The Secretary General,
United Nations Organization,
New York, USA
Seeking Action against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for Inciting and Carrying Out Acts of Hate, Aggression and Terror Against Northerners and the Nigerian State
The Coalition of Northern Groups which petitioned you earlier this year on the likely dangers of the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is addressing you once again on the ensuing situation in our country Nigeria.
In our earlier petition, we highlighted the conceivable implications of the uttered threats and practical steps being taken by IPOB as follows:
- That IPOB, mainly based in the five Southeast of Nigeria had continued to incite and ferment hate and threat of violence against other ethnicities, especially those of Northern Nigeria, causing anguish and fear among people and families.
- That the scariest threats include the establishment of the IPOB secret service and the message to Nigeria of developing missiles to attack other parts of the country.
- That IPOB’s statements, rallies, and threats were no mere rhetoric, but words that were meant to be followed by actions capable of having dare consequences on innocent Nigerians.
- That especially targeted in those bizarre calls for anarchy and genocide were the people of Northern Nigeria.
- That IPOB’s threat to truncate elections scheduled to come up November in Anambra state is also not a rhetorical statement and we are deeply concerned about the danger that this poses to our democracy. Ref: https://newtelegraphonline.com/2017/07/arewa-youths-petition-un-biafra-agitation/
- That IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu’s constant hate speech and call for his violent secessionist agenda to be supported by Igbo people leaving in the U.K, the USA and Canada were alarming. Ref:
- That the world should not Kanu’s call on his tribal members in the Diaspora for arms in order to wage war against Nigeria. Ref:
- That Nnamdi Kanu had followed up his threats with upon calls on his IPOB members to wage war and make Nigerian akin to that of Somalia. Ref:
- That claiming to be an indigenous tribe and referring to the North as people from ‘Futa Jallon’, the IPOB had assumed an aura of violent exceptionalism and hate for other tribes of Nigeria. Ref: https://www.naij.com/1123234-igbos-oyo-state-kick-nnamdi-kanu-calling-yoruba-fools.html#1123234
- That the silence at that time of Southeast leaders to Nnamdi Kanu’s calls to violence as well as the express endorsement of his actions by some Igbo political leaders such as Ike Ekweremadu who is a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ben Nwabueze and Alex Ekwueme who is a former Vice President was scary. Ref: https://www.lindaikejisblog.com/2017/9/nothing-is-more-shocking-than-the-fact-that-igbo-leaders-are-all-silent-on-biafra.html
- That in the last four years, Nnamdi Kanu, under the aegis of his IPOB movement has used platforms in the UK, the USA and Canada to broadcast messages of hate and espoused the willingness and readiness of his followers in Nigeria to unleash violence against other tribes and ethnic groups, especially those of the northern part of the country. Ref: https://youtu.be/XI95DOvNb8Y. These messages of hate and genocide are aberrations that the international community will ordinarily not condone.
As if to confirm our fears, IPOB intensified its violent rallies and threats in the last four months sending panic and uncertainty across the country. Beyond threats to annihilate other Nigerian tribes, IPOB also attempted to colonize other neighboring ethnic groups by including them in their proposed Biafra. The Niger Delta region of the South-South was particularly targeted in this agenda, to the extent that they had to openly dissociate themselves from IPOB and its agenda. Ref: http://saharareporters.com/2017/08/14/ijaw-youth-council-dissociates-itself-biafra-agitators
Furthermore, IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu who is currently on bail from a Court of Law has breached his foremost bail condition that disallows him from holding IPOB rallies. Ref:
Not only that, he has backed his breach of the law with an outright call on his followers to unleash violence ‘burn the country’ if he is ever arrested. Ref: https://www.naij.com/1122293-nnamdi-kanu-reacts-federal-governments-call-rearrest-ipob-fight-back.html#1122293
Then IPOB made good its threats with the recent widely publicized killings of over 45 Northerners in the Southeast; the killing of the police, burning of residences, businesses and places of worship. Ref: http://dailypost.ng/2017/09/12/biafra-ipob-members-allegedly-attack-hausa-community-oyigbo-rivers/
In another coordinated manhunt, IPOB members were seen violently patrolling the streets and stopping commuters to ask if there is any person from the North. Ref: http://dailypost.ng/2017/09/14/biafra-panic-armed-ipob-members-search-buses-hausas-video/
As amply shown above, IPOB has used its terror network to kill several people in a well planned genocide against other Nigerians, especially the people of the North.
