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Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Puzzle over Nigeria’s unity as North Central rediscovers identity

 


September 30, 2020 | The Biafra Times


That Nigeria is more divided today than ever before is no longer news. It is already manifesting with the North Central geopolitical zone that appear set to break away and seeking self-actualization from the core north. The North Central had been lackadaisical about its own identity while it tagged along the north as an appendage, as though there was an agreement to continue playing second fiddle.

The zone has always been useful in giving the north needed numerical, bargaining strength when it comes to dividing the spoils of national resource. Now, it seems the north is unraveling, with things falling apart for Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), as prominent leaders from Nigeria’s North Central zone recently decided to take their destiny in their own hands to opt out of the northern grouping.

They cited worsening insecurity in northern Nigeria as major reason. The leaders said the forum would also be deployed to tackle socio-economic marginalization the region suffers. The announcement of the birth of North Central Peoples Forum (NCPF) means that the zone is finally breaking away from the stranglehold of the core north.

In recent times, there have been unspoken feelings of disenchantment by the majority in the zone. Unlike the other five geopolitical zones in the country that enjoy consanguinity, the North Central has been tied to the apron strings of the north to the detriment of its development. While other zones have in place their common socio-political and economic platforms, where they meet to discuss their strength and weaknesses with a view to promoting development, the North Central, on the other hand, has been at the mercy of larger north.

Thus, with a feeling of being taken for a ride for too long, the leaders have finally realised the ACF cannot champion the region’s cause. Forming a platform for such purposes became a necessity for the six states that make up the North Central geopolitical zone.

For the new leaders of NCPF, the zone is like the weeping child of the north and the federation. It has faced the worst security challenges occasioned by unprovoked aggression from herdsmen within and outside the larger north. The devastating result has been the destruction of their farmlands, killings and maiming of their citizens, kidnappings and all forms of criminality. Also, there’s the sudden realisation that the zone is the most under-developed despite its contributions to the development of the country.

Weighed down by these challenges, the North Central would seem to have woken up from its long slumber. It is now searching for its soul and identity and the right leadership to champion its embattled people. Remaining with the core north, in their reckoning, would mean a gradual extermination before they realised it.

However, there seems to be some mix up between the new NCPF and another splinter group in the region, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) that has been in existence for decades. While the NCPF is made up of Kogi, Nassarawa, Niger, Kwara, Plateau, and Benue States, membership of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) seems geographically indeterminate. One of the questions agitating many is, which states qualify to be Middle Belt Forum?

Read Also: We want our own country – Yoruba leader, Akintoye tells Buhari

From tabulated and web sources, locations and regions which have been categorised as constituting the Middle Belt include the conventional North Central states – Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Niger, Benue, Nasarawa States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. This is in addition to a number of Christian-dominated sub-regions in some North Eastern and North Western states such as Southern parts of Kaduna Taraba, Kebbi (Zuru), Adamawa (Numan), Gombe, Bauchi, Yobe, and Bornu States.

Thus, contrary to popularly held notion and flowing from the above knowledge, the ‘middle-belt’ appears to lack designated physical ‘borders’, being more of a category that is characterised by heterogeneity and diversity of its ‘peoples’ in terms of ethnicity, religion and culture.

What the Middle Belt, however, has in common is the ‘minority’ factor of tribes and religion. And this is unaltered regardless of the significant presence of other majority tribes and religions within these regions such as the Kanuri or Hausa/Fulani and Islam.

However, this would seem a strange way of identifying a people. While the term ‘Middle Belt’ has been in existence and in use since the 1950s pre-independence Nigeria (the defunct United Middle Belt Congress – UMBC, led by Joseph Tarka), the term ‘North Central’ (states) as a region, however, came into existence in the 1990s under the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s regime.

The question then is: why wasn’t the region accurately named ‘Middle Belt’ region when the six geopolitical zones were delineated? Was it omitted to actualise a ‘one big north’ agenda?

While addressing journalists in Abuja on the matter, the group said in spite of the abundant mineral and human resources in the zone, the North Central was bedevilled by vices like herdsmen’s aggression, kidnapping, banditry and other forms of criminality.

