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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Buhari should listen to Biafrans -Annkio Briggs

Written by Willy Eya, The SUN.

Annkio Briggs
HUMAN rights activist, Ms Annkio Briggs has advocated for the self-determination of the Niger Delta people and urged member states of the United Nations to support the demand by people of the oil-rich region for the control of their resources. She argues that the nation has short-changed the region for too long.

In this interview, Briggs who is one of the most vocal activists from the Niger Delta bares her mind on developments in the region.

She spoke to Daily Sun after she addressed a conference entitled: "Nigeria: Equity, corruption and justice" on behalf of a group, Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM) in Lagos. Excerpts:

There is a renewed call by the Niger Delta people for the region to be compensated for the devastation of their environment and, they are also calling for self determination; is that not a contradiction?

Right now, the constitution is being governed by the 1999 constitution and whatever they do within the law is based on the 1999 constitution whether they like it or not. The constitution also gives us a leeway to demand for compensation. In terms of compensation for the destruction of our livelihood, the Nigerian government who is a business partner with the oil companies is responsible. The state governments are not part of this business with the oil companies. The other devastation is there and we deserve a right for compensation.

Now, in our requesting for self determination, ownership and control of our land and our resources, it is a basic right ; we have been demanding for it for years and because we are demanding for it today, I do not think that somebody will wake up tomorrow and give it to us. So, while we are demanding for justice for the devastation of our environment, we are also demanding for justice to be able to control our future. If we have the right to control our future on the terms that we are demanding for now, we will not be in this type of situation where our environment has been devastated without anybody giving a thought to the suffering of people being affected.

Now, they are selling a litre of petrol in my area about N300 and my people are offended. Why shouldn't we be? We produce the crude oil that makes that petrol but now there are people in the NNPC that are selling the fuel and distributing it all over Nigeria. They are distributing it unfairly. There are some states that are getting more than other states. There are some states that are not getting the same product at all. In some states, it is N300 and in some states N100 and in some it is the normal price. If that is not injustice, I wonder what is injustice. It is you and I that would change those things and not these people who call themselves politicians.

People are declaring their assets; what is the point in declaring your assets when you go into government if you do not declare your assets when you are leaving government. It is not when you are going in that you would misappropriate the fund but when you are in there.

With all of these agitations from various ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria, what do you think about the future of this country?

I do not know what the future of the country is. I am not a soothsayer but I wish that all the ethnic groups that make up the country would realize that Nigeria belongs to us and that we will be the change that we want to see. We should stop listening to people who said they are bringing change to us. We should determine the change that we want. So, the future I want for Nigeria is the future where Nigeria will stay together as a country and where the different ethnic groups will find justice in the country where they live. This is irrespective of whether they are Ebira people, Kogi people, Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw, Efik, Fulani etc. I believe it is possible but that depends on whether we have the will to make that happen. I am not even talking about political will because when people talk about political will, who determines the political will. We determine political will. What do the people want?

Many say that lack of political will has impeded the Niger Delta peoples' agitation for self determination. Why has it been difficult for the Niger Delta to muster enough will to fight for self determination?

I determine what my will is and my behavior will determine whether I lack the will to achieve what I want. If I say that I want self determination, I am convinced that it is the only way to go, and that conviction has to be based on something. Perhaps, we used to demand for resource control and now we are talking about resource ownership, there is a difference.

So, when people demand for something, and they do not get what they are demanding, they may demand another thing. If you are demanding a half full glass of water and you do not get it, maybe you demand for a full glass of water. So, what is it that we decide that is our will? Since 1998, I have made up my mind after the killing of Ken Saro Wiwa that unless the Niger Delta people are able to realize that nobody is going to give us what we want and that we must agitate for it and insist that we get it, nobody would wake up one morning and have pity for us. They would not say we have taken your oil, you have made enough sacrifices and we have devastated and destroyed your land, we are not going to do it again. 

I am yet to see a president that would be magnanimous enough to make that happen. This is because of the way Nigeria is made. The country is made up of people who have interest in what I consider detrimental to my people. What is that? The ownership and exploring for oil and gas in my region and the way and manner it is done. Now, we have to decide what we want as a people, whether as Nigerians or as ethnic groups that make up Nigeria. And mind you, there is no ethnic group that does not have issues. The herdsmen that we are complaining about their behavior, if you ask them, rightly or wrongly, they have issues. 

