Bruce Fein, a United States-based lawyer for Nnamdi Kanu, the embattled leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has asked the United Kingdom to enable a referendum for the Igbos in the South East to decide if they want to remain in Nigeria or have a sovereign state of their own.
Fein, in a letter addressed to the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, chided Britain for supporting “a lawless united Nigeria for UK’s ulterior motives”.
The commissioner had in a tweet expressed delight after meeting with the president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador George Obiozor, over what she claimed was a prospect for a united Nigeria.
A copy of the letter, issued by Barr Aloy Ejimakor, Kanu’s special counsel, Fein stated, “Even more reprehensible was your tacit enthusiasm for a united Nigeria, indistinguishable from a suicide pact for Biafrans. As you know, Nigeria was artificially created by the United Kingdom (UK) at the point of machine guns in 1914.
“The UK forced the Biafran people, with a right to self-determination, against their will into a combustible mixture of incompatible ethnic groups under the umbrella of UK sovereignty.
“The UK decamped in 1960, leaving Nigeria poised to explode like nitroglycerin. The 1967-1970 genocide of Biafrans, aided and abetted by the UK itself, was as predictable as Newton’s laws of motion.”
He said the international law permits the people of South East to seek self-determination.
In his words, “Prior to compelled unification in 1914, the British negotiated treaties with Biafra. A jus cogens norm of international law endows the Biafran people with a right to self-determination against a Fulani-controlled Nigerian government that has notoriously excluded all Biafrans but a handful of bribable defectors from the corridors of power.
“One stark fact speaks volumes. No Fulani has ever been prosecuted and punished for murdering a Biafran in the history of Nigeria!
“Self-determination stands at the apex of all internationally recognized human rights because it is preservative of all others. Self-determination is a shield against oppression by the tyranny of the majority or the ruthless.
“The UK insisted on self-determination for Protestant Northern Ireland to forestall probable persecution by the Roman Catholic Republic of Ireland.
“It supported a 2011 South Sudan self-determination referendum to redress the persecution of the largely Black, Christian-Animist minority in Sudan by the Arab-Muslim governing majority.”
He decried British support for a lawless Nigeria, and called on the UK to rather be ‘advocating a United Kingdom suit against Nigeria in the International Court of Justice for denying the people of Biafra a self-determination referendum as required by Article I of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and an infinite number of corresponding human rights treaties and resolutions’.
According to him, “It is the least that the UK can do to atone for its egregious crimes and sins against the Biafran people that have persisted for more than a century. Self-determination is too important to be left to temporizing or tergiversation”.