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Saturday 21 November 2015

BIAFRA: Wikipedia on Nnamdi Kanu Vs Nigerian Case

BIAFRA: Wikipedia on Nnamdi Kanu Vs Nigerian Case

Nnamdi Kanu a political activist based in the United Kingdom, is a leading advocate for restoration of the nation of Biafra and its independence from Nigeria.[1]: He is a leading member of Biafra nationalist organization, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the director of London-based radio station Radio Biafra.[1]:

On October 18, 2015, it was reported that Mr Kanu had been arrested in Lagos State by Nigeria’s secret police the Department of State Services (DSS).[1]: [2] Mr Kanu had told his solicitors that he was, on 14th October, 2015, arrested by the agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the State Security Service (SSS) in his hotel room i.e. Golden Tulip Essential Hotel Ikeja, Lagos State.[3] The solicitors in a press briefing said, between 14th and 17th October, 2015 their clients where about were unknown until 18th of October, 2015, when the Press Media broke the news of his arrest and detention by the SSS in Abuja.[4] The news of the arrest of Mr Kanu generated mass protests across parts of Delta State, Enugu State, Rivers State, Cross River State, Abia State, Akwa Ibom State and Anambra State.[5] Kanu's arrest was also condemned by world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[6]

Continued Detention

On 20 October 2015, Vanguard announced that Mr Kanu had been released on bail after a secret arraignment at Magistrate Court,Wuse 11.[7] However, the bail seemed "controversial" and there were claims the DSS announced the bail only "to calm the angry people of Biafra".[8] On October 19, 2015, it was reported that Mr Kanu had been granted bail.[9] Although the bail conditions were stringent some of which required the Certificate of Occupancy of a landed property within Abuja municipality, a level 16 officer in the Ministry, Mr Kanu's lawyer said they eventually met the requirements in full. However, “upon the issuance of the Form 36,the court ordeal went to execute the order but came back unsuccessful. He was unable to produce the prisoner.[7] The lawyer, Vincent Obetta, called the continued detention of the activist despite meeting his bail conditions "a clash between judiciary and executive" in a democratic Nigeria. According to Mr Obetta, "I have not seen or heard any place where a court grants bail and the person is not released. Under UN and Africa charter, it is enshrined that once bail is granted, you release the person upon meeting the bail conditions. We are sliding to days of Decree 2 and 4 of 1984. This is pure Dictatorship.” [10]

Freedom in Nigeria

Brendalyn had noted that chapter four of the Nigerian constitution guarantees Nigerians the right to life, personal liberty, freedom of expression, and freedom to own property. "Notwithstanding these provisions, the government has detained human rights crusaders unlawfully, continued attacks on students and academics and has taken steps to muzzle the press," the author wrote.[11]:126 Protection Against False Accusation (Decree No. 4,1984), drafted on March 29,1984, was the most dreaded, most repressive and the last press law enacted in Nigeria. It was promulgated during the military regime of Major General Buhari which did not take kindly to press criticisms.[12] “Concerning the Decree 4 of 1984, I have to assure you that the time for that is over.That was part of Military administration and Dictatorship, but I have also promised you that I am now a converted, and converted democrat. Therefore, I want to assure you that I am going to be a friend of the media and this time, I will work well with you as friends and partners in the development of the nation, and that is my promise to you.” the APC presidential candidate president Muhammad Buhari in an an interractive session with members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria before the 2015 president election.[13]

Court Jurisdiction

"It should be noted that within the interval of eight days we have applied and gotten three Orders of Court against the SSS compelling them to release, produce or transfer our client to the prisons. It is heartrending to say that despite all the Court Orders emanating from a court of competent jurisdiction, the Department of State Services (DSS) have willfully refused to obey these order(s)", said the solicitors in their press statement.[14] In Nigeria's days of military rule, Decree 2 of 1984 (Detention of Persons) vested powers on appropriate officers to detain persons for acts prejudicial to State Security without recourse to the courts. "Decree 2 was a potent instrument for the violation of Nigerians' fundamental human rights, since it could be used by government functionaries to derogate the rights of social justice activists" during those military days.[11] " An estimated one to three million people participated in one of the peaceful protests on November 9, 2015 in the commercial town of Aba, Abia State calling for his release.[15][16] The Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Abuja on November 18, 2015 ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to produce Nnamdi Kanu, at the court on Monday, November 23, 2015. [17]

