OPEN LETTER: Anti Igbo Quit Notice In Northern Nigeria: What Federal Government, Southeast/South-south Leaders And Igbo Citizens Resident In Northern Nigeria Must Do
- The Acting President & Commander- in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces
- The Inspector General of Police
- The Ministers of Defense & Interior
- Chiefs of Defense, Air, Naval & Army Staffs
- The National Security Adviser
- Directors General of SSS & NIA
- Executive Governors of the 19 Northern States
- Executive Governors of the 11 Southeast & South-south States
- Deputy President of Senate & Southeast/South-south Senators and House of Rep Members
- All Igbo Citizens Resident in Northern Nigeria
Your Excellencies/Sirs/Madams/ Fellow Igbo Citizens in Northern Nigeria,
The leadership of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has resolved to release this open letter to the Acting President & Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces- Prof Yemi Osinbajo for his presidential, proactive, protective, preventive, and democratic actions. The rosary of actions required of Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is as a matter of conscientious impartiality, inexcusability and uttermost immediacy.
This open letter of ours is also meant for the attention and necessary constitutional duty actions of the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of Defense Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chiefs of Naval and Air Staffs, the Directors General of SSS and NIA, the Federal Ministers of Defense and Interior and the National Security Adviser. It is further meant for the attention and necessary actions of the Executive Governors of the 19 Northern States (for host-guest protective and preventive actions); as well as the Executive Governors of the 11 Southeast and South-south States. The open letter also contains what all the Igbo citizens resident in Northern Nigeria must do before October 1, 2017.
As a research and investigative organization grounded or thematically focused on promotion and advancement of democracy and good governance or public governance accountability; civil liberties and rule of law; and public security and safety, we have carefully watched, studied and analyzed the unfolding events under reference; resulting in issuance of this open letter.
The manifest bias and inactions or deliberate omissions to act by Nigeria’s security agencies and their headships concerning the recent incitement to genocide’s utterances of Northern youths and elders are a clear repeat, if not worse than similar lame duck and lukewarm attitudes of the military leaders of the then Federal Military Government of Nigeria and their Northern Nigerian regional counterparts during the 1966 year-long anti Igbo pogroms; leading to death of 45,000-50,000 mostly Igbo defenseless citizens and generation of at least 1.62million Southern IDPs dominated by Igbo citizens.
We are totally shocked and disappointed that till date, the Federal Government of Nigeria and its security agencies has deliberately and woefully ignored the genocide prone early warning signals stemming from Northern youths and their elders’ incitement to genocide and carried on as if nothing has happened or will happen on or before October 1, 2017. Yet Nigeria claims to be running a Federation on account of its pluralistic ethno-religious compositions with 386 tribes and Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa-Fulani as its largest or dominant ethno-religious nationalities; a Federation that is further said to have been rested on principles of equality, democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law.
The lame duck and lukewarm attitude of the present Federal Government and its grossly lopsided and ethno-religiously biased security agencies and headships is a last pointer to the fact that the present Buhari/Osinbajo’s diarchy Government dangerously and chronically operates what looks like an animal kingdom or brutish and cannibalistic society where some animals are more equal or mightier than others.
Today, in the so called pluralistic country of 386 tribes of about 174million people, 95% of the country’s heads of its security agencies are headed by the people of Hausa-Fulani Muslim stock with estimated 80% northern population dominated by Muslims having access to the country’s public policing and safety as against 30% for predominant Christian population of Igbo stock. The citizens of Igbo Ethnic Nationality are also the least protected and most endangered in Nigeria and their access to security protection and justice system in the country since 1970s or before then is nothing to write home about.
Despite being the most less troublesome citizens in Nigeria in the areas of political, terrorism, genocidal, group, ethno-religious and insurrectionist crimes, citizens of Igbo Ethnic Nationality are indiscriminately arrested, detained, framed up and shot, maimed or killed in hundreds by ethno-religiously lopsided or northern Muslim dominated security agencies and their headships; while citizens of the North particularly Muslims who engage in such crimes or turned themselves against the laws of the land with reckless abandon; are rarely apprehended and punished.
Heavens would have let loose if the said incitement to genocide utterances were made by youths and elders of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality. The authorities of the SSS, Nigerian Army and Police Force would have since run riot on them, dismembered their bodies with hundreds of live bullets and even razed their villages or family houses or properties. Citizens Nnamdi Kanu, Bright Chimezie, Benjamin Madubugwu, Dave Nwawuisi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe, to mention but a few, were picked up for no just cause and dumped in detention between six months and two years and more simply because they raised concrete issues nonviolently regarding the decades long Federal Government’s three infamous policies of direct, structural and cultural violence against the People of Igbo Ethnic Nationality and other Ethnic Nationalities of South-south Nigeria.
