Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari cannot deny igbo people the right to a referendum.
The separatist group was reacting to an alleged statements attributed to Buhari during a recent media event in New York, USA. The President was reported to have stated that there would not be referendum for Biafra independence.
In a statement jointly signed by IPOB’s spokespersons Emma Nmezu and Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya, the group said if the various media reports on Buhari’s assertion were true “then there is no better way to exhibit ignorance on the typology and application of the concept of referendum.”
The group said having a referendum was not dependent on the aversions or preferences of the President, arguing that the United Kingdom, Scotland, France and Greece recognise and use their parliaments to enforce it. It added that Buhari had no legal right to determine if there would be a referendum or not.
It boasted that if all Biafrans decided to choose referendum as an option to secede from Nigeria, Buhari, as President, cannot stop them from achieving their goal.
“In Africa, examples abound where several countries conducted referendum through the instrumentality of the Legislative Arm of Government or at the behest of the citizenry. Eritrea in April 1993, Egypt on March 19, 2011, and Morocco on June 1, 2011 are few examples.
“With all these historical backgrounds and lucid examples of the concept, ownership, and application of referendum, it is very clear to everyone that Buhari does not know or understand what it is all about.
“Even the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) is unequivocal on the inalienable rights of indigenous people to decide on how they want to govern themselves. Nigeria as a member of the African Union has domesticated the UNDRIP,” the statement read in part.
“IPOB said Buhari should have consulted with his aides who are educated enough to enlighten him on referendum“to make him understand that the presidency cannot make any sweeping statement on referendum because it lies within the domains of the legislature or at the behest of the citizenry.”
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