The Council of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) held its meeting in Enugu on October 13 and 14, 2017. The Council deliberated on various issues including some critical political developments in Nigeria in general and in Alaigbo in particular.
On the proscription and banning of IPOB:
The ADF Council rejected the proscription as well as the banning of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra organization (IPOB) on the allegation that the IPOB is a terrorist organization.
The Council reaffirmed her views as expressed in the Communique issued after the Council’s meeting of May 29, 2016 that the IPOB was a serious organization pursuing a non-violent struggle for Self-Determination. ADF is aware that the campaign of Self-Determination is a form of struggle that is very common in the history of the crises-ridden Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Agitations for self-determination across Nigeria have been bred by several factors including the parochial management of the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as if it is the property of a section of the country; the control of the resources of the country without any concern for the interest of those from whose territories the resources are derived; the inherent abuse of power, manipulation, and corruption in the system; the obvious widespread ethnic and religious cleansing targeted at Ndigbo and other ethnic groups in the Republic by one section against the rest, the brazen destruction of farmlands, killing of innocent farmers of target ethnicities by Fulani herdsmen edged on by their owners and patrons with the connivance of Federal Securities; all these have led to agitations for self-determination by the affected sections of the country.
Yesterday, it was the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the Niger Delta Agitators waging stern campaigns for freedom and Self-Determination. The IPOB emerges as a unique pedigree of the non-violent struggle for Self-Determination engaging in peaceful rallies, expressing radical views which under normal circumstances may be unacceptable. IPOB has in a very unique manner tried to prove its authenticity as an expression of the peoples’ yearning for freedom, justice and equality. What else could be a stronger evidence of the synergy between its agitations and the peoples aspirations than the way and manner the people in and outside mainland Alaigbo both in Nigeria and across the world responded to and obeyed the May 30, 2017 Sit-At-Home Call by the organization.
ADF believes that only leaders who do not care about the life and aspirations of those they claim to lead would ignore such a signal as the May 30 Sit-At-Home call by the IPOB. Indeed only such leaders can take delight in suppressing legitimate agitations, subjecting innocent children and their mothers to all forms of torture, humiliation and abomination.
ADF is aware of the strong-arm tactics and blackmail used by the Federal Government of Nigeria to force the Governors of the South-East to succumb to the invasion of Alaigbo after blackmailing the IPOB. ADF is also aware that none of these Igbo sons, no matter the lure of personal gains, was smiling and toasting to abuse of power while viewing those innocent unarmed youth shot to death, some subjected to various forms of inhuman treatment including being forced to drink stagnant, muddy water and drowning in it. Nor were they comfortable beholding the sanctity of Igbo women being publicly assaulted by the Nigerian soldiers.
Yes, ADF was never a flute player for the IPOB. Rather ADF did her utmost to play the role of OKPUOBU in the series of interactions she had with the leadership of IPOB, ADF did sternly caution IPOB leadership against any excesses in their agitation, including rejection of the IPOB campaign against the November 18, 2017 Governorship Election in Anambra State.
The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) had meetings with the ADF leadership at which we discussed many issues including the ferocious non-election-in-Anambra campaign of the IPOB. ADF was on the threshold of a joint-Press Conference scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th, 2017 where the IPOB would announce her withdrawal of the campaign against the Anambra State Governorship Election. Unfortunately, and most tragically, two days to that date we read that the Nigerian Army had commenced their INVASION AND OCCUPATION OF ALAIGBO in the guise of the so-called OPERATION PYTHON DANCE during which the home of Nnamdi Kanu was attacked and many unarmed youths were slaughtered.
ADF Council notes with emphasis that IPOB had remained a non-violent self-determination agitation group, which several national and international protocols give it right to. We underline therefore that IPOB is not a terrorist organization and should be allowed, unmolested, to continue its non-violent agitation. We also note that, regardless of the truncation occasioned by the Nigerian Army, IPOB had agreed to withdraw its no-election campaign in Anambra State. Council salutes IPOB for that epoch decision, showing that it is an organization ready to listen to their elders, especially when handled with the wisdom with which Igbo Elders handle their angry youth and other citizens.
On the Military Invasion of Alaigbo:
The ADF reiterates our grave concern over the very provocative and gruesome murder of unarmed civilians and the invasion of the home of Nnamdi Kanu in the name of military exercise by the Nigerian Army supported by tanks and military aircrafts. It is obvious that the brutal killings of these unarmed civilians, mostly youths amount to sheer genocide and therefore condemnable under the Nigerian law as well as international law. ADF and other Igbo citizens and stakeholders are challenging the constitutionality of the deployment of soldiers in the SouthEast when there is no war nor any semblance of aggravated civil crises in the territory. ADF is also joining other forces to place this gruesome attack and massacre of the innocent children of Alaigbo before the legal conscience and arbitration of the international community.
Meanwhile, ADF calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to institute a national judicial inquiry to investigate the circumstances of the killings and bring all those responsible to justice.
