| by Osita Ebiem
( June 14, 2014, New York City, Sri Lanka Guardian) The recent reactions from certain quarters purportedly claiming to speak on behalf of Igbo/Biafran people in regard with the attempt to make a public announcement by the pro-Biafra freedom group known as Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF) at the studios of Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS), to say the least is quite embarrassing. The Southeast governors’ forum that is reported to condemn the action of the Biafran activists could not have been speaking for the people.
The actions and utterances of the governors are no doubt borne out of fear and of course an insensitive and self-serving position.
There are perceived deliberate efforts by some people to mischievously distort the story of what happened on that 5th morning of June, 2014. Such dishonesty at this critical moment in the situation of things as they stand in Nigeria is uncalled for. It is for this reason that all people of good moral standing should come out to condemn the dastardly and dehumanizing manner that these Biafra freedom activists have been treated by the Nigerian police.
Ben Onwuka and the other 12 members of his group are being wrongfully imprisoned by the Nigerian police and should be released immediately because they have not committed any crime.
Under the international law the rights of Indigenous Peoples are protected under the circumstances that led to Onwuka and his fellow freedom fighters arrest by Nigerian police. And for the fact that Nigeria is a signatory to these laws, these men therefore have the right to declare their freedom any time from the encumbrances of the state of Nigeria anytime that they so wish.
When the news broke that Onwuka and some members of the Biafran Zionist Federation entered Enugu State Broadcasting Service to declare a free and independent Biafra, they were acting under the full protection of a set of civilized laws made by the international community.
It should also be made clear that Ben and his men were not acting alone or in isolation of the Igbo/Biafra people. The truth is that as things presently stand in Nigeria, every Igbo or Biafran alive today actually regards Nigeria’s government current control of the Biafran territory as an illegal occupation by a foreign power.
The people feel that they are under the weight of illegal and oppressive foreign power and are constantly hoping for the opportunity to finally free themselves from Nigeria and the threats of Nigeria’s Islamic terrorism. So to the people, Onwuka’s attempted announcement to free his people and their land from the stranglehold of Nigeria was a welcome move and did not come to them as a surprise.
The scuffle that followed when Ben and his fellow separatists entered the broadcasting studio and what led to the unnecessary murder of one of Ben’s men by Nigerian police further reinforces what the people already believe: That the Nigerian authority has always wished only death for them. Rather than shoot to kill at unarmed and defenseless civilians who were not violent at all and who were acting within their legal rights, shouldn’t the police had negotiated with them. From the shirtless pictures of (intended to humiliate) the Biafran separatists as released by the police, it is very clear that none of the men appeared to be irresponsible or very young as to assume that their action was merely that of youth or recklessness.
The truth at this time is that it is really too late for the government of Nigeria and its agents to continue to rely on using force and intimidation to suppress the various peoples in the country who are agitating for their freedom from the unworkable Nigerian union.
The right and most appropriate response at this time should be a negotiated and peaceful resolution of the issues that the separation activists are raising. The government and peoples should sit down and peacefully resolve to end a united Nigeria because it is not working and will not work for reasons well known to all the parties to the futile effort at trying to construct a country out of very disparate and irreconcilable culturally diverse peoples.
The wise thing to do is call for a referendum and let the peoples decide who they should associate with as fellow citizens of the same country. Let the Nigerian marriage partners walk away from each other alive rather than insist on a forced union and let the partners kill and destroy each other. There is never any wisdom in any such foolish obstinacy.