It may most likely be correct to say that the Buhari/Osibanjo’s diarchy Government is a predator government with the peoples of Southeast and South-south Nigeria being its preys. The present diarchy Government of Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Prof Yemi Osibanjo is also an unrepentant protagonist of the three hydra headed monsters: structural, physical or direct and cultural violence against the Igbo People and to a large extent other ethnic nationalities of the South-south Nigeria.
The named three hydra headed monsters have been on since 1945 and encouraged or applied by past regimes. Through the same policies of structural and physical or direct violence, the Igbo Ethnic Nationality and a good number of non Igbo People of the South-south have lost 3.5million citizens and properties valued at over $50billion. The Igbo Ethnic Nationality had also since 1945 lost huge portions of their ancestral lands and communities through criminal boundary adjustments and balkanization of their ancestral communities; leading to several Igbo communities criminally ceded to “non Igbo States” of Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Benue and Kogi. In Rivers and Delta States where the Igbo People are largest and second largest ethnic nationalities respectively, they are abominably referred as “non Igbo States”.
Criminalization of Nonviolent Self Determination and Canonization of Incitement to Genocide: This is in furtherance of the referenced animal kingdom or seeming animalistic policy of the present diarchy Government of Buhari/Osibanjo whereby nonviolent self determination agitation by way of active or ghost street protests or processions; or open street or sit-at-home protests recognized and recommended by the UN and African Union Systems are wickedly criminalized and demonized by the present Federal Government and its security agencies whereas incitement to genocide outlawed and condemned by the same UN and AU is canonized by the same diarchic Administration.
The Erroneous Notion of All Igbo People Must Return Home in Exchange for Biafra Agitation: It is locally, nationally, regionally and internationally atrocious and abominable to force a population out of their occupational, cultural and political residency on account of their race, tribe, ethnicity, gender, language or religious and political affiliations or considerations. In non war or non armed conflict situations, they amount to commission of crimes against humanity or incitement to genocide; and in armed conflict situations, they amount to war crimes and incitement to genocide; punishable under several international humanitarian and human rights treaties or statutes including the 1998 Rome Statute of the Int’l Criminal Court and the Geneva Conventions of 1949.
It must also be clearly stated that a quest for political, cultural, economic or territorial self determination through nonviolence has nothing to do with or does not mandatorily require exodus of the citizens of the agitating ethnic group resident in particular part or other parts of the existing or mother political territory. Political, territorial or cultural self determination using nonviolence is fundamentally rested on assertion of rights for territorial, political and cultural identification or autonomy; as case may be; and does not mandatorily require the pastoral citizens of the agitating territory to leave their pastoral abodes and return and compulsorily live in their ancestral territory.
Therefore, our earlier call on all Igbo citizens who are resident in Northern Nigeria to come back to their ancestral homes in Igbo Land before 1st October 2017 is an interim self safety measure to save their lives first and avoid being trapped and get massacred as was the case in 1966. We at Intersociety and SBCHROs are not a party to a call for total or permanent relocation of all pastoral Igbo citizens from Northern Nigeria and cocooning of themselves in Igbo Land. For instance, despite the fact that the State of Israel gained its Independence since 1948, yet 50% of its pastoral people and 90% of their investments are still located outside Israel.
Apart from Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution which guarantees freedom of movement and right of every Nigerian citizen to live and own moveable and immoveable properties in Nigeria or any part thereof, the United Nations and the African Union as well as ECOWAS and the international law prohibit or outlaw such genocidal threats or conducts of forceful movement of a population. Till date, the Federal Republic of Nigeria is still a leading member of UN, AU and ECOWAS and a party to their numerous humanitarian, human rights, diplomatic and criminal law treaties.
Dangers of Underestimating Battalions of Northern Nigerian Weapons of Mass Destruction (Alamajiris): It is our stern warning to the Governors of the 11 States of Southeast and South-south Nigeria particularly the Southeast Governors and all Igbo residents in Northern Nigeria not to make a fatal mistake of underestimating the present battalions or millions of weapons of mass destruction in Northern Nigeria; otherwise called “Alamajiris or Alamajirai”. In Kano State alone, according to a present northern public office holder, there are over two million Alamajiris in the State.
