“What the country needs now is to ensure every citizens equal right, justice, fairness and opportunity to compete as a Nigerian. At this stage of our national life, the country needs better leadership, better and sincere negotiation across board-If possible, town hall to town meetings, recommendations and national cohesion. We do not need to seek for a referendum but if need be-so be it, as the country cannot continuing to be trapped in multiple cemeteries , blood shell and violence. The government should seek better proactive measures to end the unending killings in the country and agitations. Inflammatory statements from all parties, should also be stopped while the Media must play its role exceptionally by remaining the mirror of the society it serves.
–News/Comments, October 27, 2021,
EDITORIAL-The direction towards Nigeria’s swinging pendulum remains uncertain as North and Eastern Nigeria continue in word of war over Biafra agitation to secede. This is even as various groups and eminent Nigerians have advised President Muhammadu Buhari to embrace dialogue with the secessionist, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), whose leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been held with seven count charges amended. Kanu was extradited from Kenya on June 29 in a controversial manner which according to international practice violates human rights. This has crippled the South East economy with the sit-at-home order from IPOB, warning prospective indigenes to either obey the order or face the consequences. So far, there have been 100% compliance. The region is now been governed by both IPOB and the helpless state governments whose orders to the citizens have no effect.
Recently Vanguard had reported, that a Northern association known as, Coalition of Northern Groups, (CNG) filed a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja asking to stop the National Assembly from taking any further action towards reviewing the 1999 Constitution unless the question of Nigeria’s unity, particularly the Biafra agitation was settled through a referendum.
CNG was also quoted in that publication that, their document filed in Court which marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021 was dispatched for service to the offices of the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Attorney-General of the Federation last week Thursday. A source, who pleaded anonymity in the quest of this, had noted that the leadership of the National Assembly is considering having a talk whether the federal legislators can set a motion for the inclusion of a possible framework for a referendum to allow the Southeastern States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decide on their bid for self-determination.
Continuing also, CNG had also tackled the National Assembly as to matter of fact to start the process of invoking a doctrine of necessity that will give rise for a referendum, citing however that, self-determination is an obligation and a fundamental right in the African charter.
In the suit filed by Nastura Ashir Shariff, Balarabe Rufa’I, Abdul-Aziz Sulaiman and Aminu Adam on behalf of the Group, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/538/2021 on behalf of CNG, it cited section 4 (36) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to support its demand. Other request in the suit include, that the court should determine whether the Senate President and the Speaker of House of Representatives, have the power to call for a joint session of both Houses of the National Assembly to deliberate on the agitation for self-determination by the Southeastern States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Others are: “a declaration that by the combined effect of the provisions of Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and Articles 1, 2, and 20(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act 2004, the National Assembly is empowered to set in motion a framework for a referendum to allow the Southeastern States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to decide on their bid for self-determination.
In the heat of this, news of the Association of Igbo lawyers emerged in a bid to be made as part of the suit initiated by CNG and also approached same Federal High Court in Abuja with an application, for their exit from the country. Some analysts have described this attempt as dangerous, even as efforts are been made by concerned Nigerians to persuade President Buhari to see the need for constructive dialogue with IPOB and other aggrieved regions.
The Association in their request swondered why Igbo lawyers are not made as part of the suit, thereby seek for inclusion. Its statement read: “An order directing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to provide a framework that will pave the way for the self-determination of the South-eastern states so as to leave the geographical entity called Nigeria before any further step is taken to further amend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Even before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, there was a group at the south-eastern part of Nigeria known as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of one, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike. The main objective of the group mentioned in the immediately preceding paragraph is also the creation of the Independent State of Biafra, away from the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
“Long before the emergence of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, there was a move by the people of the south-eastern part of Nigeria formerly Eastern Region led by the late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
“The secession attempt by the people of the then Eastern Region under the leadership of the late Col. Ojukwu was directly responsible for the first Nigerian Civil War between 1967 and 1970. The said civil war had claimed many innocent lives from both sides of the divide as well as the destruction of properties worth billions of naira which was detrimental to the growth and development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”
“The lessons of the civil war have faded in the minds of many Nigerians and a repeat of the carnage of the civil war is not necessary, going forward. The IPOB’s agitation for self-determination has turned violent against both the people of the south-east who are against their agitations and other Nigerians carrying out their lawful businesses within the south-eastern states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “The IPOB through its militant arm — Eastern Security Network, ESN, is responsible for the killings, expulsions and destruction of properties of other Nigerians not belonging to the Igbo tribe. Resolving, with finality, the existential question of self-determination of any part of Nigeria is now more urgent, imperative and prevails over and above the issue of amending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
If truly, we want a united Nigeria, it must be inclusive Nigeria, it must be renegotiated with a model federal system where regions can control their wealth and make the centre a loose federating unit. For now, Nigeria is better off together. What the country needs now is to ensure every citizens equal right, justice, fairness and opportunity to compete as a Nigerian. At this stage of our national life, the country needs better leadership, better and sincere negotiation across board-If possible, town hall to town meetings, recommendations and national cohesion. We do not need to seek for a referendum but if need be-so be it, as the country cannot continuing to be trapped in multiple cemeteries , blood shell and violence. The government should seek better proactive measures to end the unending killings in the country and agitations. Inflammatory statements from all parties, should also be stopped while the Media must play its role exceptionally by remaining the mirror of the society it serves. This is the time for a total reflection and re-construction of our mind, body and soul. Nigeria is better off if we are together in fairness.
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