‘I Don’t Want to be Regulated by Biafra’, UK-based Igbo Woman Speaks
A UK-based academic of Igbo origin who simply wants to be identified as Miss Mbah has told SIGNAL she does not want to be regulated by Biafra because she believes they are not ready and for them, tradition precedes the law that governs society.
In a chat with SIGNAL, Miss Mbah said, “As an Igbo woman, I do feel like we are not being represented enough in the central Government. Of course there are many reasons to this, some political and some just moral. As a result, I do understand the frustration of other Igbo people and the thirst to be independent. However, Biafra is not ready. I as an Igbo woman would not want to be regulated by Biafra, their tradition precedes the law, women are still the lower sex, some traditions needs to be left at the door if Biafra is to become its own state.
“The territory of Biafra is not equipped to be independent. Many Biafrans argue that the hausas and yorubas are frustrating us. To that I say, what about your fellow Igbo man that will happily kill you for a piece of land. Should you not fear the enemy within more than that outside?
“I would love a united Biafra one day, but that day is not even near. The unemployment rate in Biafra territory is laughable. How can they survive as an independent state without any money and only dependent on oil. I do know that there is their main argument, the fact that Nigeria is exploiting their oil, but they fail to understand that oil is not the only thing that can sustain a nation.”
Speaking from a legal perspective, she said that Biafra does not posses the qualities to even exist as a state. “According to the Montevideo convention which is a piece of international law that governs statehood as to when a country can be said to possess the qualities and criteria to become a state. Now Article one of the 1934 convention states “The state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a ) a permanent population; b ) a defined territory; c ) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states”. So the state needs to satisfy these qualifications before it can be said to possess the status of an independent state”, she said.
Shedding more light on the issue, she noted that although Biafra may have satisfied the above criteria in terms of a) and b), the issue of territory is still under debate and caselaw has shown that the court will be flexible when it comes to the issue of territory. “But qualification c) provides for an independent government, that which Biafra does not have at the moment. The governors and the senate within the Biafra territory are all connected to the Nigerian Government and they answer to the Nigerian Government. Therefore, they are not an independent government. Finally d) provides for a capacity to enter into relations with other countries. It is obvious that Biafra as a state has not done so. So in conclusion, Biafra has not satisfied all the qualifications. Even if Biafra becomes a state, without the recognition of other states, it will be difficult for it to survive recognition under Art 3, 6 and 7 of the same convention”, Miss Mbah concluded.
Biafra was a secessionist state in south eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, taking its name from the Bight of Biafra (the Atlantic bay to its south). The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. The creation of the new state that was pushing for recognition was among the causes of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War.
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