“IPOB is just like a dot in a circle. Even if they want to exit, they will have no access to anywhere.And the way they are spread all over the country, having businesses and property, I don’t think IPOB knows what they are talking about. In any case, we say we’ll talk to them in the language that they understand. We’ll organize the police and military to pursue them.” – (President Muhammed Buhari, during an interview with Arise TV, on Thursday, June 10, 2021, Presidential Villa, Abuja).
When, I first heard Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent President of Nigeria, the other day, call Igbos,a ‘dot’, my mind went straight to the interview Ojukwu granted to two Western Aid Workers, Wampeters and Granfalloons in January 1968,at the heart of Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970).
In that interview, Ojukwu said, inter alia:
“They call us a dot on the map”, and nobody’s sure quite where!Inside that ‘dot’ were 700 lawyers, 500 physicians, 300 engineers, 8 million poets and novelists of the first rank, and God only knows what next – about one-third of all the black intellectuals in Africa. Some dot.”
Continuing, Ojukwu added:
“Those intellectuals had once fanned out all over Nigeria, where they had been envied and lynched, and massacred. So they retreated to their homehand, to the dot. The dot has now vanished. Hey, presto.”
Speaking further, Ojukwu told his Western interviewers:
“If we go forward, we die, if we go backward, we die. So, we go forward.” – (ChukwuemekaOdimmegwu-Ojukwu, leader of the former Republic of Biafra)
Note, in the opening paragraph of their published memoir of the interview, titled, “Biafra: A People Betrayed”, the two Western aid workers, Wampeters and Granfalloons, said, among other things:
“The jokes of Ojukwu and Effiong (Ojukwu’s second-in-command), had to do with the crime for which the Biafrans were being punished so hideously by so many nations.The Crime: “They were attempting to become a nation themselves…The Biafrans kept telling the outside world that Nigeria wanted to kill them all, but the outside world was unimpressed.”– (Taken From, Wampeters&Granfalloons, “Biafra: A People Betrayed” (1979).
Fast forward: Buhari calls Igbos a ‘dot’ in Nigeria!
Already, some well-meaning Nigerians, and good people across the globe have faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest characterization of Ndigbo as “a ‘dot’ in a circle with nowhere to run”, and his threat of civil war against the Igbo nation. A threat, which many people see as part of Buhari regime’s narrative of lies and denials against the crimes and wrongs, the Nigerian State had committed and has continued to commit against the Igbo nation and people, all these while.
Furthermore, a good number of people from across the spectrum of Nigerian society, especially, from the Southern part of the country, have berated President Buhari for his last unsavoury and unpresidential comment against the Igbo nation. For example, Afenifere, the Yoruba Apex Socio-cultural Organization in the South-West, noted that, “the President takes delight in ridiculing the Ndigbo,which he used IPOB to represent.”
According to the Pan-Yoruba Apex Socio-cultural Organization, Afenifere, Buhari is always fond of reminding Ndigbo of the civil war wounds they suffered and have continued to suffertill today in the Nigerian state. To intimidate and humiliate them, President Buhari makes his reference always,to the infamous ‘balkanization of former Eastern region’ by Gen. Yakubu Gowon military junta, which created Rivers and Cross Rivers States out of the defunct Eastern region, separating them from Igbos who live in the upland. The third state, Gowon created in the region, he called, East Central State, where he logged together, with ulterior motive of divide and rule, majority of Igbos who live at upland.
The creation of twelve states in early 1967 by Yakubu Gowon military junta, in the build-up to Nigeria-Biafra War, was by all intent and purpose, meant to divide and conquer the nascent Republic of Biafra by the central government at Lagos. Above all, it was meant to cause disaffection between the Igbos who live in the upland with their kith and kin who live within the coastal zone (what is known today, as South-South (or Niger Delta).
The primary aim of all this, however, was to stifle, land-lock the region, and shrinkOjukwu’spower and influence. It worked perfectly well in favour of Gowon and his military junta. For it quickened the defeat and collapse of the nascent Republic of Biafra. The ‘balkanization’ of former Eastern region through abolition of regional government and creation of twelve new states by Gowon, was a sinister agenda that worked perfectly well for the regime, through its blockade and starvation policy against Biafra. This, eventually, resulted in the killing of over two million Igbo Biafran children and women during the war, caused mainly by malnutrition disease, known as kwashiorkor. This was in turn, caused by the blockade and starvation policy of the federal government against Biafra territory. It was said that more people died as a result of starvation and blockade in Biafra than as a result of bullets of the federal troops of Nigerian government.
