On the 6th of April 2018, a blogging site known as “BVIChannel” published an article written by Barrister Emeka Emekesiri with the title “Three Options To Achieve Biafra.” Two (second & third) out of the three options ventured into the legal specialty known as Jurisprudence and which has been clearly explored by early Philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and lately by Ernst Fuchs, Julius Stone, and others.
For those who are yet to read that article, here is the link:…/three-options-to-achieve-biafra-…/.
This article was given wide publicity on various social media platforms by friends and organizational associates of Barr. Emekesiri (BHRI, CG-IPOB, MOBIN, etc). It is yet to be determined if those who publicized this article thoroughly read and examined the assumptions and assertions contained therein. Before deconstructing this article, here is a summary of what Barr. Emekesiri wrote:
1) Military method is one of the three options to achieve Biafra and he emphatically, without empirical evidence, asserted that “Biafrans have therefore rejected the option of war in the present dispensation.”
2) Legislative Power is another option to achieve Biafra. He stated that he was disappointed that nobody among the Biafran members at the Nigerian National Assembly came forward to accept and place before the National Assembly a Bill he proposed for Referendum or Independence. In a somewhat contradictory statement to his positivism on the proposed Bill, he explained the impossibility of getting such a Bill passed considering the lopsidedness of the National Assembly which is tilted in favour of the Northern region. He further made a case why our people must participate in Nigeria’s political process despite his own observed lopsidedness in the composition of the National Assembly. He was silent and intentionally dodgy on the legality of the instrument by which the political process is engendered, i.e. the Constitution. Barr Emekesiri also contended that the only way to engender Referendum is through a Bill that would be sent to the National Assembly for ratification otherwise there will not be any Referendum, hence his insistence that Biafrans must participate in Nigeria’s political process.
3) Judicial Power is a third option to achieve Biafra and he noted that this encompasses “human rights litigation and diplomatic negotiations at national and international levels.” He further averred that CAP 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (L.F.N.) 1990 provides for the right of self-determination. I do not know if Barr. Emekesiri is not aware that this Law he quoted had been replaced by CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004, hence my concern that he is quoting an abandoned/replaced Law. Also, I believe he was making reference to Article-20 of this CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004.
Barr. Emekesiri argued that the Nigerian Judiciary has the power to enforce CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004 just as Nigeria was compelled by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give up their claim over Bakassi. He assumed that the enforcement capacity and capability are the same for both ICJ and its African equivalent from which CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004 is derived. He also assumed that giving up a portion of Nigeria (Bakassi) that was pre-agreed between Yakubu Gowon and Ahmadu Ahidjo during Nigeria’s genocidal war on Biafra is the same scenario with Nigeria giving up the entire Biafraland which consists of current Southeast and South-south geopolitical zones. Finally, he asserted without proof that the map of Nigeria has been redrawn and he also surmised, though wrongly, that BHRI will be given an audience at the ICJ to represent Biafrans if justice is not obtained in favour of Biafrans within Nigeria’s jurisdiction.
Those versed in General Jurisprudence or Legal Theory have posited that, for a given geopolitical and sociopolitical entity, there are two levels of Law and these are; (a) The Constitution and (b) The Acts of Parliament. In Nigeria, the Acts of Parliament is known as “Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (L.F.N.).” The Constitution is by default enacted, made, agreed to, and approved by the citizens whereas the Acts of Parliament are proposed and enacted into law by the Representatives of the citizens.
The Constitution is made once and subsequently amended by the citizens and their Representatives whenever necessary but new Acts of Parliament can be enacted and brought into effect anytime by the Representatives without recourse to the citizens. Typically, an amendment to the Constitution is a tripartite process involving both arms of the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly but it does not need the Executive President’s signature. On the contrary, an Act of Parliament requires the President’s signature except where the Constitution mandates the National Assembly to overrule the President when he or she refuses to sign the Act in question. Finally, in ALL the cases globally, the Constitution is superior to the Acts of Parliament except where the Constitution itself provides exemptions such as in Section-315(5) of Nigeria’s fraudulent Fulani Constitution.
Although my personal preference is a non-violent approach to issues of self-determination, I do know that violence or war has helped many nations in gaining their independence. Examples abound on countries/nations that got their independence through violence and/or war. As at today, many upcoming countries are still toeing the path of violence and achieving their independence through same. In recent times, South Sudan, Eritrea, and the new countries from the Baltics are a few examples of countries that got their independence through violence/war. It is true that the International Community does not support any war but when Indigenous People are pushed to the wall and faced with extinction, as is the case in Biafra, the only option available is violence and/or war. In ALL the situations known in world geopolitics, it is only when violence or war is initiated that the International Community begins to pay attention and mediate with a view to aiding the oppressed gain their sovereignty. The three examples mentioned above are irrefutable. Therefore, Barr. Emekesiri’s assertion is wrong because violence and/or war is the fastest way to gain independence and the Biafrans are at liberty to deploy it if and only if they have the wherewithal, strategic alliance, and discipline to follow through with it. Also, I fault Barr. Emekesiri’s assumption that “Biafrans have therefore rejected the option of war in the present dispensation” unless he provides verifiable evidence to back up that assertion.
There are two issues here which bother on (a) the legality of the Nigerian Constitution and (b) certain provisions within the Constitution itself.
Going by the explanation given above on how a Constitution is made and by whom, Barr. Emekesiri ought to know that the legality of Nigeria’s Constitution is in question. The preamble is an outright lie as well as Section-2(2) which wrongly situated Nigeria as a “Federation” when Nigeria does not have the basic ingredient of a Federation which is “the union of Constitutions.” Barr. Emeka Emekesiri was old enough as at 1999 to remember that the citizens of Nigeria never made, enacted, or gave themselves the said Constitution which originated as Military Decree #24.
