Opinion: FIFTY-TWO YEARS LATER OUR TEARS STILL OVERFLOWS

Authored By Chima Onyekachi

<SUNBIGHT>~Opinion~Nkwo~1st June,2022 @ 20:44 WAT

THIS is the year 2022 and the 30th day of May, a significant day in the lives of the people of Biafra.

From the year 1967-1970, the people of the old eastern region herein called Indigenous Biafrans were battered, starved and killed in a genocide perpetrated by the Nigerian State in collaboration with Russia, Egypt, Britain and the Arab League of Nations.

The supposed crime of these Indigenous Biafrans is the exercise of their right to self-governance or simply state the right to self-determination.

According to recognised citation as thus “If the government is quite unrepresentative and oppressive, the International community may recognize secession and independence as a legitimate claim” [Magnarella, 2001-2002,P.447]

The right to Self-determination as stated by the Human Rights Committee interpretes Art.27 of the International Covenant On Civil & Political Rights [ICCPR] as protecting the right of indigenous peoples to preservation of their livelihood, culture, language, traditional activities necessary for their survival and their customs.

Also, Art. 5 of United Nations Declaration clearly stated that “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the state.”

The Biafran Genocide ended with the mantra of “No Victor, No Vanquished” but the reality is that Indigenous Biafrans have been vanquished to become second-class citizens in the affairs of the Nigerian State without any tangible infrastructure or development.

My interest is not the classification of people whom are Indigenous Biafrans but the continuous efforts to subjugate us in the exercise of our right to self-determination as recognized by international laws and conventions.

In a civilised society in which the Nigerian State is far from becoming, the best step should have been the call for a referendum for Indigenous Biafrans, fifty-two years after the butchering.

Rather, civil demonstration requesting the right to self-determination for Indigenous Biafrans are been quelled by shooting of live bullets, beatings, arrest, trials and also extrajudicial killings.

The Nigerian State has refused to understand that an Ideology can never be defeated by violence but through dialogue.

Fifty-two years later, ị weep as the young ones who never experienced the war or taught the history of the genocide against their people are violated and even killed because they seek the right to self-determination.

It is rather callous that numerous prisoners of conscience are languishing in prisons without trials or fair civil hearings because they demanded for the right to self-determination in a civil manner which is not a criminal act.

I weep for my ethnic region which is described by the UN as the most peaceful in the Nigerian State but has turned into a hub of extrajudicial killings and violence because the Muhammadu Buhari led government decided to be archaic by choosing violence instead of dialogue.

The Nigerian Presidency prefers to offer amnesty to the dreaded BokoHaram and Fulani Herdsmen terrorists sects than to dialogue with Indigenous Biafrans whom engages solely in civil demonstrations.■

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