Against the backdrop of the request by Biafra activists and the Organization of Emerging African States (OEAS) for the referendum to be conducted on the independence of a republic of Biafra, the European Union (EU) has replied the agitators.
Pro-Biafra activists earlier requested that the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, wades into the need to conduct a referendum for Biafra’s independence. The call was made through the OEAS.
The organisation also called for the release of those it described as 'Biafran political prisoners' and a stay of action by the Nigerian troops, and for quick referendum to be held within 90 days.
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In response to this request, Mogherini told Dr Jonathan Levy, the OEAS chief administrative officer, that while the EU has strong diplomatic and economic relationship with Nigeria, the “protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms remains a priority for the EU and we encourage the authorities [in Nigeria] in every occasion to respect such rights.”
The EU further went on to caution the OEAS and Biafra agitators that the push for self-determination and border changes must be carried out within the ambits of the established international law.
It added that the state of Biafra can only be recognized through the international law, and not through the armed secession.
The OEAS had been pushing for an internationally recognized referendum on Biafra independence or autonomy.
In the same vein, the OEAS advised that all nonviolent means should be utilized including general strikes, economic boycotts, work actions, demonstrations, lawsuits, and civil disobedience.
The ILO recognizes the right to engage in general strikes and the right to strike is also recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 (Article 8(1)(d)).
Nigeria is a member of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Meanwhile, the former president Olusegun Obasanjo had continued to hit hard on Biafra agitators lashing out on the pro-Biafra movement describing it as dead agitation which was borne out of sheer ignorance and error of judgment.
He added that those involved in the current agitation in support of Biafra were embarking on a hopeless and futile exercise, which no serious-minded Nigerian should ever become a part of.