They will tell you that they are used to walking their herds from one place to the other. That they refused to recognize, realize or accept that there are states and that those states have boundaries; that if you are a herdsman from Sokoto State, that you really cannot exercise the same kind of right as a herdsman in Bayelsa State. This is because Bayelsa does not have the type of land you can utilize in Sokoto. It is because Bayelsa is a state that has very small land, a lot of marsh land and mangroves. What I am saying is that everybody has an issue. How do we respect and resolve those issues? How do I resolve my issues while allowing you to resolve your own issues? If we have a group of people or a government that would understand our issues and govern according to what our different issues are, then Nigeria has a chance.

Do you agree with those who insist that the implementation of the National Conference recommendations would address the challenges facing the nation?

The implementation of the recommendations would address some of these challenges. The only thing that we did not address at the National Conference was whether Nigeria should stay together or not. But there were some issues that when we were discussing them, they touched on those but not as part of our areas of interest. For instance, if you take the issue of local government, it was suggested that local governments should be autonomous to the states. Therefore, if you want 50 local governments, you can create it but your state should fund it. We agreed that the funding should not come from the federal government. If the funding of 44 local governments in Kano State is coming from the state, the state would not be able to afford it. They are still keeping the present structure because Kano is getting allocation from the federal government. Kano gets allocation as a state and keeps it and still gets allocation for the 44 local governments.

If we look at the report of the National conference and follow it alone, we will answer the questions and correct Nigeria, if not 70 percent, at least 50 per cent of Nigeria would be corrected. There were so many things that we raised at the conference. What we the Niger Delta people are saying is very clear and it is that we do not want the existing sharing formular. When you have 19 states to the North and you have 17 to the South, the North would get more. When you have three Senators from each state at the National Assembly, if the people of the 19 agree on any issue, it is carried and on that alone it is lopsided. If you go to the House of Representatives, it is the same thing. The representation for the 19 is more. 

If some regions have six states and one has seven and another has five even when we had our independence the same day, you cannot say that the regions are equal. If today everybody controls his resources, then if I as a Rivers person is not able to bring out a governor that would manage my resources the way I want it and not the way his political party wants him to manage it, then it becomes my fault. If not, I do not see how a state government would say that it is building a mono rail and spends billions of naira on the project and we are looking for it and there is nothing to show for it. I think that there is something wrong somewhere. This is a Nigerian thing and we should not think that what we are saying is a Niger Delta thing. Let nobody say that we are talking about self determination because President Jonathan lost election. It is not so and for me, it is a distraction. What I am fighting for is justice for my people.

Many people feel that when the former President, Goodluck Jonathan was in power, he had all the chance to right the perceived wrongs being done to the Niger Delta but he did not. Do the Niger Delta people feel that he failed them and do you think that a president from another region would do it for you?

If truly we are governing as one Nigeria, that should not matter. There were things that Jonathan did that the North benefitted immensely from that he did not do for his people. I do not necessarily agree with people when they say that he should have concentrated in his people. If he did, many people could have accused him of having done exactly that. 

This is because he purposely did not concentrate on his people and yet he is being accused of that singular thing. That is why when people say Buhari is making appointments and putting his own people there, I ask them what do you want. He is doing exactly what you accused Jonathan of not doing and you are complaining again. He is looking at his people and saying I will do for my people because they voted me in. When Jonathan did the opposite, some people said it was not still good. The way Nigeria is, it is our fault because we allowed it to be. In all honesty, if Jonathan has concentrated his developments in the Niger Delta, would we not have complained? I expected him to concentrate in the Niger Delta of course. 

That is why I said that we are disappointed in him. The interview I granted, I do not know whether you saw the headline. We are disappointed in him because we expected him to concentrate on us. But he did the right thing because he was not the president of Niger Delta. Neither is Buhari the president of his region. He is the president of Nigeria. That he is now becoming the president of people who voted for him does not mean that he is right. The fact that Jonathan did not see the need to immediately concentrate on his people in his first four years, some of my people are not happy about it. For me, I wish he has concentrated on us. But I am not saying that he was wrong in concentrating on others. I am just saying it. If he had concentrated on us, we would not have the problem we are having now but today, we have nothing to show that we had a president from the Niger Delta.

The Niger Deltans are asking for self determination while the Biafrans are asking for a separate state of their own, what is the difference in the two agitations?

The Biafrans are saying that they want a different country but we are saying that we want self determination so that we can control our immediate areas of responsibility and pay tax to the federal government. That does not seem that we are asking for a different country of our own. It sounds like people who want to do for themselves what no other people can do for them. It is like confederation. What we have today is precisely that the centre takes everything and decide what you get whether you are dying, dehydrating or not. When they give you your allocation, they feel you have taken your quota for the month.

