The debate became necessary following the Tsunami of protests unleashed by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), both in Nigeria and abroad – mainly in front of Nigerian embassies and British High Commissions worldwide. Biafrans have also severally demonstrated in front of 10 Downing Street and in front of the British Parliament as well.
The protests started as reaction to the abduction of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB worldwide leader and Director of Radio Biafra London. Nigerian government had claimed it arrested him for terrorist acts. But when they finally brought him to court after denials that they did not have him in their custody, the charge sheet showed something else. He was charged for entering the country illegally; conspiracy to incite violence; and being the leader of an illegitimate society or group.
In the final analyses, what became apparent to many right-thinking individuals was that the so-called arrest was just a ploy to keep him away from his microphone at Radio Biafra. The powers that be in Nigeria, and those propping them up from around the world, did not want Kanu to continue to tell the world the bitter truth about Nigeria and its rulers. Those who have held the reins of power in the country, together with those that are still in government (who collectively ran the country aground) were not comfortable with the revelations being made on Radio Biafra. They were not happy that he was exposing their ill-deeds, not only to ordinary Nigerians in the street, but also to the international community.
For these, he had many followers. But they were not happy. Now, it is for this reason that before that great debate takes place, the British must ensure that he is brought out so that both sides of the divide will have equal opportunity to ventilate their positions to the world, particularly to the British people. It is obvious that Nigerian rulers want him away from his microphone while this debate lasts; but it is important that Britain and all people of goodwill around the world do not allow it.
Firstly, it is important as facts begin to emerge that Nigeria has unleashed its agents, masquerading as leaders of Biafra to mount campaigns internationally, in a bid to discredit Kanu and to take glory for the great works he has done on Biafra restoration with IPOB. Such people will not be doing what they are doing if Kanu is around to tell his own side of the story. The British authorities must be well-guided on this matter to see that they do not set out a time bomb in Biafra when independence is finally achieved (as was the case in Southern Sudan).
Secondly, this is important because as things stand now, the Nigerian dictator, Muhammadu Buhari is lobbying with his aids and agents, and strategizing on how to torpedo the Biafra agitation. His opponent should also be free also to lobby in favour of Biafra independence. If this is not done, then it would be most unjust.
But the British people are not unjust people; they are fair-minded people. In fact, during his broadcasts, Kanu has always described the British populace as the most civilised people on the face of the earth. He always saw them as a people who, even when the executive arm of their governments derails on an issue, always press for truth and justice once they learn the true position of things. Kanu has always believed that the British people will stand with Biafrans once they are made to understand the real issues, and so he should be in a position to explain the issues to the British people.
So, let the British Parliament not allow Buhari to keep Kanu out of circulation while he (Buhari) grapples to dubiously keep Biafra as a continuing Nigerian slave enclave. Britain should not give Buhari that pleasure.
Let it be known that Kanu is not being held by Nigerian justice system. Instead, he is being held by a dictator/terrorist (Buhari) who saw Kanu’s agitation as standing against his plan to totally islamise Biafraland. Kanu’s lawyer, Vincent Egechukwu Obetta, did not mince words when he spoke about it. He said: “I don’t have issues with the judiciary because the judiciary has been applying the law the way it is. The problem we have is with the prosecution that has refused to apply or obey the law.
They have obeyed the law in breach, contrary to the rule of law, and then the rule of natural justice.” Two courts settled Kanu’s case on December 16 and 17, by ordering the Directorate of State Security (DSS) for Kanu’s unconditional release. But Buhari gave a counter order to his henchmen at the DSS not to release him. He ordered that unless Kanu signed an undertaking not to ever
Campaign for Biafra Independence again, that he would be slammed with another charge bordering on treasonable felony. Kanu refused to sign and they slammed him with a fresh charge last Monday, December 21. Meanwhile, that new charge runs in the face of United Nation’s Charter on Indigenous Peoples Rights of 2007.
Obetta also spoke concerning it when he pointed out that within the span of three months, Buhari and his lapdogs had situations where Kanu was “alleged to have committed three different offences: Conspiracy and leading an unlawful society; Terrorism and Terrorism financing; and Treasonable Felony. The presupposition of this act is that the authority is shopping for the offence to levy against him unsure which he has committed against the state.”
This led him to declare that “what was happening in Nigeria was no longer a case of trial in court, but a case of dictatorship. “Our contention is that the prejudicial manner of continuous detention of our client puts the authorities in the light of persecutors instead of the revered position of prosecutor”.
Now, it is from this standpoint that one can confidently say that Britain (a country noted for its belief in legality and rights) must wade into the matter. Britain must insist that the right things be done rightly. If Britain did not arrest campaigners for an independent Scotland, but chose the part of referendum for the people, it should not stand for the rape of the right of Indigenous People of Biafra for self-determination, which Kanu is championing.
One believes the foregoing are enough reasons why the British Parliament must work to force Buhari to free Nnamdi Kanu before the coming great debate.
By Tim Tochukwu