Letter to the British Prime Minister-Boris Johnson-Mazi Obi Okoli
Nigeria: Amalgamation, Restructuring and Biafra Freedom
In my letter to the British High Commissioner in 2017 while responding to an article published in the Vanguard Newspaper (Nigeria) article – “Restructuring: the UK is for a united Nigeria – High Commissioner”, published on 20th January 2017, and written by Soni Daniel, editor for Northern Region, the UK government through the High Commissioner to Nigeria, referred to the British amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 and made a case to stop blaming your government but voiced your strong support for a “united” Nigeria.
Our History, Issues and Concerns
Whilst we agree with your government that modern Nigeria is an independent nation, we are compelled to remind you that Nigeria, is made up of various native countries with clear linguistic and cultural identities that existed as independent peoples prior to the arrival of British government and its explorers in our land, as well as its amalgamation of 1914. As your former colony, we strongly believe that UK government understands the geographical entity and has enough evidence that attests to this truth.
We recognise and strongly support UK’s right to hold its own view on diplomatic support, ties and alignment with nations. As an indigenous people and native country, known for freedom and republican way of life that pre-existed the arrival of European explorers – the great William Balfour and many others, we have no problem with your government going further to exercise its right to support Nigeria’s Federal Government as its choice. However, we hope that your government, as one of the pillars of democracy, fairness, freedom and human rights, would not blatantly, unjustly and unfairly deny us our rights to self-determination, self-government, political and economic freedom as an indigenous people, and native country through your strong support for a “unified” Nigeria?.
We are concerned that your continued support to the Federal Government of Nigeria could now be considered strong attempts to deny us our rights as indigenous people and humans with fundamental rights, to decide how our economy and our indigenous territories are led, influenced and empowered in today’s global politics despite your recognition of the extent of underdevelopment “unified” Nigeria has remained?
As a Christian nation, we are afraid that your strong support for a “united” Nigeria even at the continued cost of our lives and hard-earned properties due to violent hateful religious intolerance of our Muslim compatriots, denial of human rights, political discrimination, and glaring underdevelopment of our region and people, may be strong support to racial, economic and political injustice contrary to your beliefs and laws. Yes, we are concerned that you may be, unfairly and unjustly, perhaps ignorantly, supporting the underdevelopment, harassment and intimidation of indigenous people and fellow Christians by Nigerian Federation and its security institutions.
The UK government and its laws that we understand, is entirely against any of the above. Are you aware that Nigeria is full of discriminatory and unjust policies that are meant to cripple (hold down) some regions and peoples economically? Ironically, you have advised that we work together to strengthen Nigeria’s ‘constitution’, and that Nigeria seeks political and legal (civil) solution to issues in the oil-producing Delta region of the lower Niger River.
We imagine what can be strengthened in the constitution if not to continue to suffocate its own alleged citizens and constituent parts; impoverishing us economically just to keep Nigeria united whilst in Europe you have successfully determined your political and economic future freely through a referendum? We are afraid, that advice comes as deception and double-standard when you would continue to work for continued unification of the entity Nigeria even at the cost of the freedom and rights of the humans in that entity but in your own country you support and practise the opposite. Perhaps, was your advice on improvements to the constitution a call for your ‘strong’ support to the Nigerian government to recognise peoples’ rights to a referendum?
It is on record that you recently granted such right and freedom to your Scottish region. And the entire UK had it recently from the rest of Europe. You would agree with me that the above highlights of injustices, deception and suppression of human rights are some of the reasons 1960 “independent” Nigeria is still underdeveloped, and may not prosper until these are corrected justly and politically, whilst prioritising the wellbeing of the inhabitants.
It is the very reason it shall remain underdeveloped unless you changed from strongly supporting a “united” Nigeria held by force to strongly supporting a “united”, perhaps a loosely “united” Nigeria held by political and economic freedom, fairness and equal rights to every constituent regions and indigenous peoples. A loosely “united Nigeria” that is focused more on relationship based on trade and mutual political understanding and respect where each constituent indigenous country controls its destiny, its economy, policies and perhaps its political boundaries if they decide.
Would your government agree that some of these indigenous countries it met when Her Majestic’s emissaries and explorers set foot on our land, if not all, have been fighting to reclaim their violated identities and boundaries since the 1914 amalgamation? Although you are right that 1960 independence that gave birth to a free geographical space known today as Nigeria marked one of such resolutions, you are probably aware that many countries especially the Biafran territories have continued to affirm and justify their strong belief in self-rule, self-rediscovery and self-government.
Unfortunately, many of those independent indigenous countries and peoples met by your explorers have continued to be suffocated, limited and unfairly forced into one political entity, known as Nigeria without any choice to re-negotiate their membership as every union demands. Please be aware that this political event (or mistake) made in 1914, which was partially corrected in 1960 by your government, but has continued to draw calls for total freedom by some sections of Nigeria, deprived our peoples’ rights to live as economically and politically free native people and region. We are more than ready to provide facts to prove these injustices and losses. We are therefore, strongly engaging and driving our continued push for total and peaceful political and economic freedom from independent and democratic Nigeria to empower our peoples and live freely.
Please we call on your great country and government to review its position, actions, history and support our drive for a referendum in line with your recent approaches to similar political issues in UK and Europe. We plead with you to strongly condemn the ongoing State sponsored harassment, killings and intimidation of unarmed Biafran activists in their native land, and their incarceration in Nigeria prisons. We hope you would see reasons to consider recognising and supporting our self-determination and self-governing rights to freely choose and decide where to belong and how we trade as an indigenous country, with clear boundaries that existed before the arrival of your great explorers, and your 1914 amalgamation to a unified Nigeria?
Please consider our renewed and strong call for your Majestic’s government to support democratic, peaceful and our just movement to engage and dialogue with Nigeria and the international community, for the freedom of indigenous Biafran territories from modern democratic Nigeria?
Whilst we seek your strong diplomatic support and fairness towards our peaceful political freedom, please we are engaging with you and seriously seeking to open a new diplomatic relationship that would be beneficial to both of us at least as Christian nations who understand the sanctity of human lives and freedom.
We call on you to use your good offices to ask for the unconditional freedom of our sons currently been abused, tortured in different prisons in Nigeria.
We ask you to advice the Nigerian government to organise a referendum for South Eastern Nigeria to agree if they want a separate country of Biafra.
We request that you advise the Nigerian government to cease the illegal occupation of Eastern with their occupation military intimidating the people of the territory daily.
We request an immediate dialogue with the leadership of the Eastern Nigeria on the continued participation of the region in Nigeria when it is apparent present government does not treat them fairly.
Mazi Obi Okoli (OjeluIgbozi)