From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Chairman of the Governing Council, Customary Government of Indigenous People of Biafra, Barrister Emeka Emekesiri, has said that the pro-Biafra group was not part of the alleged claims that Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo is now the leader of the group. He gave a graphic explanation that should be relied on to dismiss Dokubo’s claims. Excerpts:
Is it true that your organization, the Customary Government of Indigenous People of Biafra is now under the control of Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo even though you have been in court with the Federal Government and Attorney-General of the Federation in Suit No. FHC/EN/CS/103/2019?
No. That has never been. We put to notice the defendants in the above-named case now in the Court of Appeal and the general public that Customary Government of Indigenous People of Biafra (with all its structures including MOBIN and Bilie Human Rights Initiative) as the Plaintiff in the ongoing case is not part of the recent body announced by Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo as Biafra De Facto Customary Government Implementation Committee. We have posed five questions to the group concerning the said Implementation Committee, but received no answers. We, therefore, dissociate ourselves from the “Biafra De Facto Customary Government Implementation Committee” as we do not know what the Implementation Committee is going to implement. The plaintiff and its subjects believe in the rule of law and political diplomacy in their quest for self-determination. To this end, we have engaged with the Nigerian government in law and politics to resolve the issue of self-determination. We consulted widely at both national and international levels before we opted for the use of law and political diplomacy for self-determination. The general consensus at the moment as agreed by the governments of various countries that have investments in Nigeria which we have consulted is the restructuring of Nigeria to regional autonomy to bring peace to the country. Consequently, we have submitted the Biafran Memorandum to the Senate Committee of the National Assembly to restructure Nigeria by devolution of power to the six geopolitical regions in Nigeria so that every region would govern itself and develop at its own pace just as it is practised in the United Kingdom where there are four nations in one, namely: Scotland, Ireland, England and Wales. The Laws of Scotland are different from the Laws of England and Wales. If this political arrangement could make Britain to become the stable and prosperous Great Britain we know today, we believe that the same model can make Nigeria to become a stable and prosperous great Nigeria. The demand for devolution of power otherwise known as power sharing between the Federation and the regions by way of political restructuring of the country is captured in Section 4 of the Communiqué issued by Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders Council on Saturday 27, March 2021 in Owerri signed by Igbo leaders and Igbo elders. We are working in line with this vision and master plan drawn by the Igbo nation in 1994 which resulted in the creation of the six geopolitical regions in Nigeria. Regional autonomy is the phase two of the self-determination project. We describe it as freedom within Nigeria. In future, any region that wants freedom outside Nigeria shall pass the Bill of Referendum in the regional parliament for the people to vote either Yes or No just as the Scottish people are doing today. We believe in due process of self-determination and not in arbitrary declaration and unilateral proclamation.
How did you come about this Customary Government ideology?
Our Customary Government was established in Nigeria by a legal instrument known as Deed Poll of Customary Governance duly registered under the Nigerian law. We are Biafrans living in Nigeria. We are the remnants of the Biafrans that were not consumed in the war. We are Biafrans by indigenous identity, but Nigerians by citizenship until we gain independence from Nigeria. At the moment, we are a nation within a nation, a non-sovereign nation within a sovereign nation-state called Nigeria. We are permitted under Customary International Law to live and organise ourselves as a people or a community of people. Consequently, we have appointed our Customary Government envoys to various countries of the world and introduced them to the governments of those countries where they partner with the governments in managing the internal affairs of the Biafrans living in those countries.
What about your modus operandi?
We must be obedient to the laws of Nigeria and the laws of the various countries where we live. We are aware of the defects and injustices created by the current Nigerian Constitution which some groups are seeking to pull down. We agree that the Nigerian Constitution does not reflect the will of the people and must be repealed, set aside and replaced by the peoples’ constitution by due process. However, we believe in the rule of law that every law remains valid until set aside or repealed. For this reason, we have made a very strong submission to the National Assembly in our Memorandum for devolution of power which reflects the will of the majority of the people of Nigeria. It is our opinion that the answers proffered by us in the Memorandum are the panacea for the seemingly intractable problems of Nigeria. We have enquired from the Senate Committee of the National Assembly and were informed that the Senate would soon announce the dates for the Public Hearing of the Memoranda submitted by various organisations for the amendment of the Constitution to reflect the will of the people of Nigeria. We, therefore, call upon all the Biafrans under our administration to continue with their activities and remain patient and law-abiding until the whole process is completed.