The new North Central group is being led by a former Minister of State for Health, Gabriel Aduku as its interim chairman. A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Jerry Useni, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, former Military Administrator of Kwara State, Col. David Bamigboye (rtd), and former Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Olusola Akanmode, are also listed as members.

Others are the Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, former Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa, Ahmed Ibeto, media consultant, Alhaji Tajudeen Kareem, former Deputy Governor of Benue State, Chief Stephen Lawani, and Alhaji Alfa Mohammed.

Useni told journalists that the existence of similar groups in other parts of the country had given rise to group affinity and solidarity among the states in a particular geopolitical zone to canvass things of common interest.

He expressed confidence that the forum would unite the people of Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, and the Federal Capital Territory in their quest to ensure that peace and stability was established and sustained within the zone.

He added that the forum would pursue rapid industrialisation across all nooks and crannies of the zone.

He also said the group would pursue policies and processes that would ensure that the zone’s massive solid mineral and agricultural endowments were adequately harnessed.

He said, “The forum is also aimed at ensuring cooperation and support for the good policies and administration of the six governors of the zone, irrespective of our political, religious and ethnic differences.

“We will support and cooperate fully with the Federal Government for full and complete implementation of infrastructure and development projects situated in the zone and the involvement of the people of the zone in the national affairs of the country.

“We will promote, defend and strengthen North Central unity and the interest of its people in the context of one indivisible Nigeria and to contribute to the safeguarding of her territorial integrity. Consequently, every zone now has a common socio-political platform where they meet to discuss their strength and weakness with the view to propounding and promoting progress and development of the zone.”

FOR the newly formed NCPF, however, many contradictions abound. The current ACF chairman and former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, hails from North Central zone.

When contacted on the new body, Ogbeh said his being the leader of ACF was not something he bargained for, stating, “When I was made chairman, I wasn’t even there. They met in Kaduna and decided it; I didn’t even know. On the other hand, there were people within ACF, who wanted to be chairman, but they were not picked. It took me about one month to even accept.

“After leaving office, I have been concentrating on my farm. I said, ‘fine, I accepted.’ Having said that, I had no issues with the emergence of the North Central Peoples Forum. It is not an issue with us in ACF. I mean, this is a democracy and people should be free to associate as convenient and expedient to their needs in a particular area.”

He said the idea of ACF, which is 20 years old, came when they saw decline happening in the North. Ogbeh said ACF came to bring the North together to speak with one voice, to pressurise government and get things done. According to him, the other reason was to keep the North unified so as to minimise the conflict of religion and ethnicity and manage the diversity, saying there are close 300 ethnic groups in the north.

According to him: “In the First Republic, the Sardauna was here; he was not a biased man in the line of religion or politics. I can tell you a story about Cardinal John Onayekan. We were schoolmates at St. Michael Aliade. When school certificate results came out in 1962, we were in form one, he was in form five. He had the best result in West Africa, with nine distinctions.

“Guess who wanted to see him quickly? The Sardauna sent for him and asked him whether he wanted to go to Oxford or Cambridge. John said he wanted to be a priest. The Sardauna said, ‘that was okay but if you change your mind you have the scholarship.’

“John said, ‘no he wanted to be a priest.’ Then Ahmadu Bello visited my school in 1963 on his way to the Sardauna’s province. He gave us a gift of two cows and praised our school for having put Northern Nigeria on the educational map of Nigeria.

Ogbeh said when those good men died and the region was split into states and military rule came in, religious sensitivity began to rise and the economy, particularly agriculture, began to decline. He indicated that the native authorities, which played a major role then in developing the region, started declining and dying when civilian rule came.

“The native authorities became totally irrelevant,” Ogbeh said. “As at today, hardship has set in. We were not growing, but we are not paying taxes anymore.

“In those days, once you are of a voting age you have to pay tax. If you don’t pay, they would make you miserable in front of your wife and children. Suddenly, the economy started dying, religious and ethnic sensitivity started growing and you kept hearing of marginalisation.”

He admitted that there were instances where a government comes into power and the major appointments come from one ethnic area, which irritates people, especially sensitive positions. He said if the Northeast elites gather tomorrow and say their region has been bastardised by Boko Haram, that they like as a group to do something about it, “how can we quarrel about that? That is our position; we are not quarrelling.”