The Alamajiris of Northern Nigeria or mostly parentless children and youths or wanderers have the age bracket of 2yrs to 25yrs or more. They are also poverty stricken, hungry, beggars, out of school children and youths; indoctrinated and brain-washed with radical or fundamentalist Islamism such as Jihad and inter faith and political killings and other forms of violence. The millions of Alamajiris in Northern Nigeria have for decades served as tools for group violence or ethno-religious militancy and used for perpetration and perpetuation of series of anti Igbo pogroms in Northern Nigeria.
Before the emergence of Boko Haram Islamic insurgency in 2002, the Alamajiris were massively deployed and used by killer political actors in Northern political circles in organizing and executing most, if not all anti Igbo riots and massacres. They were also foot soldiers responsible for 2011 post election violence in Northern Nigeria targeted at Igbo populations as well as in 2015 when they were issued with electronic voters’ cards by then Prof Jega’s INEC and used in scientific manipulation of the presidential election that brought in the present diarchic Government of Buhari/Osibanjo.
Today, they have been mobilized again by radical and killer elements within the Northern Muslim controlled political class, ready to launch another round of mass murder of the Igbo citizens of Northern Nigeria residency on or before 1st October 2017. Their potentials to unleash wide scale or escalated genocidal violence must not be taken for granted. Only those being economical with the truth can underestimate them.
The Alamajiris of Northern Nigeria are truly weapons of mass destruction that must not be underrated; more so when there is growing capacity failure and leadership and security complicity and compromises on the part of the Federal Government and security chiefs in Nigeria. The Northern Muslim controlled political leaders, on the other hand, have perpetually ensured and run policies of mass poverty, illiteracy, disempowerment and politico-economic thievery against their Alamajiri populations so as to perpetually make them willing tools for politically sponsored pogroms against the Igbo People particularly those residing, working or trading in Northern Nigeria.
What Must Be Done Before It Is Too Late: We have rejected and still reject in its entirety the present Federal Government and its security agencies’ lukewarm and lame duck responses so far as it concerns the subject under complaint. The inability and failure of the Buhari/Osinbajo’s diarchic government and its grossly biased security agencies and chiefs to arrest and prosecute the culprits in the incitement to genocide is totally condemned.
Consequently, the Buhari/Osinbajo Government must sit up and do the needful as constitutionally commanded or be held holistically responsible should anything untoward or genocidal happen to any Igbo citizen or group of Igbo citizens’ resident in Northern Nigeria. All Igbo citizens resident in Northern Nigeria are conscientiously called upon or pleaded with to seize the opportunity of Igbo People’s annual yam festivals/meetings to return home temporarily until the dire and dicey security and safety situations in Northern Nigeria improve. The only exception or contrary to this appeal is where the present Federal Government and its security agencies is miraculously woken up by God or divinely to take charge and do that which is constitutionally, democratically, preventively and proactively necessary and expected in coming weeks.
In the meantime, therefore, the Igbo citizens residing, working or trading in Northern Nigeria must not totally rely on security assurances of the graveyard or promise of lip service security personnel deployments by the present Governors of the 19 Northern States, the Presidency and its security agencies and heads. That is to say that self safety and precautionary measures must be devised by every Igbo citizen trading, studying or working in Northern Nigeria.
Apart from the fact that there are nothing concrete on the ground to indicate proactive seriousness and preventive policing capable of quenching the third party or non State actor enforcement of the genocidal threats come October 1, 2017; a clear case in point is the flooding of every nook and cranny of Southern Kaduna and agro-Islamic violence prone States of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa, Adamawa, etc; with battalions of soldiers, police and SSS; yet killings in the areas have soared and risen to an apogee owing to strongly suspected complicity and compromises by security chiefs and the present Federal Government’s seeming unholy policy of State Jihadism.
The Southeast and South-south Governors and other political office holders including the Deputy Senate President, Senators and House of Rep Members must rise to the occasion and go beyond seeming acts of cowardice and defeatism particularly by the Southeast Governors. They must insist that the present Buhari/Osibanjo Government and its security agencies protect at all times members of every ethnic nationality in Nigerian particularly the venerable Igbo population in Northern Nigeria.
Where the Federal Government continues to fail woefully in its sacred and clearly spelt out constitutional duties, the Southeast and South-south public office holders under reference should devise other constitutional and internationally legitimized means such as drawing the attention of international community including the UN, AU, ECOWAS, the Papacy and members of the G8 and permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as EU, etc over steady and thickening attempts or efforts by killer and genocidal elements in Nigeria to plunge the country into Rwandan like genocide of 1994.
Yours in the Service to Humanity,
Barr Obianuju Joy Igboeli
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Barr Chinwe Umeche
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Barr Ndidiamaka Bernard
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program
Barr Florence C. Akubilo
Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Email: [email protected]