In addition, Buhari’sstatement, showed clearly that he does not understand that Igbo as an Ethnic bloc is different from the pro-Biafra group agitators, known as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. For example, Buhari in his interview with Arise TV, had said, “the Igbo and their territory is just a dot in a circle of a map of Nigeria, which is even if they secede could exit to nowhere since the elders and youths of the South-South had assured him of not being part of the secessionist agenda.”
In fact, one could not have begrudged Buhari so much for calling Ndigbo a ‘dot’ in the map of Nigeria, had he not skewed his utterances to embrace the entire Igbo nation, whom he said had businesses everywhere. This makes his speech not only unpresidential, but puts him “in the same mode of common expressions with some unidentifiable northern organizations.” By threatening Igbos with their businesses and means of economic survival, Buhari forgot history, how the world politics and law governing legally acquired property and businesses, function and work, in a case of any newly created independent nation state.
That Igbo properties and houses are still declared ‘abandoned’ in Rivers States and elsewhere in Nigeria, 54 years after the Nigeria-Biafra War, is because Biafra did not succeed as an independent nation state. Had Biafra succeeded then, as an independent state, with its own self-government and foreign affairs ministry, all those issues of abandoned property could have been thing of the past. They are still ‘abandoned’ property, simply because, Nigerian state has continued with its war policy of suppression and subjugation of anything Igbo. There is no Biafra government in place today in the land to voucher for the interest of Igbo Biafrans and other Easterners in Nigeria and throughout the world, whose property were declared abandoned in different parts of Nigeria, especially, in Rivers State during and after the civil war, by the Nigerian state.
This is one of the major reasons for the new drive by the pro-Biafra youth movements towards actualization of Biafra self-determination and independence. Biafran people, home and abroad, even though, carrytheir Nigeria International Passports, yet, they have continued to see themselves as ‘stateless’ people, the most endangered species on earth today. In critical moments of their lives as Nigerian citizens, it is as if they don’t exist at all as a people in the eye of the Nigerian state and government. That is, when it comes to national and international obligations and services, which by rights, they possess or are entitled to, as citizens of Nigeria. This is the crux of the matter!
Property and Businesses are Protected by International Laws in Case of New Independent States
By threatening the Igbo nation with their business and property, which are scattered across Nigeria, their means of economic survival, President Buhari forgot that prior to the creation of the present independent State of Israel in 1948, Israelis have their businesses and property,likewise scattered all across Europe. That is, as the Igbos have today in Nigeria and all across the ECOWAS sub-region and other parts of Africa and the world.But has the creation of the State of Israeli made the Israeli business community to forfeit or have their business empires and property in Europe and elsewhere declared abandoned? No. Those businesses and property were and are still safeguarded and owned by their Israeli landlords and business tycoons.
Furthermore, prior to the independence of South Sudan in 2011, people of the two Sudan have their businesses and property scattered in both divides of Sudan. But has the creation of South Sudan as an independent nation state, made the people of that region to forfeit or have their property declared abandoned anywhere in the two Sudan? Of course, no! The same thing applies in all cases whenever a new nation state is born.
In other words, there are UN and other International Laws and Conventions governing a thing of this nature, whenever a new state is created. I am sure, that when eventually, Biafra becomes an independent sovereign nation state in its own right, it will enjoy the same rights and privileges of a newly independent state as stipulated in International Laws and the UN Conventions. Period!
By the way, if Igbo nation is really a ‘dot’ on the map of Nigeria as Buhari claimed, why then the mad-rush of this FG to forcefully, take-over the coastal and arable lands in Igboland, through federal government fiat, to establish the infamous RUGA settlements for the President’s kinsmen, the AK-47 welding foreign Fulani killer-herdsmen? What is President Buhari and his Fulani kinsmen, who have come from across Northern Nigeria and Sahel region, doing in Igboland in South Eastern Nigeria, the ‘dot’? Why is this FG of President Buhari bent on capturing and conquering Igboland, the ‘dot’, for his Fulani kinsmen and Caliphate?
Therefore, President Buhari’s latest threat of civil war, and characterization of Ndigbo as “a ‘dot’ in a circle with nowhere to run”, have no place in international laws or in any known law for that matter. It is all part of the effort of Buhari regime’s deceptive pretence of clamping down on IPOB-ESN pro-Biafra agitators and campaigners in South Eastern Nigeria, to justify the on-going extra-judicial killings of innocent Igbo youths and people of the region by the Nigerian security operatives.