He said the North is a very large area that is hopelessly under-developed and facing severe crises, which he had warned about in 2005 at a lecture he gave in Kaduna to the same ACF, when late Chief Awoniyi, Abubakar Rimi, Adamu Ciroma invited him to give a talk.

According to him, “The topic was ‘The North and the future of Nigeria.’ I warned that there was going to be violence and chaos on a scale that had never been seen from looking at the economic and social development of the North. There were those who did not agree with me and there were others who said, ‘well, the North is not like that, we don’t behave that way.’ “But I saw it, because my worry was that for a very long time now since the end of the 1970s, the only industry in the North is either politics, the arms services or the civil service. Gone are the days when we had the industries in Kano and even in places like Benue; the Tilly Gyados of this world; in Jos the Danboyi Zangiel; Bakko Kantagora in Niger State, to mention but a few.”

SENATOR Alex Kadiri, who represented Kogi East Senatorial District under the banner of the All Peoples Party (APP) between 1999 and 2003, expressed caution regarding the formation of any new socio-political grouping in the zone.

According to him, “All the agitators used to be part of ACF. At a point, somebody like Jeremiah Useni became chairman of ACF. What drove them from ACF? They haven’t told us yet. Secondly, at my age if I am joining a group, I look through them. Whether we like it or not, there are people who have current mandates, whether legitimate or illegitimate acquisition of power, but they have mandate. Those of them like that from the Middle Belt, have they taken them into consideration in what they are doing?

“Or would they just exclude them because they are in government? Is Paullen Tallen part of what they are doing? She is a minister from Plateau. Is George Akume part of what they are doing? He is from Benue. Is Lai Mohammed part of what they are doing? Lai Muhammed is from Kwara. Gbemisola Saraki, is she part of what they are doing? Ramatu Tijani, is she part of what they are doing?

“They are not carrying people along and I want them to expand and carry Middle Belters along.

“Thirdly, where is the boundary of Middle Belt, because I know somebody from Borno State, who is very active in this Middle Belt Forum and he is somebody I respect very well and he knows. Dr. Bitrus Pogu is from Borno State and he is an active member of Middle Belt Forum. So, where is the boundary of Middle Belt?

“Finally, the promoters of this enterprise currently seem to be all Christians. Are Middle Belt people all Christians? Or is it another branch of CAN? These are my misgivings about this outfit.”

Another commentator, Mr. Isaac Adaji, said, “Even though we are not political, I want to say that it has come at the right time. We have agitated for this type of self-actualisation as North Central. The formation of this does not mean that we are not relating with other groups.

“It is for us to actually bring ourselves together, have a common voice and because we have a common history, common interest, we have many things we share at the North Central level.

“Not just the resources, our cultural heritage is so much in common that we can flow together. Additionally, we have seen that the development of the North Central has been too slow. It has been at snail’s speed compared to other regions that came together the time North Central came together. Even though we have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria, development has not really come to us.

“It is always promises upon promises. If North Central is fully developed and all the resources are fully tapped, the country would not go borrowing. There are so many things in North Central, and if Nigeria has harnessed them properly, we won’t go borrowing.  Apart from Ajaokuta, there are other things.”

Source: Guardian

The Biafra Times

Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah

Contact us: [email protected]

Follow us on twitter: @thebiafratimes

Sunday, 27 September 2020

We want our own country – Yoruba leader, Akintoye tells Buhari

 


September 28, 2020 | The Biafra Times


The leader of Yoruba ethnic group, Professor Banji Akintoye has said that Yoruba ethnic group is in dire need of its own country out of the present Nigeria.

Akintoye said that over 55 million people of Yoruba extraction, will get their freedom without breaking the law of the country or shedding blood.

The renowned historian made these declarations during the celebration of Kiriji war held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on Wednesday.

History has it that Kiriji war happened in Yoruba land many decades ago.

Present at the celebration included Otun Olubadan, High Chief Lekan Balogun who represented the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Otunba Deji Osibogun, Wale Alabi, Comrade Olu Omotosho, Opeoluwa Elisha Ademoyegun and Iyanda Wasiu.

