Igbo group calls for release of Radio Biafra director, Kanu
THE Igbo Ekunie Initiative (IEI), pan Igbo group, comprising Igbos at home and in the Diaspora has called on the Federal Government to release unconditionally the director of the Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, and all other detained activists. The group also urged government to put a stop to what it referred to as “the clampdown, maiming and killing of agitators.”
According to a statement endorsed by the president and secretary of the group respectively, Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke and Lawrence Nwobu, the arrest and incarceration of Kanu by the Department of State Security (DSS) is illegal and condemnable.
We demand his immediate release. We have, in the past few months and weeks of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, observed with great concern a strident campaign of repression and human rights violations as it concerns non-violent self determination activists exercising their fundamental rights to free speech and association. “We note that the arrest of Kanu signals an escalation of such human rights violations and repression for which the Buhari administration is becoming notorious for in a supposed democracy.
We observe that while the Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of speech and association, the right to self determination is an inalienable right of all peoples and or indigenous peoples by virtue of which they can freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development as enshrined in the founding Charter of the United Nations.
In addition, other international and regional instruments, including the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights of 1981, the Helsinki Final Act adopted by the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in 1975, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993, amongst others, have all adopted the fundamental right to self determination as an integral part of their statutes. “The international court of justice (ICJ) has likewise validated the right to self determination as guaranteed by international law in several judgments, including the Namibia case, the East Timor case and the Kosovo case in 2010,” they pointed out.
The group said it is strange and unacceptable that whereas the Nigerian state won independence from the British Colonial Government in the first instance on the basis of the right to self determination such that Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and other self determination agitators were never arrested by the British Colonial authorities in the course of advocating self rule, the Nigerian state has oddly chosen to kill, brutalise, maim and detain those seeking self rule on the same premise as the founding fathers did.
They said: “We warn that no nation can ultimately be built or held together by force just as no marriage/association should be by force. The fact of Nigeria’s increasing existential crisis and the proliferation of self determination groups in the aftermath of a civil war fought to keep the country together vindicates the futility of war and or repression as a means of nation building.
We submit that the fundamental drivers of the agitation for self determination/self rule by various groups is rooted in the contradictions, injustices, marginalisation, dysfunctional structure, human rights violations, unitary system, inequality and absence of nation building that are the hallmarks of the Nigerian state.
Igbo Ekunie also holds the view that the failure of government to holistically address these underlying issues gives life to the separatist agitation. The sure path to ending separatist agitations includes the implementation of the National Conference Report of 2014 in the first instance, the further convening of a Sovereign National Conference with the ultimate aim of building national consensus and producing a nation-building constitution and the establishment of a nation-building commission or ministry charged exclusively with implementing reforms geared towards the consolidation of national integration and unity.”
They called on the peace loving people of Ndi-Igbos to remain calm, law abiding and steadfast, and avoid playing into the hands of the current government which is looking for the slightest excuse to descend on them to maim and kill with impunity while expressing the hope for freedom from slavery.
Igbo Ekunie stressed that a nation must of necessity be built by mutual consent and not by force, adding that the Quebec Independence Referendum of 1995, Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014 and the Catalonia Independence Referendum of 2015 exemplifies the inalienable right of self determination and nation building through democratic consent to which all peoples are entitled under international law, alongside freedom of speech and of association as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.