Uche Mefor

In the first part of this interview, Uche Mefor, Deputy Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Deputy Director of Radio Biafra, declared that Biafrans – like every other people in the world – have a right to defend themselves. In this concluding part, he explains the real meaning of self-defense.

Some people say IPOB has gone violent, is it true?
We have maintained that we are peaceful, we never pretended about it, and our track-record is there for all to see. We have maintained also that we are the original owners of the land of Biafra, and that we want to restore our nation, Biafra. We want to live in our country, our nation, Biafra to achieve our full potentials. We have resisted violence, and that is why in spite of all the provocations from Nigerian government – the shooting of unarmed IPOB members, the forceful deprivation of our properties – we have refused to retaliate; and we have refused to react the way they wanted us to. This is simply because we are organized, we are focused, and we have an agenda, and we are following it methodically. We have long determined that nobody will write another agenda for us. They have severally tried to take our attention elsewhere, but we have refused to derail from our path.
We are exploring and following all the democratic principles and procedures on the ground. Indeed, we intend to continue to do that. Now it is equally very important that we make everyone to understand that just as all human beings are; just as Nigerians are; just as every other country in the world are; just as American citizens are; just as Japanese citizens are, just as world citizens are, just as they all have the fundamental human rights, so also do Biafrans have them. Just as they have the right for self-preservation, and the right for self-defense, so do Biafrans have. Just as these people have these rights, even the right to defend themselves, so also do Indigenous People of Biafra also have these rights, including the right to defend themselves.
In addition, these rights to self-defense is embedded and recognized both in national and international law. What we have just said is that those who are killing IPOB family members must now realize that we are also human beings and that we also have our fundamental human rights to be respected. We have our freedoms to be respected, and indeed, we also have our right to defend ourselves. That we will do, simply because we are humans and we have the right to do so.
They have continued to kill us and have continued to attack us, and we have also maintained, with available evidence on the ground, that Biafran people are the most endangered species of human beings on this planet earth. We are singled out for total extermination and destruction, and the Fulanis with their Hausa slaves, led by Buhari this time around are making good their promise.
So all the killings, all the torturing of our people, all the commission of crimes against humanity that have been done to our people – with the heat of the Aba killing – it was only reasonable for us to express our feelings against the killings. What we have said is that “we have the right to self-defense”.
Well, we know that a lot of people were determined to twist it and explain it in the wrong way, even out of proportion. Some of them, especially the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Army, and the entire Nigerian establishment went out to say that IPOB members have said that they are now carry arms. But that is not true.

So what is the true position?
Self-defense can be anything. You can defend yourself by activating your legal rights – you can go to court and you can protest to authority. You can as well be confrontational. So it is not a specific kind of action. What we have said is that we have the right to defend ourselves and we have activated it.

Ok, how about the court case at the International Criminal Court (ICC), is it still going on?
Yes, the case at the ICC is ongoing. But as you know there is a process, and it is following that process. First of all a complaint is to be made, which is also called communication. You have to make a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that has been made on behalf of Biafrans, following the commission – to the best of my knowledge – of crimes against humanity, which was being done against our people by Buhari and his security officials. Amongst those we have made complaints about are government officials like governors, General Officers Commanding (GOCs) and their men; and Inspector General of Police (IGP), and his men.
Any government official found to have involved directly or indirectly in the commission of crime against humanity and against Biafran people will face the International Criminal Court someday; sometime. We have compiled, so far, what we deem to constitute crimes against humanity that were committed against our people; against the Biafran people, and have filed those complaints to the ICC. We are waiting for their formal response.
Now it is the prerogative, the duty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor to make a judgment on whether to pursue that case or not. But we are hopeful that that case will be a positive one because there are incontrovertible evidences of the killing of Biafran unarmed protesters. We are not militants; we were only protesting, which is a right that we are entitled to. Unprovoked, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police, even the Nigerian Navy, have continued to shoot at us. They have killed a number of us. A number of us have disappeared till date; nobody has seen them. It was therefore not a surprise to us when we discovered dead bodies of our people dumped in a mass burial site in Abia State.