This sad event of 12th September 2017 has thus vindicated our position that IPOB is no less than any terror group in the world. It has also vindicated our previous warning that IPOB will, beyond doubt, target innocent Nigerians and will unleash violence and death upon them for the simple reason that they belong to a different ethnic group.
Despite this provocation, the North did not relent in issuing wide press statements and travelling the different corners of the North to urge people to remain calm and avoid retaliation on the millions of Igbos living in the region. Ref: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/09/14/northern-group-kicks-against-reprisal-over-ipob-activities-in-seast/
Thus the North continues to accommodate Kanu’s kinsmen and other nationalities and has given them the space, opportunity and the peace to live and do business.
From Kano to Sokoto, Kaduna to Yola, Kanu’s kinsmen continued to keep and expand their trades and businesses in all parts of the north.
On the contrary, people of the North could only run small businesses and do menial jobs in the Southeast. The level of hate and uncertainty has, since independence not allowed for a favorable atmosphere in the Southeast for any other ethnic nationality to flourish in commerce, education or any other enterprise.
Despite all these, Kanu has continued to incite his followers to violence against other Nigerian ethnicities and to prepare them for war against the Nigerian state using distorted versions of the right to self-determination and false claims of marginalization.
- ON SELF-DETERMINATION
The most convenient argument adduced by IPOB is the question of self-determination, which they claim to be clamoring for. As contained in our previous letter, our position is that people reserve the right to seek self-determination without resorting to violence or infringing on the rights of others. This democratic value is well within the premise of the things we have never and shall never reject.
Yet, it is important to put the records clear that contrary to IPOB’s brand of self-determination bid premised on falsehood and deceit, a great deal of legal, political and administrative mechanisms have been put in place by successive Nigerian administrations to sufficiently deal with the legitimate interests of the different components of the country.
In the spirit of bringing government and governance close to all people, this country has moved from a nine-state structure to 36 states and raised the number of local governments to 774 today.
These were efforts made to ensure that both states and local governments receive and manage resources channeled to them in the best interest of their people with regards to healthcare, primary education, land tenure, urban and rural water, sanitation etc. Likewise, State governors are chief security officers of their respective states working side by side with the state legislature and the state judiciary to make laws and maintain order.
- FALSE CLAIMS OF MARGINALIZATION
- Independence to Post-War Years
Despite its cynical attitude towards other Nigerians and the more than a fair share of economic and political advantage enjoyed by its kinsmen, IPOB and continue to deceive the Southeast public with a false cry of marginalization. To understand the fallacy of this claim we refer to events in history and what is currently prevailing.
Following the Nigerian independence in 1960, an Igbo emerged as the President General of the country in person of Nnamdi Azikiwe while a Northerner; Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa emerged as the prime minister. This arrangement was seen as the beginning of a new united and independent Nigeria. A system of collective governance that ushered in a new hope for the future, with the likes of Orizo, another Igbo, holding the key position of first Leader and Speaker of the then Parliament.
Six years into this transition, Major Nzeogwu, an Igbo army officer led his kinsmen in the army to scuttle this first democratic government through a bloody coup in which key political military leaders of other regions were killed. This singular event culminated in the Nigerian civil war of 1969 instigated by Major Odumegwu Ojukwu, an Igbo.
Despite all these, Nigeria was able to assimilate the Igbo nation back into the Nigerian entity after the civil war faster than most nations that go through civil war.
In the western and northern parts of Nigeria, the properties of Igbos who left to join Biafra were kept intact and later returned to them.