Buhari’s war rhetoric and threat against Ndigbo
Buhari’s latest war threat against the Igbo nation,resulted in the Twitter deleting that particular ‘war threat’ tweet from his Twitter account, few days ago. In that tweet, Buhari, in his usual war rhetoric, intimidation, and threat against the Igbos, had vowed to treat the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and people of the region, in the language they would understand. That language, of course, is a language of another genocidal war against Igbo people of South Eastern Nigeria by the Nigerian State and federal troops.
This threat, the President, again, repeated on Thursday, June 10, 2021, against the same Igbo nation, during his pre-recorded interview on Arise Television, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. He vowed to mobilise the military and police against Igbo youths, especially members of IPOB and ESN in South Eastern Nigeria. The only reason, being that the regime is not happy with the formation of a regional Vigilante outfit ESN, which the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu inaugurated last December to guard the farmlands and forests in Eastern Nigeria and protect the local population from attacks and killings perpetuated against them, on daily basis by Buhari’skinsmen, Fulani killer-herdsmen. These are Fulani killer-herdsmen, who roam around the towns and villages in Igboland and other parts of the Eastern region and the country, with AK-47, destroying farmlands and villages, killing people, raping women, and kidnapping people with reckless abandon, while the government and its security operatives look elsewhere!
This federal government of Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari and security operatives have never for once, arrested, prosecuted, or imprisoned any of the Fulani killer-herdsmen. The government has also refused to declare the killer-herdsmen a terrorist group. But IPOB members that only protest with their Biafran flags, and have never killed anybody or engaged in wanton destruction of people’s property, are the people this FG of President Buhari has declared as a “terrorist group”, something which no other nation in the entire world has up till date, bought into.
A FG that sponsors Fulani Muslim terrorist groups, Boko Haram-ISWAP, and Fulani killer-herdsmen (a.k.a bandits), that kill Nigerians, is calling IPOB and ESN that have never killed anybody, and that are protecting their people from being attacked and killed by the dreaded Fulani killer-herdsmen, a “terrorist group?” What hypocrisy of highest order? ‘A terrorist government is calling those fighting terrorists it created, a “terrorist organization?” Funny, indeed!
Buhari government and security operatives are chasing after IPOB-ESN pro-Biafra youth movement members, shooting them at sight, killing them extra-judicially, arresting and jailing them? Yet, the same FG and its security operatives have refused to arrest, prosecute or jail any of the Fulani killer-herdsmen and Boko Haram-ISWAP insurgents who are operating from the Muslim Sharia states of Northern Nigeria, ravaging the entire country?
Again, the ESN officials operate only in the bushes in the South-East, where they guard farmlands to protect the local population from being attacked and killed by Fulani killer-herdsmen, whom everyone knows are being sponsored by this FG and its security operatives. The killer-herdsmen roam around the towns, villages and farmlands in the South-East, destroying farmlands, killing people, raping women, and kidnapping people, with reckless abandon. Yet, there has never been any day, the police and army have dared to arrest, prosecute or imprison them. But the same police and military are busy going about looking for Igbo youths of IPOB members and ESN officials to arrest, kill, burn alive, or imprisoned! What sort of thing is that?
The ‘Crime’ of NnamdiKanu, IPOB & ESN, for Buhari Regime
The question is: Why is this FG and its security operatives not after the killer-herdsmen, but rather are busy chasing, witch-haunting, arresting, jailing, shooting at sight, and killing extra-judicially, Igbo youths, whom the government wrongly, tag as members of IPOB and ESN and call them ‘terrorists’? This is the most bizarre aspect of the whole drama!
What does this tell you, if not that Buhari administration, implicitly, is complicit in the on-going herdsmen terrorism in Nigeria. In particular, the regime has not been able to convince majority of Nigerians that it is not the one aiding, abetting and sponsoring the insecurity in the South-East and in other parts of the country? The Nigerian military and police, as Rtd Gen T.Y Danjuma, said, “Are not neutral. The military and police collude with the terrorists to kill Nigerians. They facilitate things for the killer-herdsmen and Boko Haram-ISWAP terrorists, to kill Nigerians.” – Gen T.Y Danjuma.
This implies, until proved otherwise, that, this FG of Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari is the sponsor of Islamic and Fulani killer-herdsmen terrorism in Nigeria today. The FG is using the Fulani killer-herdsmen (a.k.a bandits), as its foot-soldiers in their on-going evil agenda for the Islamization and Fulanization of the South-East and the entire country.