There is this report going round that Amnesty International (AI), the world renowned human rights group has come to Nigeria; has come to Biafraland. Are you aware of this and what have they come to do?
Yes, as far as I know, Amnesty International with other international human rights community have been informed of this ongoing orchestrated genocidal orgy of violence that Nigerian government is perpetrating against the Biafran people. We have made a lot of complaints, and as you know, any information coming from Nigeria is always viewed with caution. So they have never believed us, but through the recent determination and commitment to what we are doing, they have seen we are honest; and they have seen the truth.

But why did it take Amnesty International this long in coming to see things for themselves?
I made mention of the killing of our people since August 2015; the killing of unarmed protesters – women, children, and old people. The one at Onitsha is also one of them. The one in Aba, the Abia State business hub is the most recent. These killings emphasized what we have been saying that Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police did not have any formal training, and so they used our people praying at Aba High School to practice shooting. They used the Aba High School as training ground, and our people as shooting targets.
As was always the case, whenever they kill our people they will deny. But on this one that happened in Aba, they still tried to deny that they did not kill anybody. But unfortunately for them this time around, God decided to expose them, and there is incontrovertible evidence, which is represented in a video footage, recording, detailing, and showing to the world how they started killing our people in Aba. Nobody can deny that anymore.
There is also mass grave discovered in Aba, where they dumped the bodies of those they killed. These things are now coming out to the public. Before this time, whenever Nigerian Army killed our people, or the Nigerian Police killed our people, they will deny. And the international community will keep mute about it, even government officials.
Painfully, the international community, international media, even government officials and foreign embassies will keep mute about it. Before now, many governments of the world, even responsible members of the international community would always say that our people are not being marginalized, that our people are going about their businesses unmolested, and that nobody was terrorizing us. Even evidences we gave to them, they would just say oh no! These pictures and videos are not real, they are not authentic. And this has happened to us several times.
But with and determination to continue with what we are doing; to continue sending them information regarding the killings of our people, they are beginning to realize that atrocities being committed against us are real. In this last incident in Aba, and the discovered mass graves, especially because the evidences were captured on the same day; it is captured with pictures and videos, and locations of where the incidences took place. Now Amnesty International is wading into it, and a number of foreign governments and human rights activists and groups are taking notice.
Yes, I can confirm that they are in Biafraland. They have seen things for themselves, and the investigation is ongoing.

We got this information that Southern Cameroonians want to partner with Biafrans on the issue of independence. Are you open to them? Do you welcome them?
Well, of course, anybody or any people struggling for freedom; anybody or group agitating for their own separate homeland; anybody who has the right to self-determination and activates it will be supported by us. In this case, the people of Southern Cameroon are fighting the same course that we are engaged in; they have the same feeling that we have, and therefore we welcome them. We have no choice than to welcome them, and to encourage them.

Finally, I ask you sir, is there internal strife in IPOB?
There is no division; there is no strife in IPOB. What has happened is a normal administrative issue, which of course could crop up anywhere else. We are human beings and we have always tried as much as we can as one family to nip every external force that is coming into IPOB to destabilize it, in the bud.
We remain focused, we are moving forward. If there is any problem in IPOB you wouldn’t have been talking to me at the moment. It is as simple as that. Just like human beings, there is bound to be one or two misunderstanding from time to time, what matters is the ability to settle whatever the issue is. In IPOB the focus is Biafra restoration which is more than, and greater than any one person or group of persons put together.
Anything outside our march to Biafra is a distraction, and so we have tried to eliminate all those distractions and we are moving forward, keeping our eyes on the ball, which is Biafran restoration project.

At this point in time, what would be your message to the Biafran people?
It is not easy for anyone, but I urge all IPOB members around the world and in Biafraland, more than ever before to remain resolute; to remain focused, because the journey has just begun. The journey might be long, the road might be convoluted, it might be tortuous, but in the end we will prevail.

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