Similarly, Igbo soldiers and civil servants who were in the service of the Federal government before the war were re-absorbed and those due for pension received it. Even Ojukwu who led the rebellion applied for and received pension as a Lieutenant Colonel the rank he held in the Nigerian Army before the war.
In most countries that had experienced civil war, the vanquished are always oppressed and marginalized for many years after. Usually, these people don’t enjoy the privileges of equal citizenship for decades after the civil war. Even most of the countries that we look up to as epitomes of democracy today, things did not go smoothly with them after their civil war.
But immediately after the civil war in 1970, the Federal Government of Nigeria forgave the Igbo leadership and re-integrated them into a united Nigeria. In the words of the then Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon, there was ‘no victor, no vanquished’ meaning Nigeria would not treat the Igbo as defeated enemy, but as brothers and sisters.
Just 10 years after, Nigeria did what had hardly been recorded in the history of civil wars in the world by forgiving the initiator of the civil war itself, and granting him political pardon, so that he even contested for Nigeria’s presidency. Again, 10 years after the civil war, an Igbo man, Dr. Alex Ekwueme became the second most powerful person in Nigeria in the Shehu Shagari administration.
1979 to 2015
- From 1979 to 1983 when civilians ruled Nigeria, the Vice President was Alex Ekwueme and the Speaker of the House of Representatives was Edwin Ume Ezeoke.
- During the military rule of Ibrahim Babangida from 1985 to 1993 Ohanaeze Ndigbo was so pleased with him that he was honoured with Igbo traditional title of ‘Ogugua Ndigbo’ meaning ‘the Comforter of Igbo People.’ It is noteworthy that Babangida’s Minister of Finance and National Development was Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.
- In the eight years of Obasanjo’s Presidency, Igbo played the following prominent roles: a. After the exit of Theophilous Danjuma as Minister of Defence in 2004, Obasanjo appointed Thomas I. Aguiyi Ironsi as Minister of Defence.
- Between 1999 and 2007, there were not less than four Igbo Senate Presidents: Evan(s) Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo, Adolphus Wabara and Anyim Pius Anyim.
- While Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was Obasanjo’s Minister of Finance, Charles Chukwuma Soludo was Governor of Central Bank and Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke was Director General of Nigerian Security Exchange Commission. Special Adviser to Obasanjo on Political Matters was Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Thus up to 29 May 2015, the only position in Nigeria a person of the Igbo ethnic group did not occupy since the return of civilian rule in 1999 is just the Presidency. In the last four years of the government of Goodluck Jonathan, persons of Igbo ethnic group featured prominently in very strategic positions. Here follows some examples:
- Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was Anyim Pius Anyim
- Chief Economic Adviser to President Jonathan was Professor Nwanze Okeidigbe
- Director Budget Office of the Federation was Bright Okogwu
- Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement was Emeka Eze
- Director General Bureau of Public Enterprise was Benjamin Ezra Dikki
- Director General, Security Exchange Commission was Arunma Oteh
- Director General Nigerian Security Exchange was Oscar Onyema
- Managing Director AMCON was Chike Obi
- Governor of Central Bank after Sanusi was removed was Godwin Emefiele
- Managing Director of Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund was Uche Orji
- Director General, Housing Fund was Sunday Iroha
- Managing Director, Bank of Industry was Evelyn Oputa
- Director General of PENCOM was Chinelu Onuoha
- Director General, Debt Management Office was Dr. Abraham Nwankwo
- Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for Economy was Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
- Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Finance was Anastasia Nwokobia
- Professor Bert Nnaji was removed as Minister of Power and replaced with Professor Chinedu Ostadinma Ndubuisi Nebo
- Minister of Health was Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu
- Minister of Labour and Productivity was Emeka Wogu
- Ashiru was removed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2013, and replaced by Viola Onwuleri
- Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations and up till date is Professor Mrs. Joy Ogwu
- Stella Adaeze Oduah was removed as Minister of Aviation in 2013; and replaced with Osita Chidoka.
