By Nelson Ọfọkar Yagazie
Nigeria, the failed British experiment, designed by Fredrick Lugard to last five score years, had since inception been a terror to mankind. Created not by the will of God, but that of man to serve the interest of the British, the consent of the federating units was as important as used tissue paper. Judging the people subhuman, the experimenting Brits, indifferent to the cultural, religious and ideological gulf between the constituent units, had gone ahead to force three nations – Biafra, Oduduwa and Arewa –together as one country.
Of course no state grows when plunged in internal rift and schisms, and the experimenting folks know such rifts are never lacking when people with different ideologies and cultural background are confined under one state. Yet, for their own gain, they didn’t think it twice to forge ahead with such experiment. As expected, the artificial borders holding Biafra, Oduduwa and Arewa together in the Nigerian state had bred animosity, and animosity as history would testify, had always been inimical to growth. The rupture in relationship among the merged nations had been employed to impair democracy in the region.
The failure of democracy in this British farmland mistaken for a country is evident in the toxic stew of aggression served the Biafran in recent years. It is not that the barbaric nature of Nigeria has ever been unclear. No. Even without bothering with the thirty months genocidal onslaught against the Biafran (itself an expansion of sustained pogroms that dates back to 1945), the subsequent genocidal attacks against the remnants of Biafra from 1970 when the war was verbally declared over, to this present day, speak nothing but barbarism. If it were just the Islamic extremists killing and raping us in their sworn quest to deep the Koran in the Atlantic Ocean, we would have known how to go about it, but it beats all imagination when government agencies who are supposedly custodians of the law and fundamentally created to protect life and property, turn around to unleash everything inhuman on the citizens.
The barrel of gun is turned against anyone who dares to speak up against the brutality and corrupt tendencies of the government. When such folks are not being gunned down by the army and police, they are being abducted by the DSS and thrown into prison without trial, and when trial is mustered, it is everything but fair. The judiciary itself, sufficiently intimidated and disgracefully subdued, seems to have forgotten the essence of its existence. Judgments are delivered at the government’s directive, making joke of the supposed “independence” of the judiciary.
That the judiciary is but a toy in the hand of the government is clearly demonstrated in the recent civilian coup orchestrated against the people of Imo state, Biafra. The Nigerian government, not comfortable with a governor sufficiently enlightened and brave enough to hold on to the tenets of democracy, ousted the duly elected executive governor of Imo state, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, using the cowardly and fantastically corrupt judiciary. Although all evidence before them clearly and unanimously point Emeka as the rightful winner, the sham called Supreme Court, acting on order from the cabal calling the shots in the mafia government, pronounced Hope Uzodimma, a winner. That the figures doctored to elevate the Federal Government’s stooge, Uzodimma, from fourth position to first position spin far above the number of registered voters didn’t mean a thing to the subservient judiciary. The despot in power has given a directive and against the popular will of the people, it’s got to be carried out.
If it were just the squashing of the people’s will, perhaps we would have learnt to adapt, knowing that as hopeless slaves we are in our own land, our will doesn’t count. But they squash more than our will. Our life is squashed too. There is no guarantee of life anymore. And as I am writing this, there is no guarantee that I will live to see it published. We live everyday as our last, for we are gunned down when we least expected it. We are picked up by government agents, and like Christmas goat, slaughtered without a verdict. We are killed for differing in opinion; we are killed for daring to speak up against the perceived ills of the government; we are killed for refusing to accept Islam; we are killed for asking for self-determination, an option solely left for us having sucked the gall of inhumanity enough from the Nigerian state.
Freedom is legal anywhere in the world. The Nigerian state itself fought and gained freedom from the occupying colonialist Britain. Yet, for asking for that which is legal, for asking for that which Nigeria asked for and obtained on silver platter, the Biafran is gunned down. If freedom is a crime, why then did the Nigerian state ask for it from the British Empire?
In civilized settings, the question of self-determination is answered in a referendum box. We saw this recently in UK with the Scot, and in the EU with Britain. The Scot agitated to leave the UK, the government of United Kingdom, recognizing their right for self-determination, offered them a referendum. Not mustering up the needed vote, Scotland stayed back and the matter closed. No one was killed or jailed. The UK herself, fed up with the European Union, agitated to leave. A referendum was conducted and they voted to leave. No one was killed. The challenge was resolved in the ballot box. That’s democracy.
