World Igbo Congress Warns Buhari Over Maltreating Of Igbos, Demands Nnamdi Kanu’s Release

The World Igbo Congress (WIC) urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the
Department of State Security (DSS) to immediately release Nnamdi Kanu,
leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

World Igbo Congress Warns Buhari Over Maltreating Of Igbos, Demands Nnamdi Kanu's Release

A press release by the Congress read:

The World Igbo Congress has read in various media with utter dismay,
the trumped up charges against Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous
People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is our
understanding that Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Abuja, October 16, 2015,
granted bail on October 19, and held extra-judicially by the DSS until
his arraignment on November 23, 2015. Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest has evoked
peaceful street protests and other forms of agitations by his followers
and supporters within Nigeria and her embassies, seeking his release.

The World Igbo Congress (WIC) unequivocally states the following:

1.  The Nigerian Armed Forces defeated the State of Biafra in a
30-month war that ended in January of 1970, with a surrender instrument
handed to Nigeria by General Philip Effiong on behalf of Biafra. In a
spirit of re-integration, Nigeria committed to the “No Victor, No
Vanquished” declaration by Yakubu Gowon. The State of Biafra
subsequently collapsed. The Igbo establishment returned to Nigeria,
fully committed to “One Nigeria”, bringing with them all Igbo human and
material resources needed to make Nigeria a paradise for all Nigerians.

2.  Biafra lives in the mind of every Igbo worldwide, and in the
memory of every Nigerian. These are indisputable facts. The Nigerian
State has the responsibility to contain and restrain Biafra in this
virtual space, and this can only be sustained when every Nigerian is
guaranteed equal human, social and economic right in the Nigerian State.

3.  The Nigerian government must recognize in words and by action
that the war ended over 45 years ago. The Continued repression and
obvious third class treatment of the Igbo and her region, completely at
variance with the Gowon’s promise of “No Victor, No Vanquished” triggers
the street agitation for Biafra. Nigeria has more than collected her
pound of flesh on the Igbo even as the Igbo was forced to defend herself
in a gruesome act of genocide against her. (See Emir of Kano, Sanusi
Lamido’s narrative of the chilling, repulsive grinding of the Igbo by
the Generals of the Nigerian Army who took over the administration of
Nigeria post war, and his admonishment that Nigeria will have itself to
blame if it continues to visit vengeance on the Igbo indefinitely). Has
the chicken come home to roost?

4.  There is no Nigerian ethnic group more Nigerian than the Igbo. It
is the Igbo’s total commitment to One Nigeria that explains his
voluntary presence in every nook and corner of Nigeria, contributing his
hard work to the development of the remotest Nigerian villages. There
is hardly any presence of other Nigerian ethnic groups in the present
Southeast and South-south of Nigeria, even as these zones provide the
entire nation with its economic lifeline. The Igbo sacrificed
self-interests unlike other colonized Nigerians in the struggle for
Nigeria’s independence, even as he understood that the British Colonial
Master would fight him till the end of time. He has been persistently,
brutally hunted and hounded without cause, and now for what appears to
be sports in competitive massacre of the Igbo in the communities in the
North of Nigeria where he resides and provides services to sustain
communities. (See attached diary of Igbo massacre in Northern Nigeria
since 1945). It is instructive to note that to date not a single culprit
in these massacres spanning over 70 years has been convicted for mass
or individual murder of fellow Nigerians who are Igbo. In 2014, a
seating governor of Lagos state “deported” Igbo destitute to Anambra
state, in violation of the 1999 constitution, and in mockery of the “One
Nigeria” mantra. In 2007, 2011 and 2014, Candidate Muhammadu Buhari for
President and some of his supporters from the North of Nigeria
threatened to make Nigeria ungovernable if a Northern candidate did not
win the presidential elections. This posture is very revealing and makes
caricature of “One Nigeria”. Compare this with President Goodluck’s
statesmanship in conceding an election victory to now President
Muhammadu Buhari, even when there were solid grounds to seek a
cancellation of that election. Jonathan’s statesmanship here was not an
act of cowardice, but a show of commitment to “One Nigeria”. Let us be
serious here. Dependence on Arms, Arrogance and bravado show of military
might and intimidation will never secure “One Nigeria” for all
Nigerians, but will certainly continue to evoke disintegration
sentiments among the ethnic groups. The Yoruba Kingdom has been openly
calling for Oduduwa nation; MEND has not yet seen cause to collapse
their struggle for equitable justice for the Niger Delta; the minorities
of Benue and Plateau states seem to be permanently under siege by the
Islamic hardliners who burn churches and community settlements in the
area and then occupy them. A seating governor of Benue State was
confronted by Islamists armed with sophisticated rifles, and narrowly
escaped assassination. There is no known attempt by the federal
Government of Nigeria to take action that effectively deters the repeat
of these barbaric incidents. These are extremely worrisome developments
that need to be resolved at a table, and not by Gestapo style