Non-Violent Protests

Massive peaceful [16]:protests have continued in southern Nigeria about the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu since his arrest. “I saw some of them jump into the bush when they sighted a patrol vehicle belonging to the Nigerian army. The protesters were over two hundred. They were singing pro-Biafra songs as they marched on the street”, remarked Mr Johnbull Tamunoemi.[18] According to Voice of America, the protesters in southeastern Nigeria are demanding the release of the jailed radio station chief who advocates restoration of the nation of Biafra and its independence from Nigeria.[1] Some of the highlights of pro-Biafra protest in the commercial hub of Aba on November 10, 2015 was a football match by the group wearing T-shirts marked Biafra along major streets of the city,[15]: and the closure of markets and schools in solidarity with thousands of people who marched on the streets.[19]: The BBC's Abdussalam Ahmed in the south-eastern city of Enugu said in reality they do not want a repeat of the Biafran war but are keen to draw the attention of the central government to some developmental challenges the region faces.[20] The Igbo People in the region claim they have been unfairly treated—even punished—decades after the fighting stopped.[21]: An IPOB leader, Uchenna Madu, told the BBC that the group was fighting against the "injustice and inequality" ethnic Igbos faced in Nigeria.[20]: On Thursday November the 12th, 2015, one of the protesters marching through the streets of Owerri said their agitation was meant for the Nigerian Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu and grant Biafra people freedom from Nigeria.[22] On November 6, 2015, commercial activities were grounded in the port town of Onitsha, when youths and supporters of IPOB marched through the streets demanding the release of Mr Kanu, whom they said was being incarcerated for over three weeks, and the continued arrest and detention of their members as well as the actualization of the Biafran cause.[18] "Pro-Biafra protesters on November 16, 2015, carried their release- Nnamdi-Kanu protest to Umuahia, the Abia State capital and the home-town of Nnamdi Kanu, marching through the major streets of the city, but under the watch of security agencies."[23] It was reported the protesters marched around the city, carrying the portrait of Mr Kanu and the Biafran flag while chanting songs of freedom."[24]

Crack-down on Protesters

Daily Mail reported that Police in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 fired shots and teargas to disperse hundreds of the pro-Biafra supporters as they marched for the release of the key activist, Mr Kanu.[21] It was gathered that at least three persons were hit by stray bullets, while one of the protest leaders, who identified himself as Orji Azu-Enaga said two of their members were shot dead around Eleme junction during the marching.[19] The Police in Delta State on Friday November 6, 2015 used teargas to disperse dozens of pro-Biafra agitators who staged a protest rally in Asaba. One of the demonstrators, Uche Obiakor, said the action of police was a great injustice to the Biafra people because they were not armed neither did they attack anybody. “We are just on a peaceful protest for the unconditional release of our leader, Nnamdi Kanu," he said.[25] One of the protesters in Onitsha was feared dead during the rally on November 6, 2015.[18] We want to show Nigeria and the United Nations that we the Igbos are one. They used to say that we are not organized. United Nations should come and help us to divorce this forced marriage. We don’t want Nigeria again,” said Orji Azu-Enaga a protester.[19]:

Military Plan for Protesters

The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army has pledged its readiness to suppress insurrection in the South East and South South geopolitical zones whenever it was called upon to do so. [26] Deputy Director of Army Public Relations in the division, Col. Hamza Gambo, said the statement had become imperative because of “the marked increase in the activities of pro-Biafran groups’’ in the areas. Gambo listed the activities to include protest marches, demonstrations and some cases of outright lawlessness and threat to lives and properties.[27] “The Nigerian Army would like to send an unequivocal warning to all and sundry, more specifically to all those threatening and agitating for the dismemberment of the country, committing treasonable felony and arson as well as wanton destruction of lives and property.[28] In justifying the intended military action, the Army boss said “instructively, this constitutional guarantee does not allow for abuse of other person’s freedom and safety. “It is pertinent to note that the same constitution mandates the armed forces of Nigeria to suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authority to restore order when called upon to do so.[29]

