbo political elite, Ohaneze, Governors, National Assembly Caucus met in Enugu and affirmed that the terms of our marriage in Nigeria is stifling to everybody and therefore we must have another look at it.
That position has not changed but has in fact been reinforced by the agreement by other parts of Nigeria that it is time to look at the matter as evidenced by the South West Political Summit where they endorsed restructuring back to the 1963 constitution.
To me the strident calls by IPOB for a referendum should be seen as a legitimate demand to compel the state to see the urgency of having a second look at our marriage, with the ultimate aim of enthroning equity and fairness, where our people will no longer be treated as second class citizens in Nigeria.
Though the methods may be misconstrued, the true colour of the agitation would have come out had there been a concerted effort at dialogue. The agitations gives fillip to the Igbo idiom…”Ma Opara emeghi nkpotu, agaghi ilughi ya Nwanyi “.
Our people are saying this union is stifling us, and we are making a lot of noise so we can find a solution.
The solution I think can be found in a restructured Nigeria.
The beauty of it is that while we can enjoy near wholesale autonomy, our people as itinerant business people could have an unrestrained space in a larger market provided by a united Nigeria.
We should not be swayed by what we think is the attraction of an exclusive opportunity to be provided by a sovereign Biafra. No. That would box us into a tiny corner which has its own challenges which would prove overwhelming as time goes on. This is a topic for another day.
DIASPORA IGBOS AND US.
One of the problems those of us who attempt to show a direction to our people at home is the near universal disdain that some of our brother Ndigbo in Diaspora have for our leaders and elected representatives at home.
Nowhere is it more apposite than in this matter of Biafra agitation. While some of our brothers/sisters here in the comfort of their homes seems to urge our youths through their utterances and actions to use unconstitutional means and disparage other ethnic groups that which actions seems to alienate us from our neighbors and the Nigerian State, we the leaders at home have been been left with the task of intervening in such a manner to dissuade the government from deploying the coercive instruments of state against the agitators.
The aim was to stop bloodshed and waste of human lives. We have lost enough from the civil war. Those egging our youths on from here do not seem to appreciate this fact.
Most distressing is the labeling of those who disagree with their positions as “cowards, saboteurs, Hausa slaves etc”. This tends to discourage those who genuinely strive to lead our people through a very distressing period in our history as a nation.
Nnia Nwodo as President of Ohaneze has been vilified for taking a stand for restructuring in Nigeria for Ndigbo, a position agreed by all of us in the earlier summit I referenced.
Governors come in for bashing everyday. As for us legislators, we have been called all sorts of names such as ‘legislooters’ etc.
Yet, when it came to taking a stand at ground zero, to bail Kanu; to reject the Fed Govt ascribing Terrorism to IPOB, we are the people doing so and we never hesitated to say that agitation in every clime is constitutional.
We take the bullets from other ethnic groups and the government for standing firm and demanding that Nigerians should be left to talk to each other about the best way forward without preconditions.
We would use this opportunity plead with our internet warriors who stay here in their comfort zone here that our Igbo say, “ma Opara nzuzu adighi nwuo, Opara ma izu aga beghi ibichi ezi”.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
Why are we not Investing at Home? Lack of Infrastructure. Should we continue to blame the Fed Govt for the dilapidated infrastructures in Ala Igbo? What of our home governments in Igbo States? Sam Mbakwe of blessed memory did not wait for the Fed Govt before undertaking massive rebuilding of old IMO State.
We think that we have not given our best to our people with the little we got. Insecurity. Nowhere have we hurt ourselves and investment in Ala Igbo than in the insecurity pervading all parts of our homeland.
Of course the latest imbroglio in Abia especially in Aba and Umuahia has worsened matters. We run the risk of undoing all the efforts made in promoting ‘made in Aba’ that we had embarked on as a catalyst for growth in Ala Igbo.
Industries have relocated from Ala Igbo to other parts of Nigeria especially Lagos and Ogun States because of the very serious insecurity such as kidnappining and armed robbery faced by those who invest at home.
We cannot be looking for investors and yet make our place not conducive to investment. Unemployment is the single biggest problem we have in Ala Igbo today.
Before this time due to our domestic investments and industry, this was not a very big problem but due to the dis-investment going on today in Ala Igbo today we are faced with a existential problem in our hand.