On the issue of the Biafrans, if the Nigerian government wants to discuss with the Boko Haram, why not discuss with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Odi was destroyed and so many Niger Delta areas have been destroyed. What would have impressed me is that if President Buhari is going about asking for help to rebuild the North East and to negotiate with Boko Haram so that we can have security and stability, then he should include places like the Niger Delta and the Igbo people and find a way round their grievances and not have this mentality that 95 per cent voted for him and that five per cent did not vote for him.

In Nigeria, the North feels that they have certain political advantages which they use against other ethnic nationalities, when do you think we are going to achieve national cohesion?
That is why it is important that we begin to recognize that it is necessary for us as a people to realize that we are one country made up of different people with different needs and different times. Therefore, our development must be based on a lot of things and not just one particular thing that is decided by the government. There should be a synergy between the government and the different people, otherwise, why did they create the states. Why couldn't we just have Nigeria without boundaries and nothing? That is how it is being run. We are told that that is how it is but truly, that is how it is.

What we are saying is that we want justice and equity in this country. You cannot have people mining for gold everyday in the North or whatever it is they are mining and you say it is legal and you come to the Niger Delta and you arrest boys that are jobless and getting what is in their land. If you want Nigeria to move forward, these are the things we should look at. The people who are mining gold in the North or whatever, give them licences. Let them do it properly and mine whatever is in their land. The people in the Niger Delta, allow us to refine oil. In my community today, there is no filling station, yet we have oil. By the time they bring the finished product and by the time the oil subsidy thieves transport that 87/ litre petrol to my community, the cost of transportation has made it to be N150. There are people who do not own cars in this country but they are subsidizing fuel for the people who are driving cars.

What is your assessment of the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari?

I do not see myself as a government person. This is because government is to serve the people but as far back as I could remember, government has always felt that the people are to serve it and not the other way round and that is the problem we are having.

On the ministerial appointments, do you think that what we have now in the cabinet are the best in terms of the personalities involved?

No matter what I say, meanings would be read into it because of where I come from and maybe because of the political leanings that I have. These ministers have just four years, God should give us life, let us watch them. We saw what the other ministers did, let us watch and see.
If Nigerians feel that this is the change they want, that is okay, I did not ask for change.

You are a major stakeholder in Rivers State where you come from; are you not worried with the protracted crisis in the state?

Why would I not be worried? I have always been worried. Since 1998 and since democracy when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo became president, it has always been like that. Some of the problems started when Obasanjo interfered in the election of the state. He interfered in the politics of Rivers State as far back as 2007 when Chibuike Amaechi got the PDP ticket and they said he was not the right person and that his ticket had 'K' leg and at the end of the day, Amaechi became governor. At the end of the day, there was reproach, retaliation and it became government of vengeance and all of that.

No comments:


I am an Igbo, I was born an Igbo, I live the life of an Igbo, I come from Igbo, I speak Igbo, I like to be Igbo, I like to dress in Igbo, I eat Igbo food, my heritage, culture and tradition is Igbo, my parents are Igbo.

Am sorry I cannot help it if you hate my lineage. Am sorry I cannot help it if you detest Igbo, am sorry I cannot help it if you hate me because am Igbo. Igbo is who I am, my name is Igbo and I must die an Igbo.

You see Igbo as a threat, why? You call Igbo rapist, criminals, ritualist, prostitutes, kidnappers. You attribute all negative vices to represent Igbo? Why do you do that? You do because you feel threatened that Igbo might outrun the rest of the tribes. Why do you hate Igbo and despise us? You do that because we are creative, enlightened, hardworking, industrious, genius, intelligent, smart, rich, beautiful and amazing. But its difficult for you to admit it because you feel jealous of my race.

Igbo do not own politics, Igbo do not control the economy neither do we control the natural resources and the common wealth of the nation. You do, we don't and yet, despite the fact that you own everything, we still remain one indispensable race that has outshined the other race in all ramifications.

You fear us because you want to exterminate and annihilate our race, you deny us many things and yet we are stronger, richer and mightier. You fear us because we are everywhere. You fear us because no matter how rural a place might be, when Igbo steps in, they turn it into a Paradise. We have our own resources, which lies in resourcefulness, we do not bother you and your control over the polity, but yet when we cough you and the other race begin to shiver.