Akintoye while insisting that nothing would stop the liberation of Yoruba from its enemies, awakened the youths, who he said, were very important in the fight for struggle.

He said, “We have been saying we will have a Yoruba nation of our own. Yoruba World Congress is committed to helping Yoruba nation to secure its position in the comity of nations.

“They do say I don’t compromise. It is not every time. But once we say, we will take a common stance, I don’t know how to betray. We will get Yoruba nation free without violence, we will not break the laws of Nigeria. If there is anyone who wants to be violent, we will tell them, no.

“If you are violent and there are dead bodies on the streets, you are circumventing our purpose. We are telling the world that we want our own country. We have the rights to demand for our rights. When we launched Amotekun, was there any arrest, violence? If you want to stage a rally, do so. It’s your rights but no violence.

“I have passion for the youths. If you don’t have people who can take after you, no matter the amount of wealth you have it’s nothing. These youths are important. We elders can only guide and lead you. We can write letters but it is you who will do it. It must succeed. Anybody saying contrary, I’m not part of that idea.

“In the past of 30 and 40 years ago, the youths have not been the same again. I graduated from the University College Ibadan in the morning and by evening my wife and I were employed. I can’t do the things I’m doing now if I don’t have the youths around me.

“We are hurting our future in a very vicious way. Yoruba are 55 million, 74 percent are 40 years and. Step forward and. They have the authority of the land to say you can’t do it. Go back home. No violence. Go to market places, mechanic workshop, farmers on their way to the farms. If you can do this, getting our resolve done will not be difficult.”

“We don’t force our will on people. Explain to those organizations who don’t understand what you want. Yoruba will not suffer. We are the most populous in Africa. We want to take our own country and begin to build it. Nothing more,” he concluded.

In his own contribution, the leader of Movement for Oduduwa Republic, Architect Akin George explained how they had mobilized other people in Yorubaland.

“We went to Okemesi where the Kiriji war started. We saw the king. From there, we went to Imesi Ile and Igbajo. At Igbajo, we noticed disunity between Imesi Ile and Oke Imesi, between Igbajo and Ibadan people there.

“We reconciled them. We can’t fight the enemies if home front is divided. We may have misunderstanding but should not lead to quarrel,” he revealed.


Source: Daily Post


The Biafra Times

Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah

Contact us: [email protected]

Follow us on twitter: @thebiafratimes

Friday, 25 September 2020

Joint Press Statement: Give us referendum or we declare sovereignty Oct 1st 2021 --- Biafra & Oduduwa



PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA (IPOB) AND THE YORUBA ONE VOICE (YOV) THURSDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020.

September 25, 2020 | The Biafra Times


The First Natural Step

As Nigeria approaches another so called Independence Day on October 1st, the matter of the permanent position of the indigenous peoples of the Oduduwa people and the people of Biafra, once again comes to fore. The attention of The IPOB and YOV, to the plight of their people, the Brothers and Sisters of the Biafra and Oduduwa nations, their sufferings within the stifling, breathless, forced convergence with degenerative, limiting, confluence and influence with others, who do not share our own values, whose ways of life, mannerisms, ideology, are untoward, inimical, alien, hostile to our people, all of these have now necessitated this historic occasion to which the IPOB and YOV are now addressed.

Gentlemen of The Press, The Biafra and The Oduduwa Nations jointly welcome you to a New Dawn.

NIGERIA–THE URGENT NEED FOR A REFERENDUM PRIOR TO THE 2023 ELECTIONS.

Dear countrymen and women, it is now time to boldly jettison the 1999 Constitution of the Federal (actually Unitary) Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which was not a product of the collective will of the Peoples of Nigeria. The said Constitution was decreed into existence by the General Abdulsalami Abubakar administration, after the annulment of June 12, 1993 general elections, which was won fair and square by the late Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and the attendant contraptions that followed suit.

The 1914 forced amalgamation of the different Nation states which made up Nigeria and the successive years of exploitation of the peoples of the Southern parts of Nigeria by firstly the British Colonialists and thereafter by a Feudal minority of the Northern part of Nigeria which has entrenched poverty, underdevelopment, mediocrity, unemployment, wanton killings, terrorism,  inequality, insecurity, injustice, ethnic Bigotry, religious fanaticism and breach of fundamental human rights.