These gestures of inclusiveness and tolerance have been exhibited in all affairs of the Nigerian state both during the military regime and successive democratic government. It is important to state here that despite the difference in population and land mass in which North has more than 600,000 sqr kilometers while the entire southern states have less than 250,000 square kilometers with the North having more population that the South, states were created in almost equal share with the Northern Nigeria having 19 States and Southern Nigeria 17.
The five states in the Southeast from where all the hate speeches and cries for marginalization come, is less in land mass than a single state in the North e.g., Niger State of North central Nigeria.
2015 to DATE
In the current administration, the Southeast has maintained a fair share of representation in the Federal executive Council, Nigerian Civil Service and government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). These include the Ministers of Petroleum, the Governor of Central Bank and the Minister of Labour.
Available data from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics shows that the five states of the Southeast have more representation in the Nigerian Civil Service and MDAs than any other region of the country. This essentially suggests that they have taken more than their fair share in terms of the standard framework laid down in Nigeria fair representation of all tribes in ederal civil service. Ref:
This is also the case with our diplomatic missions where the Southeast holds major diplomatic offices such as Ambassadors in Lisbon, Brussels, Madrid, Vienna, Washington etc.
In the current Nigerian parliament, the South East region failed to produce a single person from the ruling party as a representative. Yet, in the interest of national harmony, an unprecedented resolution was made to make an Igbo, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu from the opposition as Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President.
It is also evident that the Igbo people are adequately and fairly represented in the security circle of the country. This is so because the recruitment to these institutions is done according to states and each state is given a fair number of recruits to be admitted into the army, navy, air force and police. It is also clear that the Igbos have their fair representation among the nations’ service chiefs and brigade commands of the Nigerian armed forces. This is also the case with the top ranks of the Nigerian Police, the State Security Service, and other Para military outfits.
The following official statistics would sufficiently put to rest the age-old cry of marginalization by the Igbo as well as put the records straight.
- The population spread in Nigeria between North and South since 1952 are:
1952 Census, 54.55% North to 45.45% South
1962 Census, 56.77% North to 43.23% South
1963 Census, 53.51% North to 46.49% South
1973 Census, 64.99% North to 35.01% South
1991 Census, 51.85% North to 48.15% South
2006 Census, 53.59% North to 46.41% South
There is a striking similarity between 1963 and 2006 figures. Important also is that the 1963 count was conducted when Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was President of Nigeria and Nwanfor Orizu, another Igbo, President of the Senate. They could not have cheated themselves so; it’s safe to adopt the 2006 figures conducted when a Southerner was president.
- The 2006 Figures have this distribution:
NW with a population of 35.8m=25.6%
SW with a population of 27.6m=19.7%
SS with a population of 21.0m =15.0%
NC with a population of 20.3m=14.5%
NE with a population of 19.0m =13.6%
SE with a population of 16.4m=11.7%
- MEMBERSHIP OF PARLIAMENT
NW has 92 Reps which are 25.6%. Compared 25.6%
SW has 71Reps which are 19.7%. Compared with 19.7%
SS has 55 Reps which are 15.3%. Compared with 15. 0%
NC has 49 Reps which is13. 6%. Compared with 14.5%
NE has 48 Reps which are 13.3%. Compared with 13.6%
SE has 43 Reps which are 11.9%. Compared with 11.7%
Abuja has 2 Reps which are 0.6%
TOTAL 360 Reps
Note that if the 0.6% of Abuja is added to 13.6% above, we get 14.2%
- CONTRIBUTION TO ECONOMY
1st. Akwa Ibom – 504,000 barrels per day
2nd. Delta – 346,000 bpd
3rd. Rivers – 344,000 bpd
4th. Bayelsa – 290,000 bpd
5th. Ondo – 60,000 bpd
6th. Lagos – 40,000 bpd
7th. Edo – 33,000 bpd
8th. Imo – 17, 000 bpd
9th. Abia – 11,000 bpd
From the list above, West Produces 100,000 bpd and there are only two oil producing states in South east; Abia which currently produces 11,000bpd and Imo State which produces 17,000bpd making a total of 28,000bpd while Akwa Ibom alone produces 504,000bpd in a total of 1,580,000bpd. The Igbo contribution is therefore a paltry 1.75%.
