Nigeria Matters

One Nigeria: To Be Or Not To Be? (5)

“Buy land, they have stopped making it.”

Mark Twain.

“If you want to be rich, you must learn not only how to make money, but how to economise it too.”

Benjamin Franklin.

“The Nigerian poverty, and that means also the African poverty, is a stab on the conscience of the world. President Bush also said that Africa is a disease ridden nation in spite of all our oil and its 24 nations, with 2,000 ethnic groups. You may wish to know that one of every nine gallons of oil that is being pumped into any car in the world comes from Africa south of Sahara. There is no doubt that oil, far from being a blessing, is a curse for black Africa, particularly for Nigeria. This is a paradox of plenty. Now, very little of the oil revenues make it to those who really need it most, our oil has produced more jobs for the Europeans and those from the United States of America than for Nigerians or Africans. You may wish to know that only 5% of the billions invested in African petroleum in black Africa is spent in Africa. Oil exploration is capital intensive and not labour intensive. Now, you possibly know that the oil producing states are Edo, Ondo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa-Ibom and Abia. The World Bank, as you well know, ranks Nigeria as one of the poorest countries, no infrastructure is working, 90 million Nigerians are living below poverty level, we have low life-expectancy. Nigeria is now a country which nobody wishes to spend his or her honeymoon and, yet, we produce 2.6 million barrels of sweet crude oil everyday.

Nigeria is like a marriage which nobody wants but the marriage nobody dares dissolve.”

Chief Richard Osuolale Akinjide. Former Attorney General of the Federation under Shagari. Excerpt of long interview given in January 2008.

“We hold (they say) these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal. In what are they created equal? Is it in size, understanding, figure, moral or civil accomplishments, or situation of life? Every plough-man knows that they are not created equal in any of these….That every man hath an unalienable right to liberty; and here the words, as it happens, are not nonsense, but they are not true: slaves there are in America, and where there are slaves, there liberty is alienated. If the Creator hath endowed man with an unalienable right to liberty, no reason in the world will justify the abridgement of that liberty, and a man hath a right to do everything that he thinks proper without controul or restraint; and upon the same principle, there can be no such things as servants, subjects, or government of any kind whatsoever. In a word, every law that hath been in the world since the formation of Adam, gives the lie to this self-evident truth, (as they are pleased to term it) ; because every law, divine or human, that is or hath been in the world, is an abridgement of man’s liberty…”

Excerpt of the US declaration of independence July 4, 1776. Authored by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

“The manhandling of the youths again confirmed the INC view that the JTF was an occupation force and certainly not one to restore hope for the people of the Niger Delta. The brutalisation of over 50 protesting youths at Ogboimbiri, calls to question the raison d’etre of the JTF.”

Prof. Kimse Okoko, President of Ijaw National Congress (INC).Excerpt of interview given in May, 2008.

“ExxonMobil said Thursday its first-quarter profit rose 17 percent from a year ago to 10.89 billion dollars, but the earnings were below Wall Street forecasts. The biggest US oil and gas company said gains from record-high crude prices were offset in part by weaker profit margins and higher operating costs.

The profit for the Texas-based firm amounted to 2.03 dollars per share, below the 2.13 dollars expected on Wall Street. Revenues for the January-March period rose 34 percent from a year earlier to 116.9 billion dollars. The quarterly earnings, a new record for the energy giant, followed a banner year for the company as crude oil prices soared on strong demand, particularly in China and India.

ExxonMobil posted a 2007 profit of 40.6 billion dollars, the largest US corporate annual profit in history. Despite the strong profits, the company is being pressured on a number of fronts, analysts said. While company officials say the profits are in line with other industries, it is seen as gaining from troubles inflicted on consumers. “The world’s largest energy company may once again come under scrutiny by lawmakers for earning a record profit while US consumers face the burden of record-high oil prices,”

AFP Energy report. May 1, 2008.

“The state-organised killing of Ndigbo started in northern part of Nigeria in 1953, during the agitation for Nigeria‘s independence. The massacre continued in January and July of 1966, in most parts of the North. That also resulted in the Nigeria/Biafra war of 1967-1970.Since the end of the said civil war, there has been no end to the genocide against the Igbo ethnic group, arising from religious crisis, moreover in northern Nigeria. As lives and property of Ndigbo could not be guaranteed in Nigeria, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) was floated in 1999, to continue in a non-violent manner, the pursuit of a separate independent state, for the people of Eastern Nigeria. Irrespective of the non-violent approach of MASSOB, the Nigerian State continued its genocide against our people. From May 22, 2000 to April 22, 2008 more than 2,000 registered members of MASSOB in various cities in Nigeria were killed by Nigerian security personnel. It is believed that unrecorded casualties may be higher than that. Presently, more than one thousand MASSOB members are languishing in various prisons in Nigeria. We are yet to receive any form of sympathy from government over the unfortunate incidents. We will not retreat, despite threats on the lives of our members. We are also calling on the international community and ‘men of goodwill’ to dissuade the leadership of the country from its continued genocide against the group as well as release her members from detention. We believe that it is our inalienable right to agitate for our freedom through non-violent means. We also believe that no amount of hardship and danger will deny us this right.”

Chief Ikechukwu Ekwe. Regional Administrator of MASSOB. Excerpt of speech in May, 2008.

“Our people are not free yet. Our resources are still under the control of a few persons and development is nowhere to be found here. So, we will continue in this struggle until we achieve what we want. The struggle we have inherited was started by the likes of Adaka Boro. He showed us light while we were in the dark, so we owe him this duty as a hero.”

Alhaji Asari-Dokubo, Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Excerpt of speech during a rally to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the death of Isaac Adaka Boro in Port Harcourt. May 2008.