The golden years of Nigeria were when we had The three regions, viz; Northern Region, Western Region and Eastern Region, with each region having its own Constitution which recognized the diversity in the culture, religion and peoples of Nigeria. 

Nigeria as a Country also had its own Constitution.

Nigeria attained her independence from the British Colonialists in 1960 and became a Republic in 1963. We practiced Parliamentary system of government. There was an unfortunate military intervention in our national politics in 1966 and this was the time that a command structure unitary system of governance was smuggled into our politics, without the express consent of all ethnic nationalities.

A bitter Civil War was fought from 1967 to 1970 with millions of our people from Biafra massacred. 

Since the end of the war the old eastern region have not been fully reintegrated into Nigeria. The declaration of no Victor, no Vanquished by the General Yakubu Gowon administration, was a mere lip service proclamation.

Successive military dictators ruled Nigeria from 1970 to 1979 when Nigeria introduced a purported Presidential System of Government in name, but which is unitary in character and practice. 

The 1979 Constitution which was decreed into existence by General Olusegun Obasanjo was in operation from 1979 to 31st of December 1983 when Major General Muhammadu Buhari truncated our democracy.

Read Also: Garba Shehu replies UK lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners, fidgets, attack Kanu, IPOB & Danjuma

The Major General Buhari’s regime, was also overthrown by General Ibrahim Babangida, who ruled from 27th of August 1985 until he was forced to step aside on the 26th of August 1993. A contraption called Interim National Government (ING) of Chief Earnest Adegunle Shonekan, was in power from 27th of August,1993 to 17th of November,1993 when General Sani Abacha seized power and ruled with an iron fist until he died on the 8th of June,1998 inside Aso Rock. General Abdulsalami Abubakar, another military dictator ruled Nigeria from the 9th of June 1998 to the 29th day of May 1999.

Nigeria has been operating a supposed Presidential system under the 1999 Constitution with successive Government's from Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to the current President; Major General Muhammadu Buhari. The presidential constitution, which is unitary in character, has failed the Peoples of Nigeria. We, The People, did not write this constitution. It is too expensive, wasteful, and has not represented the yearnings and expectations of the oppressed peoples of the Oduduwa and Biafra nations.

From all indications, the current leadership of Nigeria is not, and has never been committed to the fundamental objectives and directives of the principles of statehood, policies of Federalism as enshrined in Chapter II of the Constitution that it derived its powers from. Our peoples are tired of the terrorism, insecurity, hopelessness, injustice, killings, unemployment, inequality, corruption, scandals, violence, oppression, extortion, and repression.

Whereas, our peoples are entitled to their inherent inalienable rights to Self-determination and dignity of their persons in accordance with Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human and Peoples Rights of 1948; Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, Article 1 of the International Convention Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Our aspiration is to build a viable, democratic and stable Nation for our Peoples and in this regard, we demand that there must be a referendum, so that our peoples can freely and fairly make a democratic choice, whether they want to continue with Nigeria as presently configured or seek their right to Self-determination before the 2023 General elections.

In order to prevent an implosion of sorts, we, on behalf of our people, therefore demand a proper referendum/plebiscite, to be conducted between now and the 1st of October,2021, in accordance with the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' all over all over the world under The Law as provided in the AU and the United Nations charters, to be supervised by Both The AU and the United Nations.

Copies of this jointly signed Release have been sent to these world bodies.

If, as we believe, our people choose Self-determination, The Next Natural Step would be the immediate activation of the processes and modalities, beginning from the 2nd of October, 2021, for the creation of the Odùduwà and the Biafran Nations out of the present but otiose Nigerian experiment, which started in 1914.

We shall begin the mobilization of our respective peoples toward the actualization of the quest for freedom and life more abundant at a certain date in the future, when peaceful negotiations for applicable terms of separation would have been concluded with our respective residual ethnic nationalities and neighbors.