Now, that ESN, which was formed only six months ago, in December 2020, has succeeded in pushing away from the forests and farmlands in the South-East, the Fulani killer-herdsmen, Buhari’s regime, and Security operatives are not happy with NnamdiKanu and his IPOB pro-Biafra youth movement’s Vigilante outfit, ESN. This is why Buhari and his Aso Rock Cabals are bent in crushing IPOB and ESN by all means, and the regime is making all attempts to either see how to ‘demonize’ or ‘eliminate’ NnamdiKanu himself, and members of his IPOB-ESN pro-Biafra agitators and campaigners. God forbid!
This is the crux of the matter, for whoever cares to know. It is the only ‘crime’ for whichNnamdiKanu, IPOB, and ESN (that is, apart from the group’s agitation for Biafra independence), are being haunted every day today by President Buhari regime and Security operatives. Buhari regime and security operatives see IPOB and ESN as the biggest stumbling block to their Fulani Muslim Oligarchy’ conquest agenda of Igboland and other parts of the Nigeria, as well as their on-going Islamization and Fulanization project, in course in the country.
This is the crime of NnamdiKanu and his IPOB-ESN pro-Biafra agitators. NnamdiKanu’s crime, that is, for which Buhari regime and Security operatives are after him and his IPOB-ESN pro-Biafra youth movement, is because they are on the way of the Fulani controlled Federal government of Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari’s evil agenda to conquer Igboland and other parts of Eastern Nigeria. NnamdiKanu is standing on the gap, as a stumbling block againstthe regime’s long desired project of Islamic and Fulani conquest of the entire Nigeria. NnamdiKanu’s pro-Biafra youth movements is blocking the regime from accomplishing their long desired evil agenda of Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria. It is for this reason that Buhari regime is bent on crushing and demonizing NnamdiKanu and his IPOB pro-Biafra youth movement and ESN. Period!
It is like, ‘darkness fighting the children of light and truth.’ Nothing more, nothing less. Anyhow, we continue to keep our fingers crossed, and see how the whole drama will end. But just know that NnamdiKanu and his IPOB-ESN pro-Biafra youth movement members and officials, are the greatest stumbling block Buhari regime has in accomplishing the regime’s evil agenda of Fulani conquest and Islamization of the entire country, Nigeria. The regime has not come to power in Nigeria to promote economic or political stability and growth in the country. No. Rather, the regime’s primary mission is Fulani conquest and Islamization of Nigeria.
They do this through their foot-soldiers, Fulani killer-herdsmen, and the compromised, Fulani-controlled Nigerian Armed Forces and Police. Already all the key federal governmental structures, and all the top security architectures of Nigeria, etc., are all headed and controlled by Fulanis. The implication of this is that, governmentally, wise, Nigeria is already, Fulanized and Islamized. What the regime has not yet successfully achieved, however, is subduing and intimidating the entire local populace of different ethnic-nationalities in the Southern and Middle Belt geopolitical zones of the country. This is why the regime appears intolerant of any form of protest or uprising from the grassroots, especially, the young people, e.g., the #EndSars protesters, and even, the IPOB and Oduduwa Republic agitators’protests, etc.
An ‘Artificial’ State of Insecurity, created in the South-East
The reasons alluded above, are parts of why the Buhari administration has decided to create an ‘artificial’ state of insecurity in the South-East and parts of South-South geopolitical zones, that have majority Igbo population. It is part of the regime’s well-calculated and well-designed attempt to give IPOB and ESN, a bad name, so as to justify the on-going extra-judicial killings of innocent Igbo youths by Nigerian military and police in the South-East. ‘When you want to kill a dog, give it a bad name.’ This is exactly, what Buhari administration and its security operatives are doing in the South-East and parts of South-South geopolitical zones.
In all, however, one wonders what President Buhari and his Aso Rock Cabals intend to achieve by targeting to annihilate Igbo people, especially Igbo youths, using falsehood, and the compromised Nigerian armed forces, military, and police, as well as the foreign Fulani killer-herdsmen the regime has recruited from the Sahel region and across Africa and the Arab world?
What is the offense of Igbos to Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari and his Fulani Muslim kinsmen that control the federal government of Nigeria? For what reason has President Buhari described Ndigbo as “a dot in the circle with nowhere to run to?”