In this British zoo nicknamed Nigeria, democracy is mouthed but not practiced. Consequentially, asking for self-determination is misinterpreted as asking for war, and without hesitation, cannons, bayonets and howitzers are turned against the freedom-seeking Biafran. Rather than resolve the raging matter through a United Nations’ monitored referendum, the government, despite being a signatory to the UN Charter on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, turn on its killing machines against the unarmed citizens exercising their fundamental human rights. One wonders then if the power-wielding giants in Nigeria understand the meaning of Democracy.
Even in Nigeria’s own constitution, self-determination is enshrined therein, and so is the right to protest. Yet, for exercising either of the two, we face the cruel barrel of a gun. This undemocratic and barbaric system of handling dissenting voices is instanced in the killing of IPOB family members in Aba High School in 2016 by the Nigerian army. The freedom-seeking group gathered in the school premises to offer prayers for the release of their Supreme Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who at the time, was being unlawfully detained by the Nigerian government for asking for an independent state of Biafra – same thing Nigeria asked from Britain and was given – and the might of Nigerian military was unleashed on them.
In war fashion the Nigerian army marched into the school in their numbers, and on one knee down as if aiming at a rival battalion, opened fire on the unarmed and defenseless praying Biafrans. Several were killed on the point, and several terribly injured, dying later on. Footages of this savagery was aired on Al Jazeera, and when the attention of then president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, who is now dead and impersonated by a facemask-wearing body-double employed by the cabal running Nigeria, the despot conveniently looked away, saying that he doesn’t want to see and issuing threats of worse terror.
This follows after Nkpor massacre – a 2016 May 30th military onslaught against IPOB members observing Biafra Heroes’ day, Onitsha Head-Bridge bloodbath – a military Mayhem on IPOB members protesting the detention of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and Onitsha Main-town slaughter – a joint attack of Navy and police against IPOB on awareness campaign.
On the 20th of January 2017, in Port Harcourt city, indigenously known as Igwe-ocha, Biafrans held a rally in support of President Donald Trump who, on that fateful day, was sworn into office. Fearing that Trump might notice them and extend a helping hand to their agitation, the Nigerian state moved its military against the rallying Indigenous People of Biafra, massacring a good number, injuring some and incarcerating the others.
The collapse of democracy in the Nigerian state and its attendant moral decadence are far-reaching, so much so that court verdicts are flouted with impunity. the Supreme Leader of the self-determination agitating group, Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, arrested and detained, was twice discharged and acquitted of all charges by two different High Courts sitting at the country’s capital city, Abuja, yet was unlawfully held back by the Department of Security Service, DSS.
Not only was court order disregarded, the terrorists in power moved in to arrest five uncompromising judges among whom is the second judge that discharged and acquitted Nnamdi Kanu. While remanded in custody, fresh charges were leveled against the Biafran leader, and the judge handling the case was ordered to convict and sentence him to death by hanging. The judge, finding nothing to convict an innocent man but fearing persecution from the government should he declare Kanu free, turned a Pilate, washing his hands off the case. The next judge, John Tsoho, followed the same path, and the case was shifted to Justice Binta Nyako, whose husband and son the government was holding. Binta was told to convict Kanu if she wanted her husband and son back.
The constitution was turned upside down, Justice Binta ruled and overruled herself, sharia law was adopted in trying a Jewish conformist, and masked witnesses were invited to testify against Kanu, everything undemocratic was done to pervert justice. Nevertheless, with Biafrans mounting pressure on international bodies for intervention, Kanu, after two years of unlawful detention, was granted bail with the most absurd conditions. He was banned from talking to the press – an infringement on his fundamental right to speech; he was banned from being present in any group of people numbering up to ten, by implication, he cannot go to market, temple of worship, or even attend a family gathering – an infringement on his fundamental right to free association; he was banned from travelling outside Nigeria, even to neighbouring Ghana – an infringement to his fundamental right to movement. Meanwhile, a session of Nigerian constitution states that an accused is presumed innocent until conviction. Kanu is not convicted of any crime, yet he is denied of his fundamental rights. Only in a failed democracy like Nigeria’s can such absurdity be seen.
While in the unlawful detention, his followers took to the street to protest his detention and ask for his release. Despite such exercise being enshrined in the constitution, the Nigerian government moved its terrorist army to kill them. This protesting group has no weapon with them and is exemplary in peaceful conduct. Yet, the Nigerian government, undemocratic and barbaric, thought of no other way of handling them than firing life bullet at unarmed citizens exercising their constitutional rights.
