Indigenous People of Biafra have existed for thousands of years but their name was not brought into national consciousness.Barr Emeka Emekesri defined Indigenous People of Biafra in court as the remnants that were not consumed in the war between Nigeria and Biafra, and quoted the scriptures that the remnants that escaped shall yet take root downward and bear fruits upward, Isaiah 37:31. He advocated for the use of Customary Law to organize and govern the Indigenous People of Biafra based on the provisions of
the Nigerian Constitution so that we would not commit the offence of treason or
treasonable felony.

In the Phase 2 of the Biafran Project,The Team Leader emphasizes discipline, orderliness, decorum and accountability. The Indigenous People of Biafra do not permit any person to insult and abuse their Elders. We are restoring our traditional values. It is an abomination under our Customary Law for a child to abuse and insult his elders.

Why the case was commenced in the Federal High Court Owerri

Many Biafrans have questioned why the case was instituted in Nigeria instead of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague as they do not believe that we shall receive justice in the Nigerian Courts. It is necessary for us to explain the rule of law for human rights litigation for the independence of a people since most of the Biafrans asking these questions have no knowledge of the law. In human rights litigation for the independence of a people, the law requires the people to confront the government face to face in the same jurisdiction from where they seek to be free. If they do not obtain justice, then they have the right to appeal to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) known as the World Court. In our situation, it means that the Biafrans must confront Nigerian Government face to face within the Nigerian jurisdiction. The principle was established in the Bible where Moses and the Elders of Israel confronted Pharaoh the Government of Egypt face to face in Egypt. When Pharaoh hardened his heart, they appealed to the Higher Power. There are three ways to confront the Government face to face within Nigeria, namely:

(a) Military Method: By taking up arms and ammunition against Nigeria in battle;

(b) Legislative Method: By presenting a Bill in the National Assembly for
Independence of the Biafrans and passing the Bill into law granting
Independence to Biafra; or by presenting a Bill in the National Assembly for
a Referendum and passing the Bill into law granting the people the right to
vote whether to remain in Nigeria or not.
(c) Judicial & Diplomatic Method: By taking Nigeria to Court at both national
and international levels and using the Judicial Power to declare and enforce
the right of self-determination as guaranteed by the Nigerian law and
International laws to which Nigeria is a signatory.
We examined the three options thoroughly before embarking on this
Independence Struggle. The first option is the use of military power. Military
Method involves violence and destruction of lives and properties. The
International Community does not support war and violence anymore. It was
used in 1967 – 1970 when Biafra declared its independence and Nigeria
declared war against Biafra. It is necessary to emphasise that the Biafrans did
not declare war in 1967 but only declared their independence. It was Nigeria
that declared war against the Biafrans to force them back into Nigeria against
their will. The effect of that war has crippled both Nigeria and Biafra up to this
day. War is an ill-wind that blows no good to anyone. The Biafrans have
therefore rejected the option of war in the present dispensation.
The second option is the use of Legislative Power. This would have been very
easy if the Biafrans had enough representatives and enough seats in the
National Assembly. Oddly enough, when we prepared the Bill for
Independence or Referendum to be passed in the National Assembly, there was
no Biafran activist in the National Assembly to present the Bill and move the
Motion. I was informed that the people who started the Biafran Independence
Struggle about 17 years ago said that the Biafrans were not Nigerians and
therefore should not be involved in the Nigerian politics and census. They did
not know the difference between the Indigenous Identity of a people and their
Citizenship or Nationality. Worse still, the people of the South East have only 5
States with 15 senatorial seats while the other geopolitical zones have 6 and 7
States with 18 and 21 senatorial seats respectively. The votes of 15 senators
from the South East will not be enough to push through the Biafra Bill of
Independence or Bill of Referendum in the National Assembly assuming that
the Senators decided to become pro-Biafra activists. We have heard about some
Biafrans calling for a Referendum. It is a very good method of achieving
Independence but how shall we get the Bill of Referendum passed in the
National Assembly?
It appears that many people have not yet understood the extent of political
enslavement into which the Nigerian Government has put the Biafrans and their
neighbours. Let me explain it in simple terms: The National Assembly is made
up of the two Houses- The House of Representatives and the House of Senate.
There are six geopolitical zones in Nigeria- three zones in the North and three
zones in the South. Two zones in the South have 6 States each and one has 5
States being 17 States in the South. Two zones in the North have 6 States each
and one has 7 States being 19 States in the North. Every State has three
senatorial seats. Therefore the South will produce 51 senatorial seats while the
North will produce 57. Of all the members of the House of Representatives, 192
are from the North while 168 are from the entire South (South East, South-
South and South West combined). This means that in the National Assembly,
the North has 249 members while the whole South has 219 members.
Therefore, there is no way the South can push through any contentious Bill in
the National Assembly unless they can succeed in lobbying some members
from the North. How possible can the Bill of Referendum sail through? The
Scottish people had enough MPs in the House of Commons in England and
succeeded in passing the Bill of Referendum for Independence of Scotland,
even though they lost. Therefore we considered that the second option, though
very good, was not possible in the Biafran case even if all the senators and
lawmakers of the South East and South-South combined their votes in the
National Assembly. We do not discourage the group of Biafrans advocating for
a Referendum. It is possible that they have a secret to pass the Bill of
Referendum in the National Assembly. I must however advise that for a
Referendum to be binding on the Nigerian Government, it must satisfy the rule
of law that creates a social contract.

The third option is the use of Judicial Power and Diplomacy. It involves human
rights litigation and diplomatic negotiations both at national and international
levels. The Nigerian Law, Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990,
provides for the right of self-determination. The Nigerian Judiciary has the
power to enforce the law because it is Nigerian law. At the international level, it
was by judicial power that Nigeria was compelled by the International Court of
Justice (ICJ) to give up their claim over Bakassi. Today, the Bakassi Peninsula
is no longer a Nigerian territory but Cameroonian. Recently, when President
Mohammadu Buhari visited Cameroon and had a meeting with the Nigerians
living in Cameroon, the question was thrown to him as to the status of Bakassi.
He emphasised that Nigeria would abide by the ruling of the International Court
of Justice. In his own words, he said as follows: “Since Nigeria allowed the
case to go to Court (ICJ), and we lost, we have to abide by it”. The truth is that
nobody and no government is above the law.

 

To continue next week….

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