Buhari calls Ndigbo, a ‘dot’ in the map of Nigeria, because pro-Biafra Igbo youths, IPOB are agitating for Biafra Republic, asking for the legal means of referendum to determine whether their people want to remain in Nigeria or form their own Independent state of Biafra.And also, because of ESN Vigilante outfit officials, thatnow guard Igbo forests and protect the people from Fulani killer-herdsmen attacks and killings. Otherwise, for what other reason couldBuhari say that the Igbo race of over 70 million people,is a ‘dot’in Nigeria’s political landscape and scheme of things?
Buhari’s language, and threat against the Igbos, is reminiscent of a similar language, he had used in the past, when he referred to the same people of the South-Eastern Nigeria, Ndigbo, as ‘five-percenters’ (5%). That is, as against those he claims are ’97-percenters’ (97%), his kinsmen from the North, and of course, their South-West allies, that voted for him overwhelmingly during the last two Presidential elections. Since he did not receive massive votes and support from the people of South Eastern Nigeria during the elections, the President therefore, decided to see the Igbos, in particular, as ‘five-percenters’ and a ‘dot’ in Nigeria’s political landscape and scheme of things! But all these his characterization and hateful language against Igbo are born out of his deep-rooted Igbo-hate and agenda of Fulani conquest and Islamization of Nigeria.
According to President Buhari, in that press conference he held in 2015 in Washington DC, ‘the Igbos should not expect equal and equitable treatment from his government, as would those other regions of the North and South-West that gave him 97% of their votes and support’ during the last Presidential election of 2015.’
This philosophy and mindset have been the guiding principles of President Buhariand his Aso Rock Cabals, with regard to Ndigbo and the Biafra Question! The same philosophy and mindset, Buhari once again, re-echoed during his latest interview with Arise TV, when he described the people of the South-Eastern region, where youths are agitating for self-determination and independence by clamouring for referendum, as “a ‘dot’ in the circle with nowhere to run.”
Therefore, from his previous language of ‘five-percenters’, in reference to the Igbos, President Buhari now calls the same Igbo people and nation, a ‘dot’ in Nigeria? The President vowed to deal with them in “the language they would understand”, citing what happened to them (Igbos) at the hands of the same Nigerian state and federal troops, sent to crush Biafran Igbos during the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970).
It is very unfortunate, that someone who calls himself the president of all Nigerians (some call him, although, erroneously, ‘father of the nation’), a heterogeneous nation states of multi-ethnic and multi-religious indigenous ethnic-nationalities like Nigeria, would be operating with such a divisive, nepotistic, and Jihadist, feudalistic philosophy and mindset, in this 21st century? That is, without taking into consideration, Nigeria’s cultural, ethnic, and religious diversities and historical sensitivities?
The most embarrassing thing is how Buhari himself, has continued to see the Igbos, an ethnic-nationality and people of over 70 million in population, as a ‘dot’ or ‘five-percenters’ in Nigeria’s geopolitical landscape and in the scheme of things in the world! This is the greatest tragedy of all. Without any ill-feeling towards anybody, methinks, that this is the height of the errors committed by all those responsible for this set of people to be in power in Nigeria today. One continues to wonder how this set of people managed to be ‘elected’ or rather ‘rigged’ into power, in a modern, heterogeneous African nation state, like Nigeria, at a time like this!
Again, without sounding too emotional, can we not see that we all are guilty, in one form or the other, by allowing this evil to continue in the land without doing anything concrete to stop the carnage? Just think of how many innocent souls, unarmed, defenceless citizens, the regime has so far, helped to send to their early graves? The blood of the innocent people that the regime has supervised and have continued to supervise their killings! All those killed as a result of the state-sponsored terrorism, at the hands of Fulani killer-herdsmen (a.k.a. bandits), Boko Haram-ISWAP insurgents, and the compromised Nigerian military and police brutality, recklessness, and extra-judicial killings of Nigerians?
In other words, by our silence of complicity, docility, and complacency over this most important matter, it may not be an overstatement to say that many of us are guilty as well, for not doing something concrete to stop the bloodshed in the land. We have, out of fear (or for reasons of personal interest), decided to abandon our responsibility to save life, and to save our Christian Church and ancestral land from being overrun by those who hold the Spirit captive. We have allowed the bloodsucking regime to continue in power, to continue to commit crimes against the land and humanity in our fatherland, unabated, by shedding blood of the innocent! What a pity?
Francis Anekwe Oborji is a Roman Catholic Priest. He lives in Rome where he is a Professor of missiology (mission theology) in a Pontifical University. He runs a column on The Trent. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.