Economic Issues

Laja Odukoya, a lecturer in political science at the University of Lagos, said the protests are a symptom of Nigeria’s economic problems.[1]: Rates of unemployment and poverty are high in the Biafra heartland States. In majority of these states, infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity are lacking along with medical care and education, as they affirm that even Igbo People have been denied senior political posts such as the Presidency.[21]: [1]: In many areas of the greater Njaba River, Imo River and upper Orashi River basins, the activities of oil companies have rendered drilling and treatment of water from bore-holes more cumbersome, costlier and unattractive.[30] [31]: World Igbo Congress stated that no tribe in Nigeria has suffered more Economic inequality and political injustice than the Igbo People.[32] A case in point is the Nigeria federal government’s reluctance to build a new River Niger Bridge (Onitsha), started by former president Goodluck Jonathan to support economic activities, reduce the pressure on the existing bridge and alleviate the suffering of the people in the commercial and economic hubs of Onitsha and Asaba after failed promises from past Federal administrations.[32] The half century-old 4-lane River Niger Bridge (Onitsha) has been subjected to handling the traffic load which used to be shared between the railways, river crafts and roadways connecting the country’s hinterland to the sea terminals along the eastern coastline. [33] The core business elite from the Southeast and Southsouth geopolitical zones have come to regard the Niger Bridge and the Asaba-Shagamu highway as their lifeblood. [33] "We know that it is a critical road. We also know how Nigerians suffer during festive holidays and we hear people sleep on that old bridge", said the Nigeria's Director-General, DG of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, Aminu Diko while justifying the reason construction of the second River Niger Bridge (Onitsha) may be put on hold after a meeting with the President on August 26, 2015.[34] On Monday, January 28, 2013, angry youths from the oil-rich Awo-omamma protested Government’s insensitivity to plight of their people whose roads linking their villages, and the town to other neighbouring communities, they alleged had been abandoned for years by successive administrations in the state.[35]

In the people's commercial hub of Aba, Businesses face tough times as there is no smooth sail on roads. The rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway passing through Aba, a Federal road has remained ‘work in progress’ for years.[36] Chuks Nwanne noted that both traders and industries in Aba are currently struggling to break even, after high duties and multiple taxation. The state of infrastructure, especially road and electricity remain a major concern for manufacturers in Aba.[36] The deplorable condition of the Owerri-Port Harcourt expressway has remained a source of great concern to motorists plying the road, especially from the Imo State end, starting from Umuagwo to the Umuapu communities both in Ohaji/Egbema, a stretch of over six kilometers.[37] I never imagined such deplorable road could be found in a much-touted Africa's largest economy, wrote Paul John, a road user.[38] In August 2015, youths in the oil-rich Umuapu, Ohaji/Egbema Local Council, numbering about 2,000, barricaded the deplorable Owerri-Port Harcourt road[39] The Umuapu youths with playcards asked “Are we citizens of Imo State, Nigeria?” “Oil community, no road, no water, no electricity, no hospital. Drivers and passengers, bear with us.”[39] I wondered if there were political representatives from that part of Imo State, remarked Paul John the road user.[38] With the current states of the Oyigbo (Rivers state) and Umuapu (Imo state) sections of the two federal roads ,it is clear that politicians representing these areas do not come home at all.[38] According to Vanguard, Vice President, Professor, Yemi Osinbajo, insisted that the worst problem plaguing people of the South-East geopolitical zone, was the failed road networks, saying the situation required urgent Federal Government attention. “One problem that the people of the South-East have is roads. You know what our financial constraints are, and there is a need for improvement on roads where there is a lot of commerce and movement of people", said the Vice President.[40] Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Tuesday November 17, 2015 said they were concerned about the state of federal roads in the zone, particularly the Enugu-Onitsha express road, Aba-Ikot Ekpene, Owerri-Port Harcourt and Enugu-Port Harcourt roads. [41] President of Igbo Youths Movement, IYM, Evangelist Elliot Ukoh, who spoke on the issue, attributed agitation for Biafra to what he called unfair treatment of Ndigbo. "They have no jobs because of quota system which ensures that people are given jobs because of where they come from and not based on merit or competence.[42]

As the people of South-East are faced with lack of jobs for its energetic population, none development of new motorable access roads to rural settlements, poor maintainance of existing roads, water supply and unreliable electricity,[21]: there are lots of abandoned energy, road and water projects capable of improving the economy of the region such as the second River Niger Bridge (Onitsha),[43] Orlu regional water scheme,[31] Izombe Gas Processing Plant and Egbema Power Station Projects.[44][45] On many occasions between 2005 and 2006, numerous media announcements were made by the federal authorities to the effect that the federal government was to commit the sum of 77 million Naira toward the take-off of the Orlu regional water scheme.[31]: An Igbo pressure group, Aka Ikenga, said the suspension of the second River Niger Bridge (Onitsha), a private public partnership project would greatly affect economic activities in the South-south and South-east regions respectively. They noted that the nascent industries in these regions will suffer from the suspension due to heavy reliance on the old bridge to ease transportation problems.[46]

