A British opposition politician is calling on the U.K. government to investigate human rights abuses against Biafran independence protesters in Nigeria.
Thousands of people have demonstrated across Biafra land in recent months, calling for a referendum on independence for the former Republic of Biafra, which existed between 1967 and 1970 and was mainly populated by members of the Igbo ethnic group. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra , was arrested by Nigerian security forces in October 2015 and has been in detention since. Kanu is to stand trial in Nigeria on Monday charged with treason, which carries a maximum life sentence in Nigeria.
Angela Rayner, Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions and Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne in northwest England, tells Newsweek that she raised the issue with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) after receiving evidence from constituents alleging human rights abuses against Kanu—who is a dual U.K-Nigerian national—and pro-Biafra protesters in Nigeria.
“There is a strong Biafran presence in my constituency and I’m concerned that we don’t sit on our morals,” says Rayner. “I expect the government to take the issue seriously and to ensure they do everything in their power to protect individuals across the world.”
Kanu’s group alleges that scores of their members have been killed during protests since October 2015 and Amnesty International told Newsweek earlier in February that it was investigating reports of abuses in at least four locations—Aba, Enugu and Onitsha in southeast Nigeria and Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria.
FCO continued her report : “The U.K. takes all accusations of human rights abuses seriously. We do not share the assessment that there is institutionalized persecution of the Igbo or any other peoples by the Nigerian authorities.” The spokesperson added that British consular officials had visited Kanu several times and that, on each occasion, the activist was in good health and said he had access to a doctor and his lawyer.
Prof Herbert Ekwe-ekwe argues that Genocide has been committed against Biafra and continuation of that Genocide is ongoing in Biafra at the moment, in a post professor Herbert said ”
On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot” (Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian commander, north/northcentral Biafra during phase-III of the Igbo genocide, 6 July 1966-12 January 1970, addressing a meeting at Chatham House, London, England, 1000-1030 Hours GMT, Thursday 26 February 2015)
Very much interpellated in this thought process in Muhammadu Buhari’s mind of not-force and the fall of the Soviet Union must be his realisation, even if belated, that despite the staggering pulverising force his genocidist military deployed to destroy Igbo people during the genocide of 29 May 1966-12 January 1970, the Igbo survived whilst contemporary Nigeria is a withering wretch.
The Soviet Union supported the genocide by sending in the squadrons of MiGs to Nigeria flown by loaned Egyptian pilots (not Nigerian pilots as the country no longer had such prized personnel since the genocidists murdered outstanding Igbo pilots who made up the then Nigeria air force service during phase-I of the genocide and slaughter-survivors escaped to Biafra to begin the construction of the Biafra air force), specialists in the carpet bombing of Igbo homes, offices, markets, churches, shrines, schools, children’s playgrounds, hospitals, railway stations, trains, cars, car parks, refugee centres… This same Soviet Union, this seemingly redoubtable state, soon, beginning January 1990, collapses “without (sic) a single shot fired” (!) but its constituent peoples survive – a reminder, if ever there was one, that the state, including the one that calls itself Nigeria, is transient; peoples endure
Nigeria is arguably the most notorious of the “Berlin-states” of Africa. Presently, it is perversely celebrating the infamy of its conquest and occupation by Britain and “awarding” officially designated accolades to some of the latter’s lead conqueror-personages as part of this “celebration”. Nigeria is a genocide state. It is also a kakistocratic state. Nigeria is the first genocide state in post-(European)conquest Africa. Between 29 May 1966 and 12 January 1970, Nigeria embarked on the genocide of Igbo people, a hardworking constituent people who played a vanguard role (beginning in the 1930s) in the freeing of Nigeria from the British occupation. Nigeria murdered 3.1 million Igbo, one-quarter of this nation’s population within those gruesome 44 months. This genocide is still ongoing as these notes are written. Igbo and any other peoples subjected to genocide have no other choice but abandon this state and create alternative states of freedom and security. Surely, a genocide state is no candidate for “reforms”, “structuring”, “re-structuring”, “negotiating”, “re-negotiating”, “claiming”, “re-claiming” nor any such inanities. A genocide state is dismantled. This is its fate in history.
Rayner spoke to Newsweek an european based news agency ahead of a pro-Biafra demonstration held outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Wednesday, which she attended. A pro-Biafra demonstrator attending the event told Newsweek that around 150 people had gathered with Biafran flags to demonstrate.
While Rayner declines to comment on whether the group should be granted a referendum on Biafran independence, she says that the issue must be dealt with in accordance with international human rights law. “My role is to continue to ensure that our FCO is keeping an eye on what’s happening there and that the rule of law is applied in all cases,” says Rayner.
The Nigerian government has declined to comment on the pro-Biafra protests and Kanu’s detention despite several requests from Newsweek. In December 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that Kanu could not be released on bail because he posed a flight risk and that he should face justice in Nigeria.
Biafra military officer Odumegwu Ojukwu declared the Republic of Biafra to be sovereign in 1967, Nigeria invaded her which resulted to a three-year war with Nigerian forces in which more than 3.5 million people died.