On the Case before the Federal High Court Enugu:
ADF believes in non-violent means of agitation and recourse to the rule of law. Although we considered the deployment of the Nigerian Army to the South-Eastern parts of Nigeria an illegality, we however opted to resist this imposition through the Nigerian legal system. Thus, on the 14th of September 2017, ADF instituted a court action at the Federal High Court in Enugu seeking an injunction for the immediate cessation and withdrawal of the Nigerian Army from Alaigbo and a declaration of the action of the Federal Government of Nigeria as unconstitutional amongst other things.
Although we are being warned that Nigeria is a lawless State, where the legal system is under the firm grip of Mr. President and his allies; and that even if the courts show enough courage to follow the path of legality, the Executive will not honour their ruling. Despite this, ADF shall continue with this legal challenge. Nigeria will not remain a lawless country forever.
On the Treachery of Certain Political Leaders:
State Governors, State legislators and others in positions of authority in Alaigbo should not abdicate their responsibility and surrender their constitutional powers over the affairs of their respective states. There is a posterity to which all men must answer to. History will not be kind to any treacherous leader who sells the lot of his/her people for personal gains.
Among other pressing issues, State Governors, as the Chief Security chieftains in their various states, should investigate how the Fulani herdsmen acquire their AK47s and other sophisticated arms they use in terrorizing and killing citizens in their very homes and farmlands. They should set up vigilante groups to monitor the reported flow of arms and Fulani terrorists into various parts of Alaigbo. Every single trailer entering Alaigbo, including those presumed to be carrying cement, foodstuff, animals, etc should be thoroughly searched to ascertain the authenticity of their luggage.
On the attack of the home of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the IPOB and the desecration of the Palace of His Royal Highness, Eze Kanu, the father of Nnamdi Kanu.
It is an abomination and the sign of the worst form of ill-will in Igbo culture and indeed in most other cultures in Nigeria to invade the Obi (palace) of a traditional leader. It is a sign of war. ADF, therefore, calls on the South East Governors to take immediate steps to protect the palaces of our traditional rulers. Council calls on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State to immediately ascertain the level of damage to the palace of Eze Kanu, construct him a befitting palace in a new site while retaining the present palace, in its present conditions, as an antiquity and a tourist center so the world will be constantly reminded of the predicament and repression of Ndigbo in Nigeria, particularly under the present administration.
On the desecration of Igbo women whose sanctity were violated by the Nigeria military, ADF calls on the Abia State Governor to encourage traditional rulers in Abia State to perform the necessary absolution to cleanse the land of this dreadful cultural and spiritual abomination.
The Imperative of Political rather than Military Solution to the Challenge of Biafra:
ADF is of the view that the Federal Government led by Gen Muhammadu Buhari has not explored, let alone exhausted the political solution to the separatist demands of the IPOB, contrary to what happens in other parts of the country. Separatist demands has occurred again and again in the history of the Nigerian Federation. Some have been ignored or even inadvertently encouraged by those in high authority. It is on record that President Buhari himself, as the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), spoke against what he considered to be a repression of the Boko Haram. The Boko Haram was at the time, as it still is now, engaged in bloody campaign to create an Islamic Republic out of the existing Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Unfortunately, the ISIS eventually hijacked Boko Haram from the control of the Arewa leaders. In their place the Fulani Herdsmen took over and have continued to wreck untold havoc on the lives and property of innocent citizens in various parts of Alaigbo, Yoruba land, Edo State, Southern Kaduna, Benue State, Plateau, etc; and they are shielded by security forces of the Federation.
Council therefore counsels with the APC government under General Muhammadu Buhari to explore, in its entirety, the political and dialogue options in settling disputes, especially the genuine challenge of Biafra.
ADF Council Condemns the Militarization of the Nigeria Federation by the Buhari Administration.
ADF watches with grave concern, the systematic militarization of the entire Country and Alaigbo in particular by the current administration. The road blocks and military installations in the South East are very reminiscent of a Country in a state of war, albeit, with herself.
ADF urges the President to withdraw these soldiers to the barracks. Those calling for Restructuring must bear in mind that no meaningful Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation can take place unless the Nigerian Military ceases to be a Fulani Military. The Reorganization of the Nigerian Military is imperative if we are dreaming of a Federation of Free and Equal citizens. All the arrogance exhibited in the discourse on Restructuring is borne out of the fact that the Nigerian Military and Security Forces are under the absolute control of the Fulani, Arewa Muslim forces.
Supply of arms to the Government of Nigeria in the face of Ethnic and Religious Cleansing:
ADF calls on all people of goodwill and the international community to ensure that the arms being supplied to the present regime is not used for the killing of innocent civilians nor applied to advance the cause of ethnic and religious cleansing. During the invasion of the South-Eastern States by the Nigerian military, sophisticated heavy weapons purchased with our tax money, such as the MRAP, and attack helicopters and Alpha jets were used. This is in direct contravention of the condition of the purchase. ADF, therefore, calls on the International Community especially the United States of America and Turkey who only recently supplied arms to the government of Nigeria to note and halt further supplies and patronage, in order to avoid continuing the aiding and abating ethnic and religious cleansing currently going on in Nigeria
Worsening Cases of Human Rights Violations in Nigeria.
