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You will recall that on Friday, June 9, 2017, the Eastern Mandate Union (EMU) had in extraordinary emergency meeting following quit notice issued to Ndigbo living in northern Nigeria by the confederate of Arewa Groups issued a communiqué requesting all our people living in northern Nigeria to begin making preparations for relocation down south especially to their homeland.
We are further alarmed that despite the condemnations of that quit notice by various sections of Nigeria and the international community, the Arewa Youths have continued to act like the lords of the Manor; and have continued to intensify their threats with neither reason their guide nor cause their actions. Despite the directives by the Inspector-General of Police for the arrest of the leaders of the Arewa Youths, there appears to be a glaring incapacitation and unwillingness on the part of the security agencies to rein in the Arewa Youths and bring them to justice. Rather, we have been inundated with tepid assurances from both the government and some northerners that there is no cause for worry by the Igbos. We are not taken in by these vague and sham assurances basically because these are the same rhetorics that preceded the 1966 pogrom.
We wish to inform the Nigerian authorities and the international community that in the 1966 pogrom and the resultant civil war, over 3million Igbo lives were wasted. One cannot but imagine the colossal loss in human capital which the Igbo have had to endure. As if this is not enough, the massacre of Ndigbo in the north has continued unabated under various guises, the most prominent being religious fundamentalism.
The facts about the massacre of Igbo soldiers during the war are still emerging. We have concrete evidence to show that Igbo soldiers captured as prisoners of war by the Nigerian authorities during the war were slaughtered in cold blood. This is utter disregard for the rules governing the treatment of prisoners of war, which are clearly spelt out in the Third Geneva Convention of 1949. Article 13 of the Convention requires that POW’s “must at all times be treated humanely,” and goes on to list a number of specific requirements: they must not be killed, seriously endangered, mutilated or subjected to medical or scientific experiments. Furthermore, they must be protected against acts of violence or intimidation, and against “insults and public curiosity”. Igbo soldiers captured by Nigeria during the civil war were killed in clear and premeditated violation of this Convention. General Alani Akinrinade has given a graphic exposé on how Gen. Benjamin Adekunle slaughtered the Igbo soldiers, whom he (Akinrinade) released after the war.
While some Igbo elders and human rights activities are presently exploiting legal redress of this violation of human rights against our people by instituting actions against the Nigerian state in Washington DC and the International Court of Justice in The Hague, especially for the slaughter of Igbo civilians in Nkpor, Onitsha, Asaba and Aba by Nigerian soldiers led by Nigerian amy chief, we wish to warn that Ndigbo will NOT tolerate another round of massacre in 2017.
This warning has become expedient given the murderous threats from one Brigadier Bello that the Nigerian army will crush the Igbo and their agitations for justice and fairness in Nigeria. Ndigbo cannot be crucified because they are asking for a fair deal in Nigeria. As we pointed out in our earlier Communiqué on this matter, Ndigbo have borne the brunt of the contradictions in Nigeria for no fault of theirs other than their ability and capacity to succeed where others have failed.
We are not unaware that some people of southeast extraction, due to political expedience, have sold their souls to the devil and have gone deep in collaborating with forces outside Igboland to wreck havoc on our people. We have at our disposal hard visual and audio evidences to show that a sitting governor in the southeast is collaborating with outsiders and has provided enormous financial support to the Nigerian Army and Police to procure arms. We are aware that Igboland has become a dumping site for all categories of arms and ammunition- trained not against outsiders but on Igbo people.
We wish to reiterate that the agitation for self-determination is entrenched in various international treaties which Nigeria is a signatory to. The communiqué issued by the Arewa made copious allusions to these treaties. We are justified in our struggle for self-determination since the Nigerian state has bluntly refused to submit itself to a thorough-going process of restructuring. We are justified in our struggle as a means to right the wrongs and injustices committed against our people in the past fifty years. We are justified in our struggle on account of our collective survival and determination to take our destiny in our own hands.
In the Nigerian conundrum, Ndigbo can no longer be made the scapegoats, nor can we again be accused of secession. Our agitation for self-determination has given rise to a worldwide wave of support and approval such as rarely has been seen from many parts of the world. The ordinary man and woman in the street have risen behind our demand and proclaimed “enough is enough” to the northern cabal that has seized this country by the jugular since 1966; they have cried out “enough” to the Nigerian authorities and pontificating leaders in which on so many occasions and moral cowardice and cynical expediency have combined to drag Nigeria down to the depths to which it has plunged. In more ways than one, the Nigerian State is in the dock today. The world will judge Nigeria by its response to the Igbo agitation in the present dispensation; because never has the issue been so clear cut.
We cannot be killed because we are making genuine demands for a better deal in Nigeria. Ndigbo will not be cowed by venal threats and intimidations nor can any person hope to appropriate Igbo investments outside Igboland in the event of the dissolution of the Nigerian state. Ndigbo cannot allow a repeat of “abandoned property” saga. Let no one delude himself about this. May we state that a desire and public proclamation for the State of Biafra cannot be different from a Quit Notice by the north, which amounts to a declaration of a new State of Nigeria without the Igbos. Nigerian authorities must realize that what is happening now is more serious than the events of 1966. Once again, we urge our people to make haste and leave the north while the sun is shining. The threat from the north is real and we must be vigilant even in our own space. God bless Ndigbo
Dr. Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo Muoneke Nwigwe
Chancellor, Eastern Mandate Union (EMU) Secretary, Eastern Mandate Union (EMU)
Director of Publicity, Eastern Mandate Union (EMU)