OPINION: Treasonable Felony For Self-determination in Nigeria

Authored By Chima Onyekachi

<SUNBIGHT>~Opinion~Orie~3rd June,2022 @ 11:56 WAT

I have reflected on my journey on the struggle for restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra, and the view is not of joy but of flames.

Today, during a ransack of my book catalogue, I stumbled on a gift presented to me seven years ago by the Rumuokwurusi Unit of IPOB – a book titled ‘In Biafra, Africa Died’.

Reminiscing, I was overcome with grief because the Nigerian State has never considered me a human being but a threat to be destroyed because I chant the song of freedom for Biafra.

The quest for the right to self-determination is seen and considered as illegal and whosever is arrested is charged with the criminal offence of treasonable felony by the Nigerian government.

The Biafran Genocide of 1967-70 is never seen as enough reason for the Nigerian State to have a civilised approach to pacify Indigenous Biafrans seeking the right to self-governance.

Rather extrajudicial violence and killings against Indigenous Biafran activists by the Nigerian security forces have led to the Nkpọr Massacre, Onitsha Head Bridge Massacre, Port-Harcourt Massacre, Ngwá High School Massacre and others

We are yet without armour but plainly raising the Biafra flag and yet targeted as a threat, what happens when we decide to acquire an armoury to exercise the right to self-defence?

The Indigenous right to self-determination is our right as Indigenous Biafrans to choose how we live our shared lives and structure our communities based on our norms, laws and culture. I will simply define it as the freedom and equal rights to control our destiny.

It is most disheartening that the Nigerian State has mistaken the right to control our destiny as an affront against the government, to be persecuted by the criminal charge of treasonable felony.

It is well-known that Indigenous Biafrans were peacefully inhabited in their ancestral lands before the British colonizers forcefully almagamated and later created the contraption named ‘Nigeria’.

This forced union with Indigenous Yorubas and Indigenous Arewa has never been beneficial but has concieved more vices than virtues for the inhabitants specifically targeted against Indigenous Biafrans.

Several pro-Biafra activists have been arbitrarily arrested and also unjustly put on trial for treasonable felony because they seek to exercise their right to self-determination.

It is to be noted that even with the farce trials by the Nigerian government, no Biafran activist has been convicted for treasonable felony.

The Nigerian State will rather instigate the case of treasonable felony against pro-Biafra activists without substantial evidence then continue to prolong the case with frivolous adjournments while remanding the accused in prison. The trials ọf  Mrs Onyekachi Orji, Benjamin Onwuka, Nnamdi Kanu and others is a case study.

The United Nations Declaration emphatically stated that Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination, in accordance with international law. By virtue of this right, they freely determine their relationship with the States in which they live, in a spirit of co-existence with other citizens, and freely pursue their economic, social, cultural and spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity.■

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