Read Also: Three killed, residents flee as Nigerian soldiers raid Rivers communities

We wish to place on record our hope that Major General Buhari and his Fulani peoples of West Africa will heed this peaceful democratic demand in a timely manner. In the event our Forthright and Steadfast advocacy is denied, our peoples are hereby notified to commence preparations for series of passive activities that will demonstrate our resolve to be in control of our affairs. Towards this end, our peoples are hereby called upon to undertake the following:

1. Stay away from participation and involvement in any sham or nebulous October 1, 2020; 60th independence anniversary activities as may be mounted by the Unitary Government of Nigeria.

2. In specific terms, we hereby call on the peoples of our territories, and indeed all peoples of Nigeria yearning to be free from internal colonization to be prepared to Stay-At-Home on October 1, 2020. No one among us should play along with any celebration of 60 years of an imbalanced unequal country. Staying-At-Home means keeping safe and away for the inhuman and inhumane character of the present regime of Major General Buhari.

3. Our peoples in the diaspora are hereby enjoined to organize flag flying carnivals and peaceful rallies on October 1, 2020 in all cities across the world. A joint Biafra/Oduduwa event marking the beginning of our journey to freedom is to be celebrated into the following weeks. The whole world ought to witness a rekindling of self-awareness and our pride of place among the community of civilized peoples of the world.

4. All our peoples are to be on standby in readiness for further calls for peaceful and legal demonstrations of our resolve to be free from the failed Nigerian state. These calls will continue to be made for as long as it would be needful, up until our goals for self-determination are achieved.

We salute all of you our compatriots here at home and across the world. 


Signed:

Dr Sina Okanlomo

International General Secretary of Yoruba One Voice (YOV)

Mazi Chika Edoziem

Head, Directorate of State of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)

The Biafra Times
Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah
Contact us: [email protected]
Follow us on twitter: @thebiafratimes

Garba Shehu replies UK lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners, fidgets, attack Kanu, IPOB & Danjuma

 


September 25, 2020 | The Biafra Times


The President and Government of Nigeria welcome the seriousness of the letter from UK lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners. We welcome the attention paid to this serious challenge by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and seek to work with you, the Commonwealth and all concerned parties to bring a lasting solution to herder-farmer clashes, and the threat posed to all Nigerians – and the Sahel region as a whole – from Boko Haram terrorists and their allies.

We ask our British colleagues to visit Nigeria, whether formally or informally to discuss all the points raised in their letter. Our government is made equally of Christian and Muslim cabinet members; our Vice President is an Evangelical Pastor. We have everything to gain as a country through international cooperation with concerned, senior British parliamentarians and policymakers. The threat to civilians and peaceful co-existence between different ethnic and religious groups from Boko Haram, banditry and land disputes is of serious concern to the President and the government. It is incorrect, however, to assert that the government has or is doing nothing to address these intertwined threats.

Firstly, there are on-going efforts for the establishment of cattle ranches to prevent or curtail open grazing, the practice that brings herders and farmers into conflict. This is an age-old problem facing Nigerian Governments since the colonial days. However, matters of land distribution are dealt with at state level. This means willingness has to be shown by state governors to drive the process forward. The Federal Government launched a plan last year to work with states to address these issues - together. Unfortunately, this has been lacking in some states.

Secondly, with regards to the long and determined battle waged against Boko Haram, Nigerians are aware of the efforts made by this Government. When the government came to power, the terrorist group held and administered an area the size of Belgium. Now they hold none. The terrorists are hiding out amongst remote forests and across borders. This makes it difficult to extinguish the final flames of the insurgency, and the government has no illusions of the potent threat still posed. However, the progress made cannot be denied.

Thirdly, in the face of rising crime and insecurity, the government’s new community policing initiative was launched this month. 10,000 new constables are being recruited from the areas they will safeguard – as opposed to past practice. The government hopes this will bring policing closer to local communities. N13 billion has been earmarked for this initiative.

At the same time as we take note of the lawmakers’ letter, it is also important to stress to our partners and colleagues in the United Kingdom that not all who press them have the best interests of either democratic governance or peaceful coexistence in mind. For example, the former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, named and quoted in the letter as a source on military matters, relinquished that position some 40 years ago - in 1979. He was last in a government position 17 years ago in 2003 (as Minister of Defence). At that time, religious and ethnic riots erupted in two states of the federation, (2001 and 2002), these were violently and ruthlessly put down by the military under his authority, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of some further 50,000 persons. He is, therefore, not a natural source of pressure for good governance.

