A Memo To Ndigbo In Diaspora By Dr. Law Mefor

Here is the summary of the state of affairs in Alaigbo. This memo has become necessary following high-level misinformation and disinformation – outright propaganda – being spread abroad about the true situation at Igbo land.

One is privy to the happenings in Alaigbo through involvements in many pan Igbo organizations such as Igbo Bu Igbo Social Cultural Foundation (IBI), Igbo Ekunie Initiative and Igbo Leadership Development Foundation (ILDF), which is an affiliate of Ohanaeze, among others – all incorporated and known to the Nigerian law. 

Here are some facts that may help you in understanding the true situation of things in Alaigbo and Nigeria. On security: Security situation in Alaigbo is poor but not as dire as painted. Other parts of the country are actually worse off. Boko Haram is alive and well in the North East and killing in hundreds as usual, and bandits are also killing in hundreds in the North West. 

The security challenge in the South East is essentially that of the activities of the herdsmen that are not checked by the federal government and its security agencies. But it is not limited or targeted at the South East alone. In fact, the Middle Belt is the worst hit, especially Southern Kaduna, Plateau and Benue States where thousands have been killed. South West has been also hit which led to the formation of Amotekun essentially to checkmate the nefarious activities of herdsmen in that region. 

There are pockets of isolated attacks here and there in the South East caused by the herdsmen. This has further been complicated by the influx of people suspected to be more herdsmen and happening within this COVID-19 lockdowns and Interstate travel bans. The Southeast governors have responded and agreed to Community policing, which will be State and LG controlled. At state level, the governor will be in charge and at LG level, the LG chairman is in charge. Each town is to form a functional vigilante service where none exists, to maintain security and keep their forests free of introducers and unwanted elements. 

Igbo diasporas are expected to help in forming and funding vigilantes in their respective towns as their reasonable contributions to Igbo homeland security. Forming and arming of another group outside the vigilante will be seen by the Federal Government in negative light and a dissident group. Let us be forewarned.  

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On what Ndigbo in Nigeria want: It is important to note that the official Igbo position in the present-day Nigeria is Restructuring i.e. restoring Nigeria to the federal system agreed upon with Britain by the Nigerian founding fathers. The understanding of Ndigbo regarding Restructuring is contained in the document adopted at the Awka Igbo Summit aka Awka Declaration, 2018.  

It is important to note that the generality of Ndigbo in Nigeria are not pursuing Biafra exit or sovereign state of Biafra but a Restructured Nigeria. There is quite a few doing that though for the reason that Ndigbo are marginalised and excluded from the scheme of things, which most of us believe will fizzle out if Restructuring is achieved. 

On Ohanaeze: Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide under Chief Nnia Nwodo as President General has been taken to greater heights. Apart from spearheading the Awka Declaration, Ohanaeze has been able to inspire the formation of the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Forum. The unprecedented August 4 zones’ body has adopted Restructuring as their common ground and pursuing it together. The body visited the National Assembly to demand Restructuring. However, Ohanaeze Ndigbo needs repositioning and to be fully connected to Igbo diasporas. The Ohanaeze secretariat in Enugu is not ICT compliant and grossly underfunded. Its website is not optimised and the new Ohanaeze Constitution is still under review though nearing completion. Ohanaeze has also effectively connected town unions and Ndi Eze in Igbo land. Much still has to be done to make Ohanaeze a truly umbrella pan Igbo organisation. 

On Sovereign State of Biafra: The pan Igbo organisations I am involved in have reviewed critically the conditions precedent for the realisation of SOVEREIGN state of Biafra and came to a firm conclusion that Biafra can be realised through one of the following conditions:

1) Mutual and consensual dissolution of the Nigerian union;

2) Through war and convulsion of State into submission and breaking away by force as we attempted over 50 years ago; and

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3) Through the intervention of the United Nations as a common superior via a referendum and affirmation of the 5 super powers including Britain and 2/3rd of the member nations of the United Nations.

Options 1 and 2 are a no-no for the North and Britain. In fact, a Biafra organization, which happens to be a faction of IPOB, led by the late Chief Dozie Ikedife, the late Justice Eze Ozobu, and the late Col. Achuzie and Barr. Emeka Emekesiri – all founders of IPOB before Nnamdi Kanu broke away; wrote the United Kingdom Government on the desire of Biafra to exit Nigeria. UK replied stating unambiguously that they would not support breaking up Nigeria; that they would continue to respect the territorial integrity of Nigeria but will support a Restructured Nigeria that is democratically done. That correspondence signed by the current Prime minister of Britain Boris Johnson, can be accessed and its authenticity confirmed.  

Question is: If Britain must vote for Biafra to break away and they are saying no, what other options are left for Biafra exit? They are Diplomacy and politics. Let it be said without equivocation that Ndigbo cannot afford another civil war. The ethnic group is yet to recover from the one they fought between 1967 and 1970. There are fake documents flying around purporting that Biafra is coming soon. Two documents in my possession and can be made available on request are claiming that the Biafra referendum shall come this September, 2020. This is a blatant lie and very cheap and childish propaganda. 

For a referendum to carve a nation out of a SOVEREIGN nation there are things that must first happen. The most important is political control of the area, which is an irreducible minimum. That means Biafra agitators must be in political positions in Biafra land, as has happened in Biafra in 1967, and currently in Amazonia seeking to break away from Cameroon, Catalonia Spain and a number of others. There must be a government controlled by those seeking independence. This is not the case today in Biafra land where Biafra agitators have shunned political participation and have no political control whatsoever.  

Please note specifically, the UN General Assembly and Security council must vote in affirmative, including the 5 super powers before a referendum can take place in any country. This has not been done. So, why should anybody claim or believe that the Biafra referendum is here? It is nowhere near please and I stand to be contradicted.  

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The challenge before Ndigbo is simple and basic. The immediate challenge confronting Ndigbo is Igbo homeland security. You are strongly advised not to fund any group for security of Igbo land. You will be arming a group that will be deemed as a dissident group by the Federal government. It was the formation of the Biafra Security Service (BSS) that gave the Nigerian military the excuse to launch Operation Python Dance II.  

Since you all belong to towns in Igbo land, the most realistic thing to do is sending money to your respective towns’ vigilante services. If your town does not have a vigilante, help to form one. It is the vigilante outfits that can bear authorised light weapons legally under the watch of the Southeast governors as chief security officers.  

Outside that, we will be setting up the Southeast for destruction. Half of North East is gone with terrorism and they will not mind turning South East into something similar at the slightest provocation.More importantly, before Biafra comes (if it will come), which may not happen in a decade, Ndigbo have to fight for their rights in Nigeria – Restructuring, Nigerian President of Igbo extraction, fair representation, and so forth. 

 It is NOT wise for Ndigbo to shun their rights while waiting and hoping for a Biafra whose date is indeterminate and elusive. The Yoruba are fighting for and getting all their rights in Nigeria while pursuing their Oduduwa Republic. The disruption of census in Alaigbo in 2006 by Ralph Uwazuruike and MASSOB is what has made Ndigbo a minority in Nigeria today, going by our small population recorded in that census exercise.  

As Ndigbo would say, uzu amaghi akpu ogene ya nee egbe anya na odu. That is to say, the blacksmith who does not know how to make a metal gong should imitate the tail of the kite.  

What are your thoughts?