We the student body known as Biafran Students in Diaspora (BSD) wish to take this opportunity to respond formally to the utterances attributed to the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, an Igbo. The popular Igbo saying says that it is important to make haste and remove quickly a monkey’s hand which may be causing distraction when it is dipped in to steal from the people’s teal. What this teaches us is that in serious businesses such as the on-going campaign for Biafran independence and self-determination, being quick to debunk falsehoods is essential, especially when they are coming from Igbo individuals such as Onyeama. In the business of people’s fundamental rights and their freedoms it can be dangerous to leave things to chance or allow careless statements to slide. Therefore once it is noticed that some individuals are bent on engaging in some kind of monkey business in order to cause distractions and confuse the less informed members of the public then it is on us as the well-informed to act swiftly by responding to state the truth and the correct position of things. The need for haste is to nip in the bud any careless actions and words like those of the recent minister’s “monkey hand” from being misconstrued by the public as representing reality and the true opinion of Igbo people.
We hate to join issues with the minister in this matter but we cannot help but try and clear some grey areas in his statements. We want to state that the minister spoke as an individual when he said that the organizations, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) do not represent the Igbo. This is not true. Unlike the minister who as an individual is serving the Nigerian government, not on an elected capacity but solely by appointment, the mentioned groups and several others who are agitating for the separation of the Igbo from the Nigerian union, actually represent the opinion of the majority of Igbo people. Those who want Igbo or Biafra out of Nigeria make up over 85% of Igbo population. Perhaps, by the virtue of the minister’s appointment and service to the Nigerian government he is blinded from seeing this fact. Therefore it is our duty to let him understand the truth.
Igbo people, particularly the youth to whom the future belongs have made an irreversible decision: Starting from May 29, 1966 (when Nigerians began the genocidal murder of Igbo people) the Igbo rejected their Nigerian citizenship forever. Presently we are a people whose land is under foreign occupation by the Nigerian government but we are not cowed. We need to remind all that though our land; Igbo land is under occupation by the Nigerian government it never stopped us from having our government in exile from which Igbo people take their orders and owe their sovereign allegiance. Biafra Government in Exile (BGIE) which has always carried on its businesses from its base in Washington DC in the United States is the continuity of the Biafran Government in Biafra land which ceased to operate its businesses from the Homeland in January 1970.
Therefore, Geoffrey Onyeama and others like him who represent Nigerian interests cannot rightly claim to be talking or acting on behalf of the Igbo when they are not working for BGIE or any such recognized Igbo/Biafra institutions. They can only claim to speak on their individual’s capacity at any time until they switch allegiance.
It is important to reiterate here that at no time did Biafra cease to exist since the state came into being on May 30, 1967. The terms that the Biafran representatives reached with their Nigerian counterparts in January 1970 are clear: Biafrans agreed to cessation of hostilities to prevent the total annihilation of our people as the enemy was bent on doing. Ever since that cessation of hostilities, the enemy Nigeria has continued the illegal occupation of our land against our will and in complete violation of our civil rights.
We are using this opportunity to appeal to fellow students in universities across the world to please to join hands with us in working to save a threatened people, the Igbo who are marked for extermination by the intolerant Islamic state of Nigeria. This appeal goes to fellow Biafrans who are studying in England, Scotland and any other countries all over the world, please let’s join hands in solidarity to free a people who have suffered genocides and other unprintable atrocities in the hands of Nigerians. All lovers of freedom everywhere please unite with us and together we can save endangered lives.
Remember freedom is everyone’s right.
Signed on behalf of
Biafran Students in Diaspora (BSD)