5. The name “Biafra” was not constructed in 1967 by secessionist
agitators. That name had existed for the area before the 1914
amalgamation of the 300 plus ethnic nations in the area. That name
actually existed for the area before the 1885 Berlin conference that
assigned the area to Britain during the partitioning of or was it
“scramble for” Africa. It exists in the Portuguese map drawn on their
arrival in the 14th century. No one should use the name Biafra as an
excuse for a mental block to a reasonable dialogue for restoration of
peace pursuant to the “One Nigeria” objective. It is understandable that
“Biafra” invokes distasteful memories among the Generals who prosecuted
the war on the Nigerian side.
The way to bury the haunting spirit of
Biafra, though, is to cure the hateful suppression of the Igbo and her
territory and restore her sense of belonging within Nigeria.

6.  It is somewhat complicated that Nigeria would not let Biafra be,
and would not value her enough either, by making right most of the wrong
done to her persistently without let. How do you keep whipping a child
and at the same time not allowing the child to cry? World Igbo Congress
(WIC) does not support any group (MEND, ODUDUWA, MOSOP, IPOB, MASSOB,
LNC etc) to take up arms against the sovereign state of Nigeria in
pursuit of self-determination. World Igbo Congress will not also support
any violent agitation for self-determination by any group. To the best
of our knowledge, Nnamdi Kanu and his supporters have so far toed a
peaceful path as they seek self-determination. It is their inalienable
right that should be respected even by the Buhari administration. The
United Nations has guaranteed all indigenous groups worldwide the right
to self-determination (See A/RES/61/295). Nigeria is a member of the
United Nations and although it abstained from the adoption vote, it is
bound by its provisions since the majority of the 143 members voted in
favor, 4 voted against and 11 (including Nigeria) abstained. The act of
abstinence is by itself a betrayal of the trust Nigerians have on their
leaders. Nevertheless, Nigeria is bound to honor it, to avoid
undermining her own status with the UN. There is a UN procedure to deal
with Nnamdi Kalu and those who seek similar interests as IPOB. The UN
supervised a Referendum recently for the Scotts as they sought autonomy
from Britain. The Buhari Administration should emulate her ally,
Cameron, the Prime Minister of Britain on his democratic wisdom of
allowing the referendum in Scotland. It will be a wise move for Buhari.
Using the DSS to shut down democratic essentials will always breed
unrest among the constituencies that make up Nigeria. We emphasize our
support for Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB as long as they seek a peaceful
dialogue with the Buhari administration for their self-determination.

7. WIC observes that the meeting held in Enugu on Nov. 23, 2015 by
the Southeast governors to discuss the IPOB issue was not properly
organized if it is true that Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo, Igbo representatives at
the National Assembly, various Igbo professional bodies, other numerous
stake holders, and most importantly, the IPOB leadership were not
properly invited to the meeting. This is poor judgment by the Governors,
and ties into their track record of lack of regard for their
constituents. It has also earned them the lack of trust by the grass
roots. This show of arrogance has already invalidated the outcome of any
meeting with the Buhari administration. After all, these were the same
governors who did not utter a word when Gov. Fashola “deported” the Igbo
“destitute” to Anambra State, or when the Nigerian Police and Army shot
to death more than 80 members of MASSOB who were in a peaceful, orderly
meeting somewhere in Anambra State, and whose dead bodies floated on
Ezu River for weeks. The Nnamdi Kalu issue is a serious issue and should
be treated with more seriousness, and far from personal, political
interests. Ohaneze should actually show some leadership and invite
stakeholders, including the governors to the table. The governors do not
control the grass root Igbo, who see them as tin gods who have
compounded their misery in Nigeria due to recognizable evidence of
excessive wealth acquisition at the expense of the masses.

8.  Finally, WIC calls on President Buhari and DSS to:

a. Unconditionally release Nnamdi Kanu
without further delay unless there are grievous charges other than the
trumped up charges under which he is being held.
b. Set in motion the
machinery for a true “3-Rs” (Rehabilitation, Reconciliation and
Reconstruction) so as to demonstrate a genuine desire on the part of the
Nigerian government and the rest of the federation to promote the
process of re-integration of the Igbo into Nigeria 45 years after the
end of hostilities.
c. Immediately set up a high-powered
reconciliation commission to address the issues that precipitate the
incessant eruption of agitations for self-determination
d. Bring to
the table the outcome of the constitutional conference initiated and
conducted by the last administration as a means of opening up dialogue
on how to legitimize the terms of association of the federating units of
the federal republic of Nigeria.

Chigozie Onwukwe (Public Relations Officer)
Joe Nze Etoh  (Chairman)