The Case For Biafra Is Stronger Than South Sudan, Kosovo – US...

The Case For Biafra Is Stronger Than South Sudan, Kosovo – US Constitutional Lawyer Writes (READ)

By Bruce Fein on April 2, 2016
22
Biafra Bruce Fein
Constitutional attorney Bruce Fein | Gage Skidmore

​Biafra, dominated by the great Igbo race, enjoyed sovereignty before Great Britain commenced exploitive colonial rule over Nigeria under the racist banner of Rudyard Kipling’s “the White Man’ burden.” Britain asserted authority over Biafra based on the tyrannical doctrine that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

​The Berlin West Africa Conference, 1884-85, and the Berlin General Act symbolized colonial lawlessness by treating Africa as a carcass to be divided up among European vultures.

​Restoration of Biafra’s sovereignty is justified under international law and practice—especially with the ongoing ethnic-inspired killings and persecutions of Biafrans by Nigeria’s elected military dictator from the North touting sharia law, President Muhammadu Buhari.

Biafra’s sovereignty journey will require deft international diplomacy and the marshalling of widespread popular support from Biafrans and their resources. Power is never voluntarily surrendered. Rights ultimately are what you are willing to fight and die for.

​Prior to British colonization in 1906, the great Igbo people to the East of Niger, numbering some 3 million, and their cognate tribes enjoyed decentralized self-government. They were not living in a state of nature. Their self-rule came by force of arms—not voluntarily.

In 1900, the British government assumed responsibility for the Royal Niger Company’s territories, and formed the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, the Niger Coast Protectorate and the Lagos Colony Protectorate territories. 1913 witnessed the amalgamation of Nigeria into three administrative areas: the crown colony of Lagos and the Protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria.

​In 1960, Britain ended its colonization of Nigeria without reference to the Igbo or any other peoples of Nigeria entitled to self-determination. The Nigeria Independence Act established Nigerian territorial boundaries not by popular referendum or other reliable manifestations of self-determination of peoples, but according to the Nigeria’s Orders in Council, 1954 to 1960. They reflected British selfish maneuvers to dominate Nigeria economically.

Britain’s failure to offer Biafrans the right to self-determination violated the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted on 14 December 1960. Paragraph 5 of the Declaration required that immediate steps be taken by the colonial power “to transfer all powers to the peoples of those [colonized] territories…in accordance with their freely expressed will and desire…in order to enable them to enjoy complete independence and freedom.” The 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations emphasized that, “By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine without external interference their political status….”

The people of Biafra—recognized as distinct by British colonial authorities—were never provided an opportunity to vote for complete independence and freedom from the rest of Nigeria according to their freely expressed will and desire. They were never consulted on the subject when Nigeria became independent in 1960. Further, the 1960 Constitution of Nigeria was never approved by the people of Biafra in a referendum or otherwise. And neither has any subsequent Nigerian Constitution, including the current version decreed by a military dictator in 1999.

​In sum, the British decolonized Nigeria in violation of international law by failing to transfer power to the peoples of Biafra in accordance with their freely expressed will.

​That violation was not a technicality, but an affront to a fundamental human right. All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Consent is required to legitimate authority and to forestall external subjugation, oppression, persecution, or even genocide fueled by tribal, sectarian, ethnic, or megalomaniacal ambitions or hatreds.

​After independence from Britain, Nigeria soon became a charnel house for Biafrans. Deprived of their right to self-determination, they were left to the tender mercies of the Hausa-Fulani of the North and the Yoruba of the South in a unitary state unsuited for its diverse tribal, ethnic, and religious landscape. The gruesome 1967-1970 Biafran War was emblematic. Ethnic-based massacres of Biafrans and countless starving children who died as little more than skeletons was its grim face. The horrors suffered by Biafrans gave birth to the first modern international relief effort to lessen unspeakable misery.

​At the war’s conclusion, Nigeria’s General Yakuba Gowon’s sloganeered, “No victor, no vanquished.” The words proved a cruel hoax. The Igbo were marginalized, persecuted as traitors, and subjected to a Northern political yolk. Under incumbent Nigerian elected military dictator Buhari, the repression of the Igbo have reached new heights featuring indiscriminate killings, torture, and detentions without trial.

​Last March, for instance, 13 Biafrans were murdered and their corpses burnt to ashes and dumped in a burrow pit located in the area of Aba-Port Harcourt Road in Abia State by suspected Buhari agents. Last February, a team of Buhari’s Army, Navy, and Police and gunned down 22 Biafrans protesting Buhari’s detention of Biafran leader Prince Nnamdi Kanu.

​A complete chronicle of Buhari’s horrors only would numb by repetition.

​The point is that there is no political remedy for Biafra’s suffering—like an abused wife in a forced marriage—short of self-determination to regain its sovereignty that was illegally extinguished by the British and never surrendered after decolonization.

​States born from longstanding repression of peoples by ruling authorities are part of the woof and warp of international law or custom. Think of Bangladesh, Namibia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, East Timor, Eritrea, and Kosovo.

​The case for Biafran sovereignty is as strong or stronger as these precedents.

