From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Following the Nigerian Army’s warning to ‘individuals or groups that threaten the peace, security and stability’ of the country, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Asari Dokubo’s ‘Biafra De Facto Customary Government’ have issued their responses.
IPOB, reacting through its spokesman, Emma Powerful boasted that they won’t be intimidated by the army, saying that the group’s armed security unit, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), is equal to the task.
‘They can run their mouth for all we care when the time comes they will know the stuff ESN is made of, they can threaten any other group, not IPOB and ESN. We are seven miles away from them. Nigeria Army and police are cowards, they can’t test us, if they do they will regret their actions against this outfit,’ Powerful said in a statement.
‘The defence minister and his army chief of staff can brag about what they will do to IPOB, which is a lie. What Boko Haram members are doing to them in the North-East will be a child’s play compared to what they will receive from ESN and its operatives because we are owners of the land.
‘IPOB is a very powerful movement across the world that nobody can intimidate; they can be parading their fake news and propaganda to deceive the gullible in Nigeria, when the time comes they will understand what awaits them. Naturally, we are not looking for security officers but if they venture to try our resolve, we will display it with them,’ Powerful boasted.
Dokubo, on the other hand, while reacting through the head of Information and Communication of his ‘Biafra De Facto Customary Government’, Uche Mefor, explained that they are not at war with the Nigerian government but are exercising their legitimate rights.
‘Nigerian state agents are entitled to their opinions but our claim and assertion to our rights to self-determination are firmly entrenched and rooted in international law. The Biafra nation has come to stay. The Biafra De Facto Customary Government has come to stay. We have not challenged the Nigerian state but firmly found its legitimacy and position within the confines of the international legal order,’ Mefor stated.
He added: ‘On the other hand, to the contrary, the Nigerian state has subjected majority of the ethnic nationalities and their populations to unimaginable horror, intimidation, sustained systematic human rights abuses, denied them the rights to freely choose their political future (internal self-determination) and this has come to a stage where her sovereignty is now being called to question.
‘The right to self-determination is a human right. Article I of the Charter of the United Nations recognises the right to self-determination which underpins its universality, article 1 article common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which states that all peoples have the right to self-determination.
‘By virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’.
‘Article 20 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981 recognises the rights to self-determination and it subsequently domesticated in Nigerian law under CAP 10 laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 as amended.
‘We are not at war with the Nigerian State, we are doing everything within the confines of the law both domestic and international.
‘Why would any of our men be harmed when they have not committed any crime nor go on the offensive against Nigeria. If Nigeria does that, it then means that Nigeria is herself violating international law and specifically the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights to which she is a signatory,’ Mefor stated.