Months on, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu made the shocking revelation that President Buhari is dead and buried in an unmarked grave in Saudi Arabia and is being impersonated by a body double that can neither speak Fulfulde – late Buhari’s indigenous language of Fulani – nor publically remove his cap as he is not bald as late Buhari. Kanu pointed out the height difference between the impostor and the late Buhari and, putting the last nail in the coffin, pointed out the difference in the palmar flexion creases between the body-double and the late Buhari. Describing such colossal deception as rape of democracy, Kanu decried the cabal’s negligence of the people’s will, adding that Nigerians should rise up to wrestle the country back from the merchants in power and enthrone back democracy.
Acting to preempt more startling revelation, the Nigerian state, under the pretext of Kanu violating his bail conditions, deployed a detachment of soldiers with the finest of arsenal in Nigeria’s armory and backed up in the air with two air force fighter jets to silence the secret-revealing Biafran leader. The invading military killed twenty-eight young men and a dog in Kanu’s home, injuring several others. By a streak of luck, Kanu survived the attack but sustained life-threating injuries which rendered him incommunicado for thirteen months and forced him into exile.
Keeping to its nature of intimidating legal practitioners, the Nigerian state deployed a joint force of military and police to invade the home of counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, Barrister Ejiofor. Four people were killed on the spot, many others, including the Barrister’s aging mother, sustained bullet injuries, and the barrister’s house and neighbouring ones were set ablaze by the invading troop. Ejiofor’s saving grace is his absence in the house at the time of the attack. Realizing the target was missed, the police declared Ejiofor wanted on trumped up charges. The barrister became a fugitive for defending Nnamdi kanu and other IPOB members in law court. It took the intervention of different legal bodies – local and international – to rescue the fugitive legal practitioner from the murderous Nigerian police and army.
The world is aware of the Lekki Toll-gate massacre of unarmed Nigerian youths protesting police brutality. In every other place in the world the police maintain law and order, in Nigeria the police break law and order. And it’s not just that they do so, they do it with so much impunity. From forced bribery, the Nigerian police graduated to actual robbing and kidnapping. Victims are forcefully taken to automated teller machines (ATM) and at gunpoint, instructed to make withdrawals and hand over to the assailing police officers. When one dares to stand one’s ground, one is gunned down. One is even killed for more frivolous reasons such as having hairstyles the police in their pettiness considers indecent. So the youths having had it to their neck had taken to the streets to protest all over the country and the Nigerian army was unleashed on them. The Lekki Toll Gate incident is just one out of many of such mayhems.
Under the Pretext of enforcing Covid-19 lock-down order in Biafra land, the trigger-happy Nigerian police fires life bullet at Biafrans, killing innocent citizens here and there. A promising young man was recently killed by the police in Ohafia, Abia state, and the people, having endured police brutality for too long, took to the street. More of them were gunned down. Now aggrieved to the marrow, the people set a police van ablaze as a way of registering their grievance. The best the Nigerian government did in the situation is deploying the army in war fashion against the citizens. More people were killed and many more severely injured.
While soldiers and military hardware are being moved down east to Biafra land, up North, Boko Haram is ravaging cities. Ironically, the Nigerian government is more concerned with killing innocent Biafrans than engaging the deadly Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
In June 2021, the Nigerian government in collusion with Kenyan government abducted, tortured and extra-judicially whisked Nnamdi Kanu – leader of Indigenous People of Biafra – into Nigeria where, since then, he has remained in solitary confinement. What else best describes a terrorist state?
Both Amnesty International and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial, Arbitrary and Summary Killings or Executions have investigated and published their findings on the arbitrary killings of members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. Although the numbers and names of the defenseless citizens killed were under-represented, the reports did prove one thing: Biafrans are being arbitrarily killed. The investigators, not being on ground at the time of the actual killings, and susceptible to human error, excusably presented a statistics acutely below factuality and inconsistent with the realities on the ground.
Ok, the figures are way lower than actual statistics. But at least they are a proof that our outcry is not a hoax. We are being killed; we are being abducted, tortured and illegally detained. Our only crime is asking for freedom. But if freedom is a crime, then the entire humanity is guilty, for even Britain – one of the pioneer colonialists – demanded freedom from the EU.
The Biafran, battered and dripping blood, seeks referendum – the most civilized medium of settling disputes of political concern. As I type this, IPOB family members are being clandestinely assassinated by state sponsored vampires in military uniforms. Our appeal to all civilized society is to, taking into cognizance the savagery of the undemocratic state of Nigeria, weigh in on this matter. Let Biafra vote in a referendum to determine her fate as did Scotland in United Kingdom and United Kingdom in European Union. Freedom is legal anywhere on planet earth.
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