Diaspora Igbo’s have to assist us to also invest at home despite the problems and reduce the unemployment in Ala Igbo. Once we get Ala Igbo right the frustrations that fuel the agitation in ala Igbo will be dampened.
What we have playing out in the world today is a knowledge economy. Oil is going out of fashion. As I pointed out earlier, we are poised through out educational exploits in Nigeria to dominate the economy of tomorrow.
Why would we turn a blind eye to this emerging scenario? In ending let me quote what the great son of Igbo land, the great Zik of Africa said about himself….”despite the mythic heights to which he was raised, Azikiwe was nothing if not pragmatic, a realist, always conscious of his limits and ever eager to extract all that was possible from that limited horizon”.
May we be guided by such humble thoughts as we seek a better Nigeria for us all. What we should look for is a BIAFRA of the MIND like some have suggested in order to play our role in the emerging Nigeria that will come…
Monkey Pox – Is Nigeria Military Using Biological Weapon Against The Biafrans?
Monkey Pox epidemic that started in Bayelsa has spread to River State and Akwa Ibom State. The Indigenes of these states are accusing the Federal Government of Nigeria of having injected the virus to them via recent Immunization exercise allegedly carried out by the Nigeria military in the affected areas.
People from the affected areas took to social media pointing accusing fingers on the Nigerian Military using the virus as a form of biological warfare against them.
However, the reason for the allegation is not far fetched, given that the Nigerian Military and Police, who are 99% Huasa-Fulanis, has been killing people from such areas in large numbers in recent times because of a peaceful call for referendum.
These Biafrans believe beyond reasonable doubt that the Nigerian government introduced the Biological Weapon of warfare as a means of ethnic cleansing to further deplete their population.
They cite the notorious Kunle and Alhaji telephone conversation, where the Northerner revealed their plan to decimate the Biafrans and form a North West regional development plan.
“The Ahaji in the conversation boasted that after 4 years of Buhari’s administration, that the Biafrans will be irrelevant in the scheme of things. And the contents of that phone conversation, like a self fulfilling prophesy, is exactly what is unfolding before our eyes today,” on of them commented on social media.
Listen to the phone conversation below.
Some allude to fact that vaccination was given by the Nigerian government in the area just two weeks before the outbread of the fear inspiring Monkey Pox.
Below is some of the comments and posts by People of the affected areas on social media.
So the Nigerian government invented the #MonkeyPox and decided to test it in Southeast.
The biggest project of APC in SE after the genocide
— Onuoha (@mexiew) October 8, 2017
I REPEAT,THOSE RECEIVING MEDICARE FRM NIGERIA ARMY SHOULD BE WARE OF MONKEY POX,NOTHING GOOD COME FRM NGR GOVT!!!
— Uwa Turns (@UwaTurns) October 8, 2017
Being educated is indeed beyond speaking good English. How can some1 in right frame of mind believe that it is FG who induced monkey pox???
— aminu aliyu (@aminualiyu11) October 8, 2017
— VOFN Bayelsa (@VOFNBayelsa) October 8, 2017
Nigeria govt exterminating Biafrans through Army’s free medical care.
— Candi-Boi (@PFreshwine) October 8, 2017
Meanwhile, here is what the World Health Organization (WHO) has to say about the Monkey Pox Epidemics
- Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
- The monkeypox virus can cause a fatal illness in humans and, although it is similar to human smallpox which has been eradicated, it is much milder.
- The monkeypox virus is transmitted to people from various wild animals but has limited secondary spread through human-to-human transmission.
- Typically, case fatality in monkeypox outbreaks has been between 1% and 10%, with most deaths occurring in younger age groups.
There is no treatment or vaccine available although prior smallpox vaccination was highly effective in preventing monkeypox as well.
Monkeypox is a rare viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although less severe. Smallpox was eradicated in 1980.However, monkeypox still occurs sporadically in some parts of Africa.
Monkeypox is a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
The virus was first identified in the State Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958 during an investigation into a pox-like disease among monkeys.
Human monkeypox was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (then known as Zaire) in a 9 year old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968. Since then, the majority of cases have been reported in rural, rainforest regions of the Congo Basin and western Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is considered to be endemic. In 1996-97, a major outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In the spring of 2003, monkeypox cases were confirmed in the Midwest of the United States of America, marking the first reported occurrence of the disease outside of the African continent. Most of the patients had had close contact with pet prairie dogs.