Political Deprivations

Former civil-war president Yakubu Gowon holds the view that the gesture of having a president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction has a net gain of providing stability to Nigeria.[47]: Yakubu Gowon had noted that a president of Nigeria of Igbo extraction demonstrates Nigeria's continued pursuit to eradicate the "toga of political instability and the dread of ethnic domination that hitherto defined political and socio-cultural relationships" in the nation.[47]: In the words of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and now the Emir of Kano, "the Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have conspired to keep the Igbo People out of the scheme of things in Nigeria. They Igbo have been defeated in war, rendered paupers by monetary policy fiat, their properties declared abandoned and confiscated, kept out of strategic public sector appointments, and deprived of public services. The rest of the country forced them to remain in Nigeria and has continued to deny them equity.[48]

The Emir in calling for justice and equity, remarked the following about younger generations of Igbo People, "there is a new Igbo man who was not born in a 1966 and neither knows nor cares about Nzeogwu and Ojukwu. There are Igbo men on the streets who were never Biafrans. They were born Nigerians and are Nigerians, but suffer because of the actions of earlier generations." [48]: In corroborating the Emir's remarks, Elliot Uko the Founder of Igbo Youth Movement said years of feeling marginalised have fuelled the current protests.[21]: "These people who want Biafra do not have faith in Nigeria anymore, especially those who seem not to believe that the Igbo People will ever get justice in Nigeria", said Mr Uko.[21]: “They believe for example that the JAMB cut-off marks are skewed against them because they get higher marks and, get dropped for northerners who score lower grades in the name of federal character.[49]

"I hope and am sure my brothers and sisters in the South-East will be a lot happier when Ndigbo have the opportunity to attain the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This, to all intents and purposes, will help to achieve some measure of closure on memories of the Civil War", said Nigeria's civil war military president, Yakubu Gowon in his support of the principle of rotation of power in Nigeria and aligning his position with the clamour for Nigerian president of Igbo extraction as a measure to heal the civil war wounds and resolve the root cause and effects of the Biafra-war.[47] Chukwuemeka Ezeife alluded that the Biafra restoration movement is gaining acceptability among serious politicians from the South-East which hitherto constituted major problem, in their pursuit of freedom, fairness and equity from captivity as highlighted by Emir of Kano,[48][50]: “We don’t want to be in Nigeria anymore. We want to be on our own,” said Ugochukwu Chinweuba, affirming that their goal is independence.[1]:

Calls for Referendum

In response to ubiquitous demand for 'Biafra," and the world-wide outrage of the Easterners against the incarceration and molestation of "Biafra" agitators, there are calls for Referendum in order to ascertain the wish of the ethnic nationalities within the various geopolitical space of Nigeria. Mr Kanu has been urged to change his current violent speech propaganda for dialogue through call for referendum in the Independence struggle.[51] According to Lower Niger Congress, Nigeria's Constitution is being blamed for the country's failure to thrive despite the abundance of human and material resources in the nation. " [48]: The Indigenous People of Biafra and Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, have found President Muhammadu Buhari’s self-determination-based call, in address at the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly [52] on World Leaders to assist the State of Palestine in getting freedom from the State of Israel ironical but a boost to their advocacy for the State of Biafra[53][54] from Nigeria. President Buhari while launching the 2016 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblem and Appeal Fund on November 16, 2015 in Abuja argued that "Our nation has recently celebrated 55 years of political independence and continues to remain as one indivisible entity despite several grievous challenges. Since independence, Nigeria has witnessed a lot of internal strife, survived a civil war and has remained united. This feat achieved by the country is an eloquent testimony to the determination of our citizens to remain as one people.[55] J.O.G. Achuzia (rtd) while arguing for a round table conference amongst the various regions, said "it is not a question of Biafra being a South-East problem or a South-South problem. It is the South-Eastern region of Nigeria because Nigeria was originally on a tripod of South-East region, South-West region and the Northern region." [56] Radio Biafra, alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari has pre-occupied himself with investigating the connection between the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, secessionist group and Niger-Delta militants rather than ordering the release of its detained director – Nnamdi Kanu, and call for a dialogue on how to conduct a Referendum. [57] In Kano July 16, 2014, Northern youths under the auspices of Arewa Youth Development Foundation called for the division of Nigeria as a political entity. During the protest held outside the palace of the Emir of Kano a speech signed by National President and Secretary General, Barrister Aliyu M Usman, and Alfred Solomon called on the people to “rise and support agitation for peaceful dissolution of this union called Nigeria for every region to go its own way”.[58]

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