ADF salutes the courage of the Amnesty International on its investigation of human rights abuses in Nigeria. Council calls on the rest of the International Community to join hands with the Amnesty International to investigate the worsening cases of ruthless violation of human rights especially in the South-East and other areas.
Call to Resist Forceful Islamization as well as Respect for Religious Freedom in Nigeria.
ADF calls for the spirited resistance of Islamization and forceful conversion of innocent youths to Islam through other covert and overt means. Council asserts that the religious freedom of individuals and groups must be respected. Council further, most strongly, condemns the politicization of religion by the present administration in Nigeria. We wish to inform the international community that, at no time has Christianity been under tremendous threat in Nigeria, than under this present administration. Council therefore requests assistance from countries and international organizations in helping to stop the on-going forceful Islamization of the Christian Communities in Nigeria.
Growing the Economy of the Igbo Nation Through the Invest-At-Home Strategy, Call on Ndigbo to Embrace Invest-At-Home (Akuruo Ulo) Movement.
ADF Council considered the economy of Alaigbo in the context of current developments in Nigeria. Council notes that nothing is being done by the present administration to promote the economy of the South East. In fact, everything is being done to the contrary.
Power supply is key to modern economic growth. Power supply to the South East is systematically undermined to force Igbo industrialists to site their industries elsewhere in Nigeria to grow the economy of such places and watch their own homeland industries decay. The Oji Power Station, the first in Nigeria constructed by the Michael Okpara-led Eastern Nigerian Government, was deliberately destroyed to stall industrial development in Alaigbo. The Geometric Power Company in Aba, the brainchild of Prof Bart Nnaji that would have permanently solved the power supply problem in the East has not been able to take-off after years of dedicated efforts and enormous financial investment because of vested interests in and outside Alaigbo.
On the transportation sector which is sine qua non for industrial and economic growth, while successive administrations made efforts to rehabilitate the Lagos-Kano rail line and is now fully functional, the one from Port Harcourt to Kaduna, because it passes through the Alaigbo has been totally neglected. A new rail master plan for Nigeria carefully left the entirety of the South East, while Daura, the hometown of President Buhari, was included. The roads in the South East is pitiable, ably demonstrated by the pools of dirty water that occupy the roads which the Nigerian Army soaked and forced armless Igbo youths in recently.
Council calls on the state and local governments in Alaigbo to create the enabling environment to welcome investments into the region. Council notes efforts at state economic summits but wishes it be taken beyond that by creating a Regional Economic Development Commission that will holistically handle economic development in Alaigbo. A planned linkage of roads and rail lines will make all parts of Alaigbo accessible from any other part under one hour. So people can live anywhere and work anywhere, if the linkages are right. Governors should therefore not be thinking in terms of their states but in terms of the entire region.
Council notes and commends the reconstitution of the South East Governors Forum and the South-East/South-South Governors’ Forum. These developments are primary steps in taking the economy of the regions to the next level.
Council therefore reminds Ndigbo that it is their duty, and no one elses, to programme the economic development of Alaigbo even as stark opposition comes from anti-Igbo forces in Nigeria.
Council calls on all Ndigbo to embrace the ADF Invest-at-Home movement and Aku-Ruo-Ulo philosophy which ADF launched in 2015. This will help create the necessary employment for our teeming qualified but unemployed youths. This will also stop the raging poverty in the land. Council wants our people in the Diaspora, who have the means to come, invest and develop Alaigbo to reduce the tremendous, orchestrated suffering of our people.
National Assembly urged to investigate the Allegation that President Buhari had asked the World Bank to concentrate its Activities in the North.
Council viewed with serious trepidation, the allegation that the President of all Nigeria, asked an international organization of the status of the World Bank to be selective in its development activities in Nigeria, concentrating same in the North. If found to be true, Council sees it as a serious breach of his oath of office. We call on the National Assembly to investigate sordid revelation by the World Bank Chief himself. This is not just shocking but goes to expose President Buhari and his migrant Fulani ethnic nationality flawed and illusory thinking that Nigeria is a conquered territory.
13, Inter-Ethnic Solidarity For Freedom and Justice
Finally, Council notes the resurgence of understanding among Nigerians of other ethnic nationalities that Ndigbo indeed has been pursuing a worthy cause in aid of the struggle for Equity, Equality, Freedom and Justice. We note with renewed hope that came from vehement condemnation of the Arewa Youths June 6 Quit Notice to Ndigbo from Northern Nigeria by the Northern Christian Elders Forum, the Middle Belt Forum, the Yoruba Nation, the South-South and other groups, too numerous to mention, in defense of the Igbo. Council also notes the swift reaction of the international community in condemning the dastard act.
ADF and all Igbo patriots do appreciate you all. We will always stand with you to fight, albeit through constitutional means, the Fulani hegemony and territorial quest under the guise of jihad, which has amply come to light under the APC Government led by President Mohammadu Buhari.
Only a combined and dedicated alliance of all lovers of freedom, equality and justice from all the various nationalities can liberate the people from the desperate determination of a minority ethnic nationality to impose its will on the rest of the nationalities in Nigeria.
Prof. T. Uzodinma Nwala
Dr. Dozie Ikedife
Prof. NATH Aniekwu