​But to succeed, Biafrans will need to organize, unify, and make their case to the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the African Union, the European Union, and the United States.

​If they do not all hang together, they might all come to hang separately.

Bruce Fein is an American constitutional lawyer and author. He tweets from @brucefeinesq.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.



22 COMMENTS

  1. I urge all Biafrans to come together, study together, understand together, reason together, fight together, and regain freedom together to cry no more. I promise the later end will be far more better in all ramifications than the beginning. God bless Biafrans and grant them clear Victory ✌.

  2. Since the british. Has found out that biafrans are no longer happy with this bloody union, why can’t they come and disolve what they put together why are they watching biafrans suffer this lots in Nigeria? Britishmust be wicked to fold their hands and watch their empire (NIGERIA) a disgrace

  3. The struggle as it is now cannot succeed without involving scholars, students, and other socioeconomic and political thinkers outside the street. The struggle must not only be done in the streets with cutlasses and guns only but in the citadels of learning with intelligence and strategy. Sound knowledge of our political history must be promoted as part of our education curriculum. It must be discussed alongside our political history by scholars and students of politics and economy. Good communication and networking with sound minds across the globe is a requirement. Everyone will support an intellectually based, stratrgic struggle for freedom, anytime.

  4. I have a revelation from God where President of Nigeria Mr. Mohamadu Buhari killed so many prominent sons of IGBOS (Biafran sons) in disguise of fighting MOSOB AND IPOB. In that revelation, the Lord spoke to me that the regime of Buhari has penciled and marked some prominent sons of Igbos for elimination in other to destroy the political mission and aspiration of the Igbos: and to permanently blanket the Igbos political future of independent state of Biafra. The world shall always pray for the Igbos so that the diabolical plans to eliminate the illustrious sons of the Igbos in the name of fighting the MOSSOP and IPOB will not stand.

  5. Why not our great igbo lawyers take up this case and drags britains and sue them in the international court

  6. The problem of Biafra and its people is complicated by Britain and the Biafrans themselves are divided
    and hardly can speak with one voice. It is not that the world is unaware of the sufferings and killings
    going on in Biafran land but the problem is that Biafrans themselves have sold themselves to the enemies.They hardly speak with one voice and the so called leaders are all saboteurs against their own people.

  7. True talk our problem is who will speak for us nobody cos we r nt united dats our problem those people wil speak r d ones saleing us God pls com to our rescue

  8. Bruse, thank you for your constitutional insight into what had been going on between Biafra and Nigeria, it was all the evil machination of greedy British authorities, coated with lying diplomacy. This is now 104 years they have held Biafra down under hausa/fulani and yoruba manupulations, evidenced with the masarcers of 1945, 1953, 1966 which led to the Biafran war with Nigeria. After the war in 1970 the killings had continued of Bifrans in the northern parts of Nigeria hieghtened by the current agitations going on among the Biafran, we have been killed in our numbers and let me say here that Biafra is united in our call for self determination and government of Biafra.

  9. British people are wicked, they intentionally did what they did in 1914. They know that the IBOS are not part of the present hausafuliani set up, Britons did that to punchish them, especially the Igbo nationalists who indeed were hurrying and harassing the white men to leave Nigeria. The second aspect is the Ibos themselves, money and it’s interests had further destroyed the biafran strugglings because the hausafuliani uses money to bribed the Ibo leaders, the politicians, traditional rulers, elders and who ever that matter in the BIAFRA. But if the Youths and the younger generation of BIAFRANs, can come together, unite, in fact close ranks, form a formidable forces, reach out to international communities and the United Nations, U S A, BIAFRA must be realized. JOE MARTAINS

  10. I guess biafra is as long as they don’t drag states that are not interested in joining them by force. I saw the map include delta, that’s a no no for me. Igbo speaking states can join together and be biafra

  11. Yes we do not need those non Igbos who want stay in Nigeria. We need to be free to develop our land where there will be 24/7 power supply and unlimited aspirations.

  12. Let us. Come together and fight for our right. The bad deed of has been done, what matters now is the solution to regain our freedom. We don’t deserve to be one with the housafulani and yorubas. We don’t think or reason alike, we don’t resemble them, we ar not lazy like the yorubas, we are not violent like the housafulani. We are different! It is quite clear.

    We need our freedom. Let’s join hands and develop our land. The great Biafrans, the great Igbo People. I love my land. Udo ga achi!!!

  13. Igbos must be wise , Igbos must come back home and rebuild their home land , Igbos must think like Jews and behave like Jews, !! the Jews eats and drink Jews , and Jews ,dance Jews4 , marries Jews , that’s what makes Jewish the most powerful nation on earth.

  14. Biafra will surely be free. As we are praying, we also need to do the needful. Coming together, establishing a common front, and hang together to win this freedom struggle. In his words Bruce Fein asserts:​ “If they do not all hang together, they might all come to hang separately”.
    This should be a great motivation and inspiration for all Igbo’s, and Biafrans at large. Let hang together, for united we stand and conquer!
    God bless Bruce Fein!
    In God we trust, He will not fail us.

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