It beats my imagination on how Barr. Emekesiri will draft a Referendum Bill with the expectation that such a Bill will be successfully passed considering Sections 48 & 49 of the Constitution and how these Sections affect the composition of the National Assembly. In making a case for the participation of Biafrans in the political process in Nigeria, the germane questions to Barr Emekesiri are; By what Constitution will the elected politicians govern in Nigeria? Who made that Constitution? Are you aware that every elected politician must subscribe to Schedule-7 and have you thoroughly read that part of the Constitution? If, for argument sake, the Bill is passed, are you not are aware that such a Law will lead to the exit of a certain part of Nigeria which contradicts Section-2(1) and will trigger the enforcement of Section-1(3)?
I would like to remind Barr Emekesiri that the Referendum which Biafrans are gunning for is one that will be mandated and supervised by the United Nations (UN) which is external to and above the powers of Nigeria’s National Assembly. Here are a few examples of Referendums conducted without passing a Bill through the National Assembly of any country;
(i) The Naivasha Agreement of January 9, 2005, paved way for Referendum on South Sudan and this was not done through a Bill to the Sudanese National Assembly but happened due to the intervention of the UN and Intergovernmental Authourity on Development (IGAD).
(ii) After 30 years of brutal war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 47/114 on December 16, 1992, for Referendum on Eritrea which was conducted between April 23rd and 25th 1993, leading to the independence of Eritrea. The Eritrean Referendum was never taken through Ethiopian National Assembly.
(iii) Barr. Emekesiri needs to know that the UN Security Council Resolution 690 of April 29, 1991, is for the upcoming Referendum on Western Sahara, which did not wait to be passed through the National Assembly of Morrocco.
Therefore, the argument that a Referendum on Biafra must only come through a Bill passed by the National Assembly is untenable.
Of course, this is not denying the fact that there are examples of where the National Assembly passed a Bill that dissolved a country. A typical example being the Constitutional Act 542 of November 13th, 1992 which resulted in the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the independence of Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1, 1993. But keep in mind that both Czech and Slovak parliaments existed autonomously from the day of independence from Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. Even at that, it was the Slovak parliament that declared independence on July 17, 1992, which triggered the resignation of President Vaclav Havel and causing the agreement between Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar to dissolve the union of Czech and Slovakia otherwise called Czechoslovakia. This scenario is not the same as in the British-created criminality and contraption called Nigeria.
I make bold my invitation to Barr Emekesiri to give us at least one example of a country that achieved its independence by “human rights litigation and diplomatic negotiations at national and international levels.” As stated earlier, the Constitution of any country is the supreme Law except where there are caveats expressly stated in the same Constitution such as in Section-315(5). The caveat under this Section does not include CAP-A-9 L.F.N. 2004 which Barr Emekesiri wants the Judiciary to enforce over and above Section-2(1). Barr Emekesiri must know that other than the Laws listed in Section-315(5), every other Law in Nigeria must comply with Section-1(3). As a matter of fact, CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004 is now null and void and of no effect because of Section-315(3) since the National Assembly has failed to bring it into compliance with Section-2(1).
The Nigerian Constitution does not recognize self-determination, period! There are only two ways to make self-determination plausible and these are; (i) to insert it directly in the Constitution as a subsection in Section-2 or (ii) to include it as part of Section-315(5) which now puts it above the Constitution like the other Laws stated in that Section. Any other palliative will not stand debate in the court especially when queried by tested and experienced Lawyers who specialized in Jurisprudence such as Tony Nnadi Esq., Malcolm Omirhobo Esq., Dr. Fred Agbeyegbe Esq., and Prof. Akin Oyebode Esq.
Barr. Emekesiri must understand that Yakubu Gowon and Ahmadu Ahidjo reached an agreement to cede Bakassi to Cameroon in return for Cameroon blocking Biafra from getting external supplies for the execution of the war as well as for humanitarian purposes. Cameroon waited for the execution of the agreement which was not forthcoming, hence the lawsuit at ICJ. Secondly, Barr. Emekesiri should be informed that it is only a sovereign nation recognized by the UN or special agencies of the UN such as WHO, UNIDO, FAO, UNESCO, etc that can bring a case to the ICJ. BHRI is not a special agency of the UN and cannot be allowed to bring a case to the ICJ. Let it be known to Barr. Emekesiri that the Constitution of Nigeria did not change the boundaries of Nigeria or lend credence to any change of map. Therefore, technically speaking, Bakassi is still part of Nigeria based on the current Constitution of Nigeria.
In summary, the arguments based on the three options proffered by Barr. Emekesiri is hollow and unrealistic. If pushed to the wall, Biafrans may resort to violence and/or war to extricate themselves from Nigeria. Biafra’s Referendum for independence can be achieved through UN’s mandate and without going through Nigeria’s National Assembly. Already, Barr. Emekesiri has confessed that a higher authority such as the ICJ can compel Nigeria to do its bidding. The ICJ belongs to the UN and Biafrans are engaging the UN to mandate and conduct Referendum on Biafra. The Nigerian Judiciary will never place CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004 over and above Sections 2(1), 1(3), and 315(3) of the Constitution. There is no Constitutional provision to support the enforcement of Article-20 of CAP A-9 L.F.N. 2004 and the African Union does not have the capacity and capability, like the UN through its organs, to enforce this Article-20. Again, I strongly urge Barr. Emekesiri to get in touch with the experts in Jurisprudence such as Tony Nnadi Esq., Malcolm Omirhobo Esq., Dr. Fred Agbeyegbe Esq., and Prof. Akin Oyebode Esq. for better advice.
Written by:
Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya
Houston-Texas, USA
April 7, 2018


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