Am proud being an Igbo, am proud of my heritage and culture. Igbo means high class, Igbo means independence, Igbo means hard work and strength, Igbo means riches, Igbo means resourcefulness, Igbo means self belonging, Igbo means self esteem, Igbo means pride, Igbo means swag.

Udo diri unu umunnem.
# IgboAmaka
# AnyiBuNdiMmeri

Michael Ezeaka

This is beautiful poetry ...

In response to Alaba Ajibola, the Babcock Lecturer Hate Speech against Igbos.


In Igboland women live apart from their husbands and neither cook for them nor enter their husband's quarters when they are in their period. They are seen as unclean. Even up till today such practice is still applicable in some parts of Igboland especially by the traditionalists. Before a woman can enter the palace of Obi of Onitsha, she will be asked if she is in her period, if yes, she will be asked to stay out.

Leviticus 15: 19-20
When a woman has her monthly period, she remains unclean, anyone who touches her or anything she has sat on becomes unclean.

An Igbo man's ancestral heritage, called “Ana Obi” is not sellable, elders will not permit this. If this is somehow done due to the influence of the West the person is considered a fool and is ostracized by the community.

1 Kings 21:3
I inherited this vineyard from my ancestors, and the Lord forbid that I should sell it, said Naboth.

Igbos have practiced the taking of a late brother's wife into marriage after she had been widowed until the white men came. Now it is rarely done but except in very rural villages.

Deuteronomy 25:5
A widow of a dead man is not to be married outside the family; it is the duty of the dead man's brother to marry her.

In Igboland, there is a unique form of apprenticeship in which either a male family member or a community member will spend six (6) years (usually in their teens to their adulthood) working for another family. And on the seventh year, the head of the host household, who is usually the older man who brought the apprentice into his household, will establish (Igbo: idu uno) the apprentice
by either setting up a business for him or giving money or tools by which to make a living.

Exodus 21:2
If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay you anything.

In Igboland , the yam is very important as it is their staple crop. There are celebrations such as the New yam festival (Igbo: Iri Ji) which are held for the harvesting of the yam. New Yam festival (Igbo: Iri ji) is celebrated annually to secure a good harvest of the staple crop. In the olden days it is an abomination for one to eat a new harvest before the festival. It's a tradition that you give the gods of the land first as a thanksgiving.

Deuteronomy 16:9
Count 7 weeks from the time that you begin to harvest the crops, and celebrate the harvest festival to honor the lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Celebrate in the Lord's presence together with your children, servants, foreigners. Be sure that you obey my command, said the Lord.

In Igboland it's a tradition that the male children are circumcised on the 8th day. This tradition is still practiced till date.

Leviticus 12:3
On the eighth day, the child shall be circumcised.

In Igboland, there is a practice known as "ile omugwo ". After a woman has given birth to a child, a very close and experienced relative of hers, in most cases her mother is required by tradition to come spend time with her and her husband. During which she is to do all the work of the wife, while the new mom's only assignment to the baby will be to breastfeed. This goes on for a month or more. In the Igbo old tradition, at this time, the new mom lives apart from her husband, would not cook or enter his quarters.

Leviticus 12:1-4
For seven days after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean as she is during her monthly period. It will be 33 days until she is ritually clean from the loss of blood; she is not to touch anything that is holy.


The Igbo tribe is in a serious problem and danger of extinction for the following reasons:

50% of Igbos are born outside Igbo land. Meaning that those children are not likely to live and work in Igbo land and cannot speak Igbo language but foreign language (Yoruba, Hausa, French, English).

40% of Igbos girls between the age of 25 & 45 are single with no hope of marriage because 35% of Igbo boys live overseas and they have all married white ladies.

75% of Igbo youths leave Igbo land every year in search of opportunities in Yoruba, Hausa land or overseas.

85 % of Igbos have family houses and own investments outside Igbo land. They strongly believe in one Nigeria but failed to know that NO Yoruba or Hausa man has a family house or investment in Igbo land.

Igbos are the only people who believe that living outside their land is an achievement.

Igbos are the only tribe that celebrate their tradition outside their land e.g. Eze Ndi Igbo, Igbo Village in America and this is because they have family homes in foreign lands.

Igbos have failed to know that the children you have outside Igbo land especially overseas will never think of living in Igbo land. So what happens to the properties you are building for them when you are gone?

Igbos are the only tribe who see their land as a place to visit or a tourist site than a place to work and live.