Another, signatory to the letter, is well-known to be associated with the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a Nigerian-blacklisted terrorist group. The IPOB are running a well-known (source-of-financing-unknown) international campaign intended to damage the reputation of Nigeria and its government in order to further their cause of “independence”. He jumped bail in Nigeria. He frequently travels on a Nigerian passport but urged his supporters to burn their passports! The IPOB barely mention their aims in their publicity; neither do they mention that their own leadership do not claim to be Christian. Yet, their media and lobbying campaign has focused near-exclusively on promoting matters related to Christianity in Nigeria, promulgating false claims that a government with 50 per cent of its cabinet and 50 per cent of its State Governors who are Christian somehow works against Christians. We call on our British friends and colleagues to join us in addressing genuine solutions not pander to agents of anarchy.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)


The Biafra Times

Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah

Contact us: [email protected]

Follow us on twitter: @thebiafratimes



Wednesday, 23 September 2020

United Kingdom Lawmakers Write Commonwealth Over Bloodshed Under President Buhari


  • The lawmakers including Caroline Cox, David Alton, Jin Shannon and Helena Kennedy, said thousands of civilians in the country had been killed and elements of the Nigerian Government may be complicit in the violence.

September 23, 2020 | The Biafra Times

Some United Kingdom lawmakers have written the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland QC, over widespread violence in Nigeria.

The lawmakers including Caroline Cox, David Alton, Jin Shannon and Helena Kennedy, said thousands of civilians in the country had been killed and elements of the Nigerian Government may be complicit in the violence.

Others, who signed the letter, are Lord Williams, Lord Carey, Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Phillip Mounstephen, Lord Stoddart, Lord Anderson, Lord Cormack.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Ayo Adedoin, Ewelina Ochab, Mervyn Thomas, Dr Khataza Gondwe, Nevile Kyrte-Smith, Dr John Eibiner  and Ann Buwalda.

They sought intervention on the killings in Nigeria, highlighting the helplessness of the current administration.

The letter reads, “We write to highlight urgent concerns about escalating violence in Nigeria where attacks led by Boko Haram, Fulani herders and other Islamic militia continue in Northern and central-belt states with reports of increasing violence in the South-East.

“According to a report by the UK All-Party Parliament Group for international Freedom of Religion or Belief, thousands of civilians have been killed and elements of the Nigeria Government may be complicit in violence.

“The APPG's concern reflects the findings of a report by Amnesty International, which concludes that the Nigerian armed forces have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during their operations.

“The Nigerian former army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma, whom some of us have met and spoken to, says the armed forces are "not neutral, they collude" in the "ethnic cleansing" by Fulani herders. He insists that villagers must defend themselves because "depending on the armed forces" will result in them dying" one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop.

“The state's failure to protect its citizens is a clear breach of its obligations under the commonwealth charter in respect of human rights. There is now an urgent need (a) to ensure adequate protection and aid for those suffering the loss of family members and destruction of their homes and livelihood and (b) to end impunity by ensuring that complaints related to human rights violations are promptly, inadequate and impartially investigated, and those responsible are held to account after fair trials.

“We write therefore, to ask whether you are able to respond on behalf of The Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group.  We should be very willing to meet in person (or perhaps more practically, online via Zoom) to discuss how we might proceed.”

Source: Saharareporters


The Biafra Times

Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah

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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Three killed, residents flee as Nigerian soldiers raid Rivers communities

 


By Dennis Naku, Port Harcourt


September 22, 2020 | The Biafra Times

Three persons were feared dead, while two others were injured during an alleged joint security operation in some communities in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday.

Our correspondent gathered that the joint security raid comprised the police, the military and members of a local security outfit, the Andoni Security Peace and Advisory Council. They were said to have taken the communities by storm in gunboats while residents were preparing for church service.

Some witnesses said the security team was in search of some youths involved in alleged criminal activities, noting that they heard loud gunshots coming from different directions in their communities.