- Electricity and food
The North produces all the Electricity Power in Kainji, Jebba, and Egbin etc. as well as all the Yams, Beans, rice meat consumed in the country.
- INTERNAL REVENUE GENERATION
Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics for the year June 2015 to May 2016 reads as follows:
SW generated N392.4b
SS generated N185.2b
NW generated N 72.3b
SE generated N 57.2b
NC generated N 50.7b
NE generated N 27.0b
- REVENUE ALLOCATIONS
Using 2016 First Quarter Allocation to States
SS got N113.9b
NW got N67.64b
SW got N49.86b
NE got N47.02b
NC got N45.45b
SE got N40.46b
These translate to:
SS: N5, 423/capital
NE: N2, 475/capital
SE: N2, 467/capital
NC: N2, 238/ capital
NW: N1, 889/ capital
SW: N1, 806/capital
You can see that while SE is the third lowest in revenue generation it is the third highest in revenue consumption. Note that in spite of these, by their itinerant nature, they consume not less than 10% of revenues allocated to other states.
- POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS
We all have the statistics of political appointees of the current Buhari administration.
NW has 51political appointees from 7 states
NC has 47 political appointees from 6 states
NE has 45 political appointees from 6 states
SW has 45 political appointees from 6 states
SS has 45 political appointees from 6 States
SE has 41 political appointees from 5 states
These translate to
1st. SE: 2.50 appointees in a million.
2nd. NE: 2.37 appointees in a million.
3rd. NC: 2.34 appointees in a million.
4th. SS: 2.14 appointees in a million.
5th. SW: 1.63 appointees in a million.
6th. NW: 1.42 appointees in a million.
SE is highest, the President’s zone is lowest and the Vice President’s zone is second lowest.
In conclusion we wish to stress the need for the United Nations to consider the above stated facts and urgently proscribe the activities of IPOB all around the world and appropriately label it a terrorist organization.
We base this call on the universally accepted definition of terrorism which include, the targeting of civilians with violence based on the pursuit of political aims, religious, or ideological change that
is often committed by non-state actors or undercover personnel serving on behalf of their respective governments; or a crime that is mala prohibita (i.e. crime that is made illegal by legislation) and mala in se (i.e. crime that is inherently immoral or wrong).
We submit therefore that IPOB by its violent utterances and action against other Nigerian tribes in pursuit of political aims and targeting people based on their ethnicity and religion in ways that are clearly prohibited relevant Nigerian legislations and international laws adequately qualifies it as a terror outfit.
We also call on the UN to support the Nigerian State’s recent application of the constitutional tools and other legal avenues under the Terrorism Act backed by a ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction to proscribe IPOB and declare its activities as acts of terrorism. Ref: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/09/breaking-court-proscribes-ipob-designates-terrorists-organisation/
The call for international intervention to strengthen the effort of the Nigerian government is necessary because IPOB will likely resume to the Diaspora of Europe and America to continue inciting for violence and genocide like it did for the past four years.
We finally call on the UN to impress on Nigeria’s international partners, particularly, the UK, USA and Canada to forbid their territories from being used by a terror group as platforms to incite and instigate war in Nigeria.
Similarly, they should monitor and control the activities of IPOB sympathizers currently resident across Europe and the US who are spewing speeches of hate and xenophobia via the social media and other means. In this regard, the European Union (EU) Framework on hate speech is clear to the extent that the Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia criminalizes the public incitement to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. Hate speech as defined in this Framework Decision is a criminal offense also when it occurs in the online world. Hence, we expect that this applies not on IPOB sympathizers and sponsors in the Diaspora as well.
We also call on the UN to declare Kanu and other notorious IPOB leaders wanted by initiating necessary procedures for their arrest and appropriate prosecution in consistence with relevant international criminal laws.