Press Release On The Arrest And Detention Of Nnamdi Kanu

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We the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprised of individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora unequivocally condemn the illegal arrest and incarceration of Mr Nnamdi Kanu the director of Radio Biafra by the DSS, and we demand his immediate release. We have in the past few months and weeks of Buhari’s administration observed with great concern a strident campaign of repression and human rights violations as it concerns non-violent self determination activists exercising their fundamental right to free speech and association. We note that the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu signals an escalation of such human rights violations and repression for which the Buhari administration is becoming notorious for in a supposed democracy.

We observe that while the Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of speech and association, the right to self determination is an “inalienable right of all peoples and or indigenous peoples by virtue of which they can freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development” as enshrined in the founding Charter of the United Nations. In addition, other international and regional instruments including the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights of 1981, the Helsinki Final Act adopted by the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in 1975, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 1993 amongst others have all adopted the fundamental right to self determination as an integral part of their statutes. The international court of justice (ICJ) has likewise validated the right to self determination as guaranteed by international law in several judgements including the Namibia case, the East Timor case and the Kosovo case in 2010.

Igbo Ekunie Initiative therefore find it strange and unacceptable  that whereas the Nigerian state won independence from the British Colonial Government in the first instance on the basis of the right to self determination and whereas  Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi  Awolowo  and other self determination agitators  were never  arrested by the British Colonial authorities in the course of advocating  self rule, the Nigerian state has oddly chosen to kill, brutalise, maim and detain those seeking self rule on the same premise as the founding fathers did. We warn that no nation can ultimately be built or held together by force just as no marriage/association should be by force. The fact of Nigeria’s increasing existential crisis and the proliferation of self determination groups in the aftermath of a civil war fought to keep the country together vindicates the futility of war and or repression as a means of nation building.

We submit that the  fundamental drivers of the agitation for self determination/self rule by various groups is rooted in the contradictions, injustices, marginalisation, dysfunctional structure, human rights violations, unitary system, inequality and  absence of nation building that are the hallmarks of the Nigerian state. Igbo Ekunie holds the view that failure of government to holistically address the underlying issues that give life to separatist agitation through the implementation of the National Conference Report of 2014 in the first instance, the further  convening of a  Sovereign National Conference with the ultimate aim of building national  consensus and producing a nation building constitution and  the establishment of a nation building commission or ministry charged exclusively with implementing reforms geared towards the consolidation of national integration and unity remains the only sure path of  ending separatist agitations.

We call on the peace loving people of Ndi-Igbos to remain calm, law abiding and steadfast, and avoid playing into the hands of the current government which is looking for the slightest excuse to descend on them to maim and kill with impunity. The darkest hour of the night is always towards the dawn. Igbo Ekunie encourages Ndi-Igbo to continue with their lawful and dignified defiance and take solace in realization that the end to our slavery is nearer today than how it was yesterday.

Finally, we maintain that a nation must of necessity be built by mutual/democratic consent and not by force. The Quebec Independence Referendum of 1995, Scottish Independence Referendum of 2014 and the Catalonia Independence Referendum of 2015 suffices to vindicate the inalienable right of self determination and nation building through democratic consent  to which all people’s are entitled under international law, alongside freedom of speech and of association as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution. We therefore call on the federal government to immediately and unconditionally release Nnamdi Kanu and all other detained activists, and to put a stop on the clampdown, maiming and killing of agitators.

Maazi Tochukwu Ezeoke                                                                                                                Lawrence Nwobu

President Igbo Ekunie Initiative                                                                                            Secretary Igbo Ekunie Initiative

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1 Comment on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Lem O. Ejiogu October 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm -

    THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!

    THIS IS ADEQUATELY WORDED AND COMPOSED AND COMPILED. AND JUSTIFIES THE SANITY OF EVERY FULL LIVING HUMAN BEING IRRESPECTIVE OF ETHNICITY!

    LET THE “LEADERS” KEEP DISGRACING THAT NATION. THE WORLD IS WATCHING!

    AND THE BOKO HARAMS HAVE ALL THE FREEDOM OF ACTION WHILE PEACEFUL SEEKERS AERE HARRASSED