An Assessment of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra to Self-Determination Under International Law

Sacha Journal of Human Rights Vol 6(1) 2016

12 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2017

See all articles by Theodore Okonkwo

Theodore Okonkwo

Faculty of Law, University of Port Harcourt

Kato Gogo Kingston

Faculty of Law, Rivers State University

Date Written: July 4, 2017

Abstract

This paper explores the rights of indigenous peoples under international law with particular focus on the rights to self-determination of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra in Nigeria. It is common knowledge that the movement for secession by the these Biafrans has recently resurfaced in national and international discourse. This paper therefore evaluates the relevant regional and international human rights laws and applies the provisions thereof to the explanation of the propriety of the rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra to secede from the current national configuration of Nigeria. It argues that the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) cannot invoke the contemporary international laws for the sake of gaining autonomy from the present Nigerian sovereign nation-state because the IPOB lack the basic criteria for nationhood. The paper concludes that the highest rights that the IPOB can achieve are well entrenched in the Nigerian constitution and hence, the task of gaining international backings with which to pursue and attain self-rule is probably impossible for the foreseeable future. We recommend that the current map of Biafra should be redesigned and that the IPOB urgently acquire a working board of trustees that will act as mouthpiece at local and international level.

Keywords: Biafra; Nigeria; Human Rights, Peoples’ Rights; IPOB, Indigenous Peoples; Self-Determination; Secession.

Suggested Citation

Okonkwo, Theodore and Kingston, Kato Gogo, An Assessment of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra to Self-Determination Under International Law (July 4, 2017). Sacha Journal of Human Rights Vol 6(1) 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2996997

Theodore Okonkwo

Faculty of Law, University of Port Harcourt

Nigeria

Kato Gogo Kingston (Contact Author)

Faculty of Law, Rivers State University ( email )

P.M.B. 5080
Port Harcourt, Rivers State
Nigeria

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