In 2005, a monkeypox outbreak occurred in Unity, Sudan and sporadic cases have been reported from other parts of Africa. In 2009, an outreach campaign among refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Republic of Congo identified and confirmed two cases of monkeypox. Between August and October 2016, a monkeypox outbreak in the Central African Republic was contained with 26 cases and two deaths.
Infection of index cases results from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals. In Africa human infections have been documented through the handling of infected monkeys, Gambian giant rats and squirrels, with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is a possible risk factor.
Secondary, or human-to-human, transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials. Transmission occurs primarily via droplet respiratory particles usually requiring prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts household members of active cases at greater risk of infection. Transmission can also occur by inoculation or via the placenta (congenital monkeypox). There is no evidence, to date, that person-to-person transmission alone can sustain monkeypox infections in the human population.
In recent animal studies of the prairie dog-human monkeypox model, two distinct clades of the virus were identified – the Congo Basin and the West African clades – with the former found to be more virulent.
Signs and symptoms
The incubation period (interval from infection to onset of symptoms) of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 16 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
The infection can be divided into two periods:
the invasion period (0-5 days) characterized by fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph node), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache) and an intense asthenia (lack of energy);
the skin eruption period (within 1-3 days after appearance of fever) where the various stages of the rash appears, often beginning on the face and then spreading elsewhere on the body. The face (in 95% of cases), and palms of the hands and soles of the feet (75%) are most affected. Evolution of the rash from maculopapules (lesions with a flat bases) to vesicles (small fluid-filled blisters), pustules, followed by crusts occurs in approximately 10 days. Three weeks might be necessary before the complete disappearance of the crusts.
The number of the lesions varies from a few to several thousand, affecting oral mucous membranes (in 70% of cases), genitalia (30%), and conjunctivae (eyelid) (20%), as well as the cornea (eyeball).
Some patients develop severe lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) before the appearance of the rash, which is a distinctive feature of monkeypox compared to other similar diseases.
Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 14 to 21 days. Severe cases occur more commonly among children and are related to the extent of virus exposure, patient health status and severity of complications.
People living in or near the forested areas may have indirect or low-level exposure to infected animals, possibly leading to subclinical (asymptomatic) infection.
The case fatality has varied widely between epidemics but has been less than 10% in documented events, mostly among young children. In general, younger age-groups appear to be more susceptible to monkeypox.
The differential diagnoses that must be considered include other rash illnesses, such as, smallpox, chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis, and medication-associated allergies. Lymphadenopathy during the prodromal stage of illness can be a clinical feature to distinguish it from smallpox.
Monkeypox can only be diagnosed definitively in the laboratory where the virus can be identified by a number of different tests:
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
antigen detection tests
polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay
virus isolation by cell culture
Treatment and vaccine
There are no specific treatments or vaccines available for monkeypox infection, but outbreaks can be controlled. Vaccination against smallpox has been proven to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox in the past but the vaccine is no longer available to the general public after it was discontinued following global smallpox eradication. Nevertheless, prior smallpox vaccination will likely result in a milder disease course.
Natural host of monkeypox virus
In Africa, monkeypox infection has been found in many animal species: rope squirrels, tree squirrels, Gambian rats, striped mice, dormice and primates. Doubts persist on the natural history of the virus and further studies are needed to identify the exact reservoir of the monkeypox virus and how it is maintained in nature.
In the USA, the virus is thought to have been transmitted from African animals to a number of susceptible non-African species (like prairie dogs) with which they were co-housed.
Preventing monkeypox expansion through restrictions on animal trade
Restricting or banning the movement of small African mammals and monkeys may be effective in slowing the expansion of the virus outside Africa.
Captive animals should not be inoculated against smallpox. Instead, potentially infected animals should be isolated from other animals and placed into immediate quarantine. Any animals that might have come into contact with an infected animal should be quarantined, handled with standard precautions and observed for monkeypox symptoms for 30 days.
Reducing the risk of infection in people
During human monkeypox outbreaks, close contact with other patients is the most significant risk factor for monkeypox virus infection. In the absence of specific treatment or vaccine, the only way to reduce infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the virus. Surveillance measures and rapid identification of new cases is critical for outbreak containment.