Igbos are the only tribe who instead of promoting and appreciating their culture through movies and documentaries they have sought to ridicule it by portraying rituals, killings, wickedness, love for money and other social vices which were not originally inherent in our culture thereby cursing more harm than actually promoting their culture.

Igbos are the only people who without hesitation believe their history and description when it is told or written by an enemy or a foreigner. E.g. that you do not love yourselves or that you love money.

Igbos are the ONLY largest tribe on earth who fought for their independence and failed to achieve their freedom after 40 years.

Igbos are the only tribe who fails to honour their brave heroes and heroines especially the innocent children starved to death during the Biafran war.

Igbos are the only tribe who embraced their enemy after a bloody civil war and subsequently become slaves.

Igbos do not find it necessary to teach their own version of history to their children.

Igbos fight for marginalisation in Nigeria but has no collective strength or teeth to bite.

Igbos how long are you going to fight for your relevance in Nigeria?

How long are you going to fight for a functional airport, rail networks and other structural establishments that underpin sustainable development?

How long are you prepared to wait for your enemy to guide you to your destiny?

Oh Igbos!
Where are your leaders?

Unfortunately, none of them live and work in Igbo land. If you wish to save the future of your children, your identity, your generation and your race then you need freedom and that freedom is Biafra.

Ukpana Okpoko gburu bu nti chiri ya!

By Chime Eze

The Igbo: We die for causes, not for personalities

Written by Emeka Maduewesi

~on fb. 28th September, 2016.

The Igbo will never die for anyone. We will not even riot for anyone. But the Igbo will die for any cause they believe in because the Igbo have a true sense of justice and a determination to obtain it.

The Igbo will not riot because one of their own lost an election. Operation Wetie was the Western response to a massively rigged 1965 election. The Yoruba doused fellow Yorubas in petrol and burnt them alife. Properties were burnt with occupants. The Igbo will never do this.

In 1983, the Yoruba went on a rampage again over the massive rigging by NPN. Lifes were lost and properties destroyed. The riots were over personalities.

Contrast that with Anambra State where Chief Emeka Ojukwu was rigged out by his own NPN, who also rigged out Chief Jim Nwobodo. The Igbo did not protest because the goat's head is still in the goat's bag.

In the North, ba muso was the battle cry when Sultan Dasuki was imposed on the Sokoto Caliphate. The riot and protest lasted for days and crippled economic activities.

The Igbo will riot over issues and causes. The Aba Women Riot was over Tax. The Enugu coal mine riot was about conditions of service. The Ekumeku Uprising was over British colonialization.

Those of "Ekumeku" ancestry - Umu Eze Chima and Umu Nri - were at the forefront of the struggles for Nigerian independence, with people like Dr. A A Nwafor Orizu and Chief Osita Agwuna serving prison terms. Any struggles the parents could not conclude is continued by the children by other means.

The Biafran war was a response to the genocide. The war in fact was brought upon us. The battlefield was Eastern Region. The war ended in 1970 but the issues and causes were not resolved. That is where we are today.

The Igbo will also jointly rise to fight evil in their midst. They did it in Onitsha in the 1980's, Owerri in the 90's, and with Bakkassi in the 2000.

The Igbo will not die for any man. But the Igbo will stand by any man who symbolizes their cause and their pursuit of justice. Even if the man dies, the struggle continues, and like the Ekumeku warriors, the children will pick up the baton from their parents.

This is the Igbo I know, the Igbo I am, and the Igbo we are. This is my story. Feel free to tell yours.


"My boy, may you live to your full potential, ascend to a dizzy height as is possible for anyone of your political description in your era to rise. May you be acknowledged world-wide as you rise as an eagle atop trees, float among the clouds, preside over the affairs of fellow men.... as leaders of all countries pour into Nigeria to breathe into her ear.

But then, Chuba, if it is not the tradition of our people that elders are roundly insulted by young men of the world, as you have unjustly done to me, may your reign come to an abrupt and shattering close. As you look ahead, Chuba, as you see the horizon, dedicating a great marble palace that is the envy of the world, toasted by the most powerful men in the land, may the great big hand snatch it away from you. Just as you look forward to hosting the world’s most powerful leader and shaking his hands, as you begin to smell the recognition and leadership of the Igbo people, may the crown fall off your head and your political head fall off your shoulders.

None of my words will come to pass, Chuba, until you have risen to the very height of your power and glory and health, but then you will be hounded and humiliated and disgraced out of office, your credibility and your name in tatters forever...”


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