“There are certain things that are happening and we think they have a political undertone. It is rather unfortunate that the Federal Government is still trying Henry Okah secretly, despite calls for them to try him openly. It is wrong for people not to have access to his trial. As a people, we do not accept that trial and we will not be a part of whatever comes out of it. If they convict him as a result of this kangaroo trial, we will not accept it. This is a revolutionary struggle and the Federal Government should be able to take responsibility for all the hostilities. This is because the long years of neglect caused all this. Henry Okah is an Ijaw son who believes in this struggle. So, if they think they will secretly try him and come up with any verdict, we won’t accept it. We have always cried for a fair share of our natural resources. How come that when we cry out for what rightly belongs to us, people call us names? That is why we have continued to insist that Henry Okah should either be released or tried in an open court where everybody will be able to know what is happening to him. It is the height of injustice for anybody to think that we will accept the judgment that will be pronounced on him. Except that they are doing this to see what the Ijaw people will do, there is no reason why Henry Okah should not have the right to see his wife and family members whenever he wants to see them, or whenever they want to see him. There is no reason why the government should insist that they will not try him openly if they do not have other motives.”

Emeka Madunagu, chairman of IYC. Excerpt of interview given in May 2008

“Achieving freedom from the north, would not be such a Herculean if a few southern elements have not been immersed in the sea of corruption. Come to think of it, what would the north do if today, the whole south says they want to be on their own? The Yoruba and the Igbo hold the key to dismantling Nigeria but lack of honesty and good leadership have robbed them of this. Could the north have won the civil war without Yoruba collusion? The answer is a loud no. In the case of the Igbo, though politically disabled, they could still free themselves from Nigeria with an honest leadership. Experience has shown that in Nigeria, the Igbo have the greatest number of “Sabo” elements. Its hard to find two Ibos agreeing on a subject. I used to think of what would happen if the Igbo could summon up courage and speak with one voice. In circumstances, where they displayed a semblance of this, it paid off handsomely. A case was when some years back in the north when they were massacred in religious riot. There was the story of the Igbo risng up to the occasion by way of retaliation. It was said they loaded some luxurious buses from the east with well-armed people. They headed for the north and unleashed a reprisal killings never witnessed in the north before. This incident was not reported in Nigeria papers. Added to that, is the Igbo resolve that no killing of their own in the north must go unpunished, the reason for reprisal killings in Igbo cities.

But one funny thing I always think is: what would happen if all Igbo in the north wakes one day and head eastwards. Who would stop them from returning to their land? The problem with most Ibo is that they place money over their survival and happiness. Some years back when a lot of Ibos were massacred in religious riots in the north, Col. Achuzia who was then the secretary general of the Ohaneze called for the Ibos to return home but this advice was not heeded. They felt they have too much to lose by abandoning their shops in Kano, Zaria and kaduna. Could it be the Ibos could not survive outside their enclave? Obviously, they would, like during the civil war. And if there were no dollars, pounds, naira, and people still lived like in the past when you built houses with local materials, and provided your own food, nothing would have taken the Ibos out of their ancestral land. In the present setting, the Igbo have more than what it takes to be independent. They have human and natural resources like oil to run an own state.”

Overdryv, NVS Villager. excerpt of comment on part 3 of article. April 26, 2008.


All along, in our submission, we have argued that resources, all things being equal, are not free, but have their prices and opportunity costs. At this juncture, we need to make a very important reservation and restate that “resources are, or can, only be free, without any opportunity costs only in one situation.” In what situation? ONLY IN ROBBERY! What do we mean when we state that resources are not free and have their opportunity cost save in robbery? This is a very important point and statement in our discussion which definitely needs an elaborate explanation.

Robbery is divided into 2 categories: 1) Illegitimate Robbery and 2) Legalised Robbery. Legalised robbery in turn is divided into 2 parts: 1) Slavery and 2) Colonialism. Before explaining the difference between illegitimate and legalised robberies, we need to first define what robbery is. Since our discussion and analysis will be concentrated on robbery, slavery and colonialism, for a mutual understanding, if you don’t know mind, I will like to ask you a little favour. Before reading on, could you please write down 3 sentences each to define or describe your understanding of ‘robbery,’ ‘slavery,’ and ‘colonialism?’ If this exercise is carried out correctly, you should have at least 9 sentences in all. At the end of this article, you will have the opportunity to compare your understanding of robbery, slavery and colonialism with mine. Moreover, I believe this exercise is important for objectivity. I want to remind you again that this exercise should be carried out before reading on. Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.

So, what is robbery? Robbery is when somebody takes away something that belongs to you without your consent. Robbery is when somebody deprives you of your property or resources with force. Robbery is when somebody takes your properties or resources without preliminary negotiation or compensating you ‘adequately’ for them. Robbery is when somebody forces you to part with your resources for peanuts. In illegitimate robbery, when you are robbed of your property, normally, you lodge a complaint with the police, and you rely on them to help you find the robber and return your stolen property. In illegitimate robbery, the robber tries as much as possible to avoid detection, keeps on hiding the stolen goods or tries to get rid of them as fast as possible.

But in legalised robbery, the victim knows the robber very well. In legalised robbery the victim even knows where the robber keeps the stolen goods. In legalised robbery, the victim and the robber not only know each other very well but are also in regular contact. In legalised robbery, the robber does not hide from the victim. In legalised robbery, the robber does not wear mask in order to avoid detection when robbing. In legalised robbery, the robber does not rob his victim only in the night. In legalised robbery, the robber robs his victim any time he likes, including the day time. In legalised robbery, the robber robs his victim right in his presence, and not in his absence. In legalised robbery, there is no police or court that the victim could run to for help. In legalised robbery, the victim is just powerless to do anything to the robber! The focus of our analysis will be on legalised robbery, which as earlier said, is divided into slavery and colonialism.

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