Public health educational messages should focus on the following risks:
Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission. Close physical contact with monkeypox infected people should be avoided. Gloves and protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill people. Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people.
Reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission. Efforts to prevent transmission in endemic regions should focus on thoroughly cooking all animal products (blood, meat) before eating. Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn while handling sick animals or their infected tissues, and during slaughtering procedures.
Controlling infection in health-care settings
Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed monkeypox virus infection, or handling specimens from them, should implement standard infection control precautions.
Healthcare workers and those treating or exposed to patients with monkeypox or their samples should consider being immunized against smallpox via their national health authorities. Older smallpox vaccines should not be administered to people with comprised immune systems.
Samples taken from people and animals with suspected monkeypox virus infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories.
WHO supports Member States with surveillance, preparedness and outbreak response activities in affected countries.
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Monkey Pox Spreads In Bayelsa
Monkey pox virus that broke out in Bayelsa State has continued to spread in the state so far over ten persons has been reportedly quarantined in separate wards.
The state commissioner for Health, Dr Ebitimitula Etebu Thursday sensitized the general public to observe hand hygiene and ensure they don’t come in contact with dead animals and their secretions adding that the disease was
airborne and very infectious.
Speaking in Yenagoa at a programme to keep the public abreast of the virus, the commissioner said “We have mobilized virtually every arsenal at our disposal in terms of sensitizing the general public and making them
aware by radio programmes, jingles and fliers making them to know about the
The health commissioner listed the symptoms of monkey pox as severe headache, fever, back pains amongst other symptoms adding that most worrisome of all the signs were rashes bigger than those caused by chicken
He said the rashes are usually frightening and usually spread to the whole body of an infected persons. He described monkey pox as a viral illness caused by a group of viruses that include chicken pox and small pox, adding that the first case was noticed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently it had
outbreaks in West African region.
The virus he explained that the virus has the Central African and the West African types, the commissioner said the West African type is milder and has no records of mortality.
Maintaining that the Nigerian Center for Disease Control has mobilized fully to the state, the commissioner narrating how the virus came into the state said “We noticed the first index case from Agbura where somebody was purported to have killed and eaten a monkey and after that the people who are neighbors and families started developing these rashes.
He said the symptoms were seen as far as Biseni adding that they had invited the Nigerian Center for Disease Control together with the ministry’s epidemiological team adding that they had been able to trace most of the people who have come in contact with the patients.
” So far we have ten patients and we have created an isolation centre at the NDUTH and most of them are on admission and we are following up the forty nine cases that we are suspecting might come down with the illness.
As a state we are taking car of all the expenses of all the isolated cases”.
However he disclosed that a medical doctor and ten persons, who came down with the monkey pox had been quarantined in an isolation centre created at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Okolobiri, Yenagoa.
The isolation centre he said was created by the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the epidemiological team of the state’s Ministry of Health to stop the spread of the virus. Already the NCDC and the epidemiological team were tracking other forty nine persons who were said to have come in contact with the infected persons.
The state Commissioner stated that samples of the virus had been sent to the World Health Organization Laboratory in Dakar, Senegal for confirmation.“Recently in Bayelsa State we noticed a suspected outbreak of monkey pox. It has not been confirmed. We have sent samples to the World Health Organization (WHO) reference laboratory in Dakar, Senegal.
When that comes out we will be sure that it is confirmed. But from all indications, it points towards it”, he said. He said as the name implies, the virus was first seen in monkey, but could also be found in all bush animals such as rats, squirrels and antelopes.
The disease he said has an incubation period adding that it was also self-limiting in the sense that within two to four weeks, the person get healed and it confers the person with the immunity for life.
“We have mobilized virtually every arsenal at our disposal in terms of sensitizing the general public and making them aware by radio programmes, jingles and fliers. So the Nigerian Center for Disease Control has mobilized fully to Bayelsa state. We are on top the situation.
“A lot of people have come down with the symptoms but they are hiding in their houses. If they hide, there is the propensity for the infection to spread.
“It is better to quarantine them and treat so that we can interrupt the spread of the disease. People should be calm and they shouldn’t get frightened. The state has distributed personal protective equipment to workers and they are using it”
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