The founder of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Emeka Emekesiri, on Wednesday, revealed how the British Government opposed creation of Biafra as an independent state, maintained that it wanted a one indivisible Nigeria.
Emekesiri, who addressed a select journalists in Enugu on the struggle for Biafra, noted that they had an agreement with the British Government that Nigeria should be restructured into six regional governments that would be autonomous but within a one country Nigeria like British model.
He said “In 2018, we opened up discussion with the British government, we met them three times and the last time, they told us clearly that they want Nigeria to be one, they don’t want Nigeria to break up. It said it wants Nigeria to remain as one country.
“So we asked them how do we solve the problem of incompatibility, people of the north east and west unable to leave harmoniously. The killings of one another because of differences of ideology and lifestyle. How do we do it so that the clashes will stop?
“They asked us for our proposal and said that as far as they were concerned they want Nigeria to be one. We were there as Biafrans Living in Nigeria and our Movement is Movement of Biafrans in Nigeria (MOBIN). So we are Biafrans in Nigeria. We had made it clear in our suit versus Nigeria that we are Biafrans living in Nigeria. So we are Nigerians by citizenship, but we are Biafrans in indigenous identity.
“We are Biafrians because we were not annihilated during the war and that is clear to both British and Nigeria governments. If Nigeria had annihilated Biafrans the way Romans annihilated Cartage, there wouldn’t have been anybody to talk about Biafra again, but they couldn’t and so we are the remnants of Biafra and we establish our customary government of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra in Nigeria.
“The British said fine, what do you want? We came back to consult our elders and we drafted a memorandum to be submitted to the British parliament.
“We sat down with elders and said we can’t fight with Britain as world power but that we can as well copy the British nations of nation model that maintain their indigenous identities such as Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland. We went to the British archives and got the British government policy of 1969 and used it to draft a memorandum which we presented to Britain.
“In the memorandum, we accepted that Nigeria should remain one, but that the model as it is in Britain, let it be also in Nigeria. Britain is four nations in one, in Nigeria we want six in one and that is the South East, the South-South, the South West, the North Central, the North West and the North East. These six geopolitical regions shall now become six nations in one Nigeria and every nation will govern itself in one Nigeria; control your resources, develop at your own pace and we pay an agreed percentage tax to the centre.
Emekesiri, said that he was not surprised that the Senate after their meeting with the British government, started talking about amending the Nigeria constitution.
He stated that the amendment schedule of the Senate item two talked about restructuring and devolution of powers which, he said was their prayer seven in “our originating summon already in court. But without prejudice, we prepared our memorandum and filed it with the Senate.”
“So the Biafra memorandum for devolution of power to regions is currently with the senate. So, any moment from now when the hearing begins we shall go for the public hearing and defend our proposal.”