ENUGU:BIAFRA In my 2017 book, “TO THE RESCUE” I identified, non-violent Agitation for the Right to Self Determination, backed up with local and international litigation, publicity and lobbying (diplomacy) as a roadmap to Self Determination. Long before the book was published. I shared this deduction on the web.
EKWENCHE of Chicago, one of the foremost Igbo Rights groups in the world, acting in concert with the Forum for the Promotion of National Ethos and Values (FPNAV), Enugu and Onitsha-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, initiated a ground-breaking civil claims suit in Washington DC, as a first step, on behalf of nine family of victims and one torture survivor in the IPOB extra-judicial killings by Nigeria Security Agencies. The suit was initiated under the US Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA 1789) & Torture Victims Protection Act (1991).
EKWENCHE hired a Washington-based firm, FEIN & DELVALLE PLLC, headed by former US Associate Deputy Attorney General, Bruce FEIN. Bruce FEIN and partner, Bruce Delvalle, as Attorneys specialize in Constitutional and International Law.
In August 2017, EKWENCHE sponsored both partners on a five-day trip to Enugu during which they deposed the claimants to the Washington suit and interacted with stakeholders in Igbo society on Igbo Rights to Self Determination and human rights generally. They were hosted by Emeka Umeagbalasi and my humble self.
The civil suit in Washington DC was designed to prepare the way for petitions for a prosecution of Nigerian political leaders and Security Agents before the International Criminal Court for various crimes against humanity being committed against the Igbo nation in Nigeria. It is established that totalitarian regimes like Nigeria, violations of citizens’ rights to life and decency and can only be curbed by international prosecutions and punishment of such international crimes of terror and torture. Like in Nigeria they listen to no pleas.
Since after the visit of the Feins to Enugu, all hell seems to have broken loose.
All Igbo Rights Groups, IPOB, Lower Niger Congress (LNC), Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) etc, rose up to international litigation as a means of liberating NDIGBO from present enslavement, which in itself is a good omen.
But the downside is that all of them found their way to the offices of FEIN & DELVALLE PLLC in Washington DC with their briefs, without any consultation whatsoever with EKWENCHE, Umeagbalasi or me. The negatives of this disorganized approach to Igbo affairs are:
1. The groups could be repeating spending of scarce resources for similar brief;
2. That unorganized manner of handling very serious issues belittles Igbo elite before the US or indeed any foreign Attorney.
3. Very little can be accomplished, if at all, in that manner. Pulling resources together stand a better chance in the face of prohibitive costs involved in international litigation, lobby, and publicity;
4. The synergy between the groups is denied and in its place, suspicion and rancor; and finally;
5. The Attorney/Client relationship between EKWENCHE and the Feins could be jeopardized.
Let me take this opportunity to remind all Igbo groups worldwide as follows:
(1) FEIN & DELVALLE PLLC is one of the thousands of Attorney firms in the US specializing in Constitutional and International Law. It must not be the FEIN firm to start an action in the US. If it must be, and it is about Igbo interest, it will serve Igbo interest best to discuss with EKWENCHE, or their representatives in Nigeria in order to engender harmony and save costs.
(2) One does not necessarily need the services of an Attorney (in particular, not the expensive Washington type) to petition the International Criminal Court (ICC) on crimes against humanity. Thoroughly document details of the crimes and dispatch to the office of the Prosecutor in Geneva. They will investigate and prosecute in Hague if found justified. A lawyer might help, but first of all read the ROME (ICC) Statute. I elaborated on this in pages 429 to 475 of my book, “TO THE RESCUE.”
The poor people of Chad successfully dragged their former ruler, Hissene Habre, to ICC and earned him a life sentence. So also did Liberia and Charles Taylor. Laurent Gbabo of Ivory Coast is in The Hague undergoing trial and cannot escape LIFE.
In spite of all the massacres of the past and present, Nigerians seem so docile, no present or past leader or agent has been arraigned before the ICC to account and pay for the atrocities the leaders have been com.itti g against citizens since 1966.
As the French polish thinker and historian, Alexis-Charles de Tocqueville (1805-1859) enthused:
“In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.”
If a lawyer is necessary, please source an international human rights lawyer, whose services are invariably pro bono (free). They abound all over the world.
LET US STOP CHEAPENING OURSELVES BEFORE THE WORLD.