The senator representing Abia South in the senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe has sensationally and emphatically revealed that Nigeria might disintegrate and go the way of USSR, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Eritrea, Sudan, and other countries that got dissolved unless the country “solves its major problems”.
Abaribe made this revelation in his keynote address he presented at the Nigeria Bar Association, Owerri Branch 2021 Law Week, recently. According to him; from 1922 to 1991, there used to be a nation called Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).
Now, what you have is Russia, Armenia, Azerbarjan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The absolutism of the leaders of USSR not giving vent to the agitations in several regions ultimately led to the collapse of the USSR”.
He added; “We had a nation called Czechoslovakia up until 1993 when what is called the velvet divorce happened and this birthed the Czech Republic and Slovakia. If we look at the reasons, for it, it all boiled down to the unequal treatment of citizens of the same state.
Yugoslavia was a nation up till 1992. While Josip Broz Tito held sway the country could still be together until the centre could not hold after his death. In the aftermath of adoption of resolution 721 by UN Security Council on November 27, 1991, Yugoslavia devolved to Croatia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Slovenia. Ethnic tensions killed the nation of Yugoslavia”.
Apparently not supporting the disintegration of Nigeria but rather insisting on the right thing to be done; Abaribe stated; “If Nigeria does not solve its major problems, I have no doubt that it will follow the way of the above nations”.
Indeed, the former deputy governor of Abia State is a patriotic Nigerian who believes in the cooperate existence of the country even as he is a law abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
However he has been in the vanguard for the liberation of Ndigbo against what he calls the marginalization of the South East by successive administrations in the country. Below are some of the various instances he had stood solidly for Igbo interests.
Malami’s attack on Igbo traders
According to a published report; Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, senate minority leader, says the comment by Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), on spare parts trade exposes a “dangerous mindset” that promotes division.
Abaribe was reacting to Malami’s comments on the resolve to ban open grazing in the south, which the AGF said is equivalent to prohibiting spare parts trading in the north.
The AGF made the comment when he appeared on a Channels Television programme.
In a statement, the senate minority leader said there is no correlation between spare parts sellers in a rented shop, and those involved in open grazing.
“What’s the correlation between spare parts sellers in a rented shop or government properly designated area and marauding Fulani herders destroying farms, killing and raping thus trampling on people’s private properties and means of livelihood?” Uchenna Awom, his media aide, quoted Abaribe as saying.
“Such a divisive statement from a top federal government official, in fact, the chief legal adviser to the federal government at that, exposes a very dangerous mindset.
“This disposition has, no doubt, raised the tension in Nigeria to a frightening level. Why should an attorney-general of the federation be so fixated on evoking ethnic/regional fault lines when duty calls for him to be a statesman?
Nnamdi Kanu’s defence
An account confirmed thus: The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinaya Abaribe, has applied to the court to be discharged from the surety-ship, bond and recognizance of the bail of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
In an application filed against the Federal Government, Nnamdi Kanu, and his co-defendants, Senator Abaribe is asking the court to make an order discharging him as surety to Kanu.
The Senator prayed the court to discharge him entirely from the incidence of Kanu’s bail.
He is also asking for a discharge of the bond used for Kanu’s bail and a refund of N100 million or any other bond paid to the court sequel to the bail.
The grounds upon which Senator Abaribe sought the reliefs include that the Nigerian army during a raid at the residence of the IPOB leader engaged in a fracas with members of the group which has been proscribed by the federal government.
Abaribe said since the raid by the Nigerian Army, the first defendant has not been seen or reached.
He also said Kanu is yet to make any public appearance or any statement since the raid.
Abaribe said: “Since the aforestated visit of the Nigerian Army to the residence of the first defendant from September 11, 2017, the second respondent in this suit has not been seen again nor reached on phone the applicant neither is he reported in any news media as seen by any person nor made any statement on any issue.”
The Senator said since September 20, the report in the media is that the first respondent (Federal Government) has proscribed IPOB an organization led by Kanu and declared the organization a terrorist organization.
He said security agencies of the Federal Government are interested in the second respondent.
“The activities of the Nigerian Army as affecting the first respondent are matters of state secret incapable of being unraveled by the applicant which activities have put the second respondent out of the reach of the applicant such that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to produce the second respondent before this court at any subsequent date.
The applicant lacks the capacity to produce a person stated by the first respondent to be a member of a terrorist organization or any person who the first respondent is reported to be interested in his whereabouts in the aftermath of the military operation in Abia state,” Abaribe said in his application.
Senator Abaribe, a Jewish Rabbi and traditional ruler stood as surety for the IPOB leader in August when he was granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court.
The surety and bond of N100 million each which was made available by Senator Abaribe and the two others helped in the release of Kanu from the Kuje Prison in Abuja where he was being held for over a year.
Kanu and his co-defendants, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe are facing a criminal trial of treasonable felony, conspiracy, and concealing of good imported into the country.
The government is also asking them to issue a bench warrant for the arrest of Mr. Kanu and also order Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, Immanuel Shalum, Kosisochukwu Uchenna to show because why the bail bond of 100 million naira each shall not be forfeited or in the alternative commit the three of them to prison.
On the ground that Mr. Kanu has voided his bail and did not show up in court.
Justice Nyako has asked the counsel to Mr. Ejiofor for the whereabouts of his client.
In his response, Mr. Ejiofor replied that his client was willing and ready to appear before this court.
“Since the invasion of his house by the Nigerian Army on the orders of the Federal Government, I don’t know where my client is.
“I cannot tell you if he is dead or alive, “What I am saying is that the soldiers that went in his house will be in a position to tell you”
Justice Binta replied by asking for the sureties.
Counsel to the surety had informed the court that his client does not also know where Kanu is following the invasion by the Army.
But Justice Binta said Abaribe cannot rescue himself as a surety except he produces him or in the alternative, he will have to forefoot the bail bond.
She then asked the lawyer what his client will choose and has also given him a third alternative to ask for time to produce him.
Counsel to Senator Abaribe then asked the court for time to consult with the Lawmaker.
On Operation Python dance
In another published account; The South East Senate Caucus condemned the show of force and Operation Python Dance 11.
In a statement in Abuja by its chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the caucus also took a swipe at the alleged military incursions into the country home of Kanu, saying such action suggests will-full personalization of the operation and deliberate abuse of the people’s fundamental right.
The South East Senate caucus said it was sad that the military decided to carry out the action at a time the caucus had engaged the IPOB leadership and even extracted firm commitment from them that its agitation will be strictly non-violent and in conformity with international best practices.
Senator Abaribe said: “We had hoped that our ongoing engagement with the group be given a chance, and here we are, with a hurried military action deep into a highly populated area with high propensity for casualty, which occurrence would rather escalate the already tense situation.
“It is more worrisome that the Military operation ‘python dance 2’ restricted to the South East in a peace time, has no doubt fouled the environment and sent strong signal that the region is under siege, which should not be so in a democracy.
“We, therefore, urge extreme caution, and advise the Military to de-escalate the situation and choose the best operational modus that will not only guaranty the safety of Nigerians, but also enhance national unity.”
“Nigeria is not at war, people are only exercising their constitutional and universally guaranteed rights. So far, they are carrying on in a manner that has never given room to violence which could warrant a wholesale military expedition.” Abaribe said the caucus sympathizes with the wounded and reiterate the call for dialogue as a panacea to the lingering agitation”.