The Andoni communities raided were Ajakajak, Ibot-Irem, Samanga, Dema, Oturia, and Otuafu.

President General of the Obolo Youths Coalition, Ijaonama Mkpon Amon, told our correspondent on the telephone that three persons who died in the raid were from his community, Ajakajak, while two others sustained life-threatening injuries in the Ibot-Irem community.

Mkpon condemned the invasion and advised security agencies to go after their target rather than inflicting harm and killing innocent people who had nothing to do with crime, saying the constant raid of Andoni was traumatic to the people.

“Obolo is an ethnic group that cuts across Rivers and Akwa Ibom as well as some parts of Abia States. The military should understand that Ajakajak is a community and not a family if they were looking for a particular person.

“More than two thousand people live in that community. If you are coming to raid a community, it should be on target, not zigzag raiding. The three persons who died are from Ajakajak, my community.

“They (security operatives) need to work with the community people to differentiate innocent residents from those involved in criminal activities instead of raiding the entire area.

“This raid is condemnable and I call on the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of Army Staff to intervene and investigate this incident. They should tell their men not to make Andoni a war zone and for them to stop brutalising our people.”

When contacted, spokesman for 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Major Charles Ekeocha, said the raid was not carried out by soldiers of the division.

“Well, what happened was that we (6 Division) did not carry out that operation. Maybe another security agency did,” Ekeocha stated.

On his part, spokesman for the State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, did not pick his calls neither did he reply to a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

Source: PUNCH


The Biafra Time

Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah

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IPOB warns Nigerian security agents over abduction and unabated killing of innocent Biafrans

 

IPOB PRESS RELEASE 

September 22, 2020 | The Biafra Times

We the global family of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) ably led by our great Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,  condemn in very strong terms,  the constant harassment, abduction, torture, and secret  killing  of Biafrans or anybody suspected to be IPOB member throughout Biafraland. This deliberate ethnic cleansing  has continued unabated despite our repeated alarms.

For no just cause, the Nigerian security operatives on Friday, September 18, murdered one Mazi Onyeka Udechukwu, a vigilante, in Enugu State. These terrorists in security uniform  also shot and shattered Udechukwu's father's  private part with bullets at Ogui Road Enugu. The victim's badly wounded father is currently receiving intensive medical treatment in a  hospital. 

It's still a surprise how the Nigeria security agents suddenly became a willing tool in the hands of the Fulani -led federal government for the elimination of Judo -Christians and Biafrans. There is no gain saying the fact that the failure of Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to set up a panel of inquiry to investigate the recent unprovoked attack and barbaric killing  of unarmed IPOB members at Emene, has only emboldened the perpetrators of this atrocity and criminality.

We are  equally aware of the ongoing  abductions  at Omuma Road Aba  Abia State, Obigbo in Igweocha River state are being perpetrated by the  Fulani terrorists in Nigerian security uniforms. More than two people have already been murdered. IPOB is monitoring all these atrocities, and those behind them must be prepared to face the consequences when the time comes. 

The latest victims of this criminality include Mazi Chukwudi Idika and 10 others who committed no crime known to mankind. The Fulani dominated security officers in Abia State, also  tortured an innocent woman and took her into custody without any provocation.

Fulani is desperate to conquer our land with the support of Nigeria army, police and other security apparatus.  They have equally engaged their footsoldiers - the Fulani terrorist herdsmen, Boko Haram, Ansaru, bandits,  ISWAP and other terrorist groups who are busy killing, raping, burning down villages, and destroying farm lands and taking over communities in Southern Kaduna, Plateau and other parts Middle Belt region. The security agencies are watching them ravaging the land without hindrance. Terrorists now  walk freely in Nigeria, brandishing Ak47 and other deadly weapons. But the hypocritical security agencies   are very much busy pursing unarmed citizens in Biafra land. 

Nigerian security agencies must stop using high handedness on the peaceful members of IPOB, and innocent citizens of Biafra from now, otherwise they will regret their actions soon. Enough is enough! 


COMRADE EMMA POWERFUL MEDIA AND PUBLICITY SECRETARY FOR IPOB.


The Biafra Times

Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah

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