— Being a Presentation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the members of the international community, with particular reference to the President of the United States, on the First Year Remembrance of Biafrans murdered in January 20, 2017 at Igweocha —
Fellow Biafrans, Compatriots, Friends of Biafra … Welcome to today’s event and thank you all for attending.
We’re here today to honor our members, gallant Biafrans who were murdered in cold blood by Nigerian security forces one year ago here at Igweocha (Port Harcourt) while they were peacefully celebrating the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States on January 20, 2017.
Today we remember them with great national mourning. And as we remember their sacrifices in pursuit of the freedom to assemble, we also remember all Biafrans murdered in the course of pursuit of our right to self-determination. We say that they didn’t die in vain. They died in honor and duty to Biafra, to justice, and to freedom.
The Greek philosopher Thucydides once said, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”
As we mourn our fallen heroes, we shall seize the opportunity to once again bring to the attention of all well-meaning nations, especially the United States, the serial genocide that is again taking hold in Nigeria against the indigenous people of Biafra.
While there’s no doubt that Biafrans had suffered and survived genocide some 50 years ago, in the present era of Mohamnadu Buhari as President of Nigeria, a new cycle of genocide (even low intensity) has resurfaced.
In this Buhari era, this neo-genocide has taken different forms. All will recall how Biafrans were killed simply for either demonstrating peacefully or just assembling for something as harmless and sacred as Christian night vigil. These Biafrans were killed by Nigerian security forces carefully selected from the same ethnic stock that recently threatened to forcibly remove Biafrans residing in the northern part of Nigeria.
Even when there are no demonstrating Biafrans to murder, this genocide has taken the new form of being disguised as Fulani herdsmen attacks on a scale that has even affected other indigenous minorities in Nigeria. Thousands have been killed and others displaced from their ancestral lands.
Amnesty International has confirmed that since the advent of the Buhari administration in 2015, Nigerian government has killed hundreds of Biafrans and wounded many more while they held peaceful protests.
In the face of all these, Biafrans have exercised uncommon restraint and continue to demonstrate to the world their commitment to peaceful agitation by refusing to take up arms for self-preservation. We have chosen this route because we trust in a new international order that is committed to protecting all oppressed peoples from genocide.
The Biafran dilemma has gotten to the point where the world can no longer afford to be silent. As the renowned English philosopher Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. We live in a world plagued by terrorism today. That evil terror has made its way to Nigeria and Biafrans are their primary victims. It is time for the international community to put a halt to it. This is especially urgent, as the present Nigerian government is seemingly complicit particularly with the Fulani herdsmen terrorists.
In the face of all these tribulations, there’s a solution. It is a fact of Nigeria’s chequered history that some 51 years ago, between 4th and 5th January, 1967, a very important meeting was held at Aburi, Ghana. It is a fact of history that the meeting had in attendance delegates representing all regions of a country already awash with the blood of Biafrans and and needing urgent and decisive steps to avert a descent into war and a predictable genocide.
It is a fact of history that after two days of talks on various issues a resolution, agreed to by all, to found a new Nigeria based on principles of Confederation was adopted. It is a fact of history that Yakubu Gowon, after signing the document, changed his mind and repudiated an Accord, seen by many keen watchers of the Nigerian situation at the time as the last opportunity to peacefully restoring normalcy in the country. And, it is a fact of history that Gowon’s repudiation of the Accord led to a genocidal war that cost more than 3.1 million Biafran lives.
Today, Nigeria is still paying a high cost in loss of human lives, which unfortunately, includes a preponderance of Biafran lives, for that decision of Yakubu Gowon’s. Nigeria is still paying a high cost in the form of renewed genocide, now championed under the twin umbrella of a lopsided Nigerian security forces and Fulani herdsmen.
If truth be told, societies progress when among competing ideas, they choose the most progressive of the lot. This is even more so when such societies have the benefit of hindsight. If there is one individual today whose ideas would halt Nigeria’s spiral towards bloody implosion, that person is our Supreme Leader, Nnamdi Kanu. His prescription is clear: Conduct A Referendum On Self-Determination For Biafrans.
Presently, hardly a week passes without one hearing calls for “True Federalism” or “Restructuring”. The calls for “True Federalism” are even quite unrealistic in a country where twelve states have already adopted state religion, Sharia, which denies non-adherents of that religion certain freedoms guaranteed by the military-baked Nigerian Constitution. Come to think of it, was it not a federal arrangement Nigeria had at independence that could not survive more than five years?
Truly, Nigeria’s unity, if the divisive statements being made by various political interest groups in the country are anything to go by, remains “a British intention” as it was described by late Tafawa Balewa, a Northern Muslim and first Prime Minister of Nigeria. Just recently, a former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, publicly called for ‘restructuring’ of Nigeria. While Atiku’s prescription may fall short of Referendum on Self-Determibation, anything short of that would be duplicitous and futile. The earlier Nigerians stopped deceiving themselves on this sure path to a permanent solution, the better for all Nigerians and the world around us.
Thank you all; and may God bless Biafra, our fallen heroes, and all men and women of goodwill around the the world.
IPOB High Command.