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Igboland is not landlocked: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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Igboland is not landlocked

By: dayan (M) |Time : May 22, 2020, 07:38:20 AM
By Aloy Ejimakor

IT’s often said that a lie told so many times, if unchallenged, may – in course of time – begin to pass for the truth. One of such is the terrible lie, institutionally purveyed since the end of the Civil War, to the effect that Igboland is landlocked or has no access to the sea. The purpose of this essay, therefore, is to debunk this lie with some simple historical and topographical evidence that are even in plain view, if you care to dig or do some basic physical explorations of your own.

Suffice it to say that it is a profound tragedy that entire generations of the immediate post-war Igbos never bothered to check but seemingly accepted this brazen institutional falsehood, largely intended to taunt the Igbo and put them down. A few that knew it to be false just didn’t care anymore. And that history was constructively banned since the end of the Civil War made it worse, plus the fact that most people don’t take physical geography (or even adventure) that serious anymore, otherwise they would have discovered that Abia, Imo and Anambra states have varying short-distance paths to the Atlantic through Imo, Azumiri and Niger rivers.

It’s not really rocket science, as you can easily confirm this if you know how to read (or plot) Google Earth; or you conquer your fear of swamp snakes and walk through these areas on foot. There are also many other hardly explored waterways and slithering tributaries, including the remote reaches of Oguta Lake and Urashi River at Oseakwa (Ihiala) that meandered through Igbo-delta wetlands to the southeastern ends of the Atlantic waterfront.

These rivers have varying lengths of short navigational paths to the Atlantic, and in some cases, are far shorter nautically (and even on footpath) than the Port Harcourt, Calabar and Ibaka seaports are to their side of the Atlantic. Many of these pathways, including particularly the ones from the outer reaches of Imo and Azumiri rivers terminate at the Atlantic at no more than 15 to 30 nautical miles to the beachhead. To put it in lay language, one nautical mile equals 1.8 kilometres.

Thus, the contiguity of Southeast (not even the greater Igboland) to the Atlantic is nautically less than the Atlantic is to the seaports in Calabar, Onne, Ibaka, Lagos and Port Harcourt. If you discount the territories unfairly excised from Igboland during state creations and the damnable boundary adjustments, it will be far less. To be sure, Ikwerre land or Igweocha which bears the greater portions of the Port Harcourt seaport was dredged up to 50 miles to the Atlantic front through the Bonny River.

Onne seaport was dredged up to 60 miles to the Atlantic and Calabar seaport was dredged some 45 nautical miles to the Atlantic. Ibaka seaport is about 30 nautical miles to the Atlantic and the Lagos seaports dredged up to about 50 nautical miles to the Atlantic. Compare all these to Obuaku in Abia State, which is only 25 nautical miles to the Atlantic from the confluence of Imo and Azumiri rivers, of which Azumiri, on its separate merits, lies not more than 30 nautical miles to the Atlantic beachfront.

The less obvious one is the little-known Oseakwa (Urashi) in Ihiala (Anambra State) which is mere 18 nauticals to the Atlantic, all with its 65 feet of natural depth, unarguably comparable to no other river in Nigeria. Additionally, what is geopolitically known as Igboland today is far smaller than what it was and legally supposed to be.

As far back as 1856, Baikie – one of the earliest and credible geographers of ancient Nigeria, had this to say: “Igbo homeland, extends east and west, from the Old Kalabar river to the banks of the Kwora, Niger River, and possesses also some territory at Aboh, an Igbo clan, to the west-ward of the latter stream. On the north, it borders on Igara, Igala and A’kpoto, and it is separated from the sea only by petty tribes, all of which trace their origin to this great race” (Baikie, William Balfour, published with a sanction of Her Majesty’s Government in 1856).

But with that infamous post-war abandoned property policy and the egregious institutional injustices in boundary adjustments, coupled with the widespread anti-Igbo gerrymandering, Igbos physically and psychologically lost political hold of their vested ancestral lands, all to the point of not caring anymore about their historical contiguity to the Atlantic, which their ancestors beheld and called ‘Oshimiri’ – The Great Sea.

The psychological beat-down and gang-up got so bad and institutional that some of the descendants of these Igbo ancestors (nearest to the Atlantic and now lying outside southeast) are no longer sure whether they are Igbo or not. The worst injustice was in 1976 when the Justice Nasir Boundary Adjustment Commission made a serious and targeted agenda of carving out core Igboland territories into some neighbouring states of the South-South. But they didn’t quite make an absolute success of it.

They missed the southernmost Southeast lands that possess rivers that meandered through slices of Igbo-friendly South-South territories and ended up at the Atlantic, thus unwittingly (and luckily) placing Igboland and its right of access to the sea under the canons and realms of customary international law.

As it stands, international law of the sea guarantees Igboland (whether it remains Nigerian territory or not) unhindered access to the nearest sea (in this case: the Atlantic) peacefully through any of the various short-distance rivers, waterways and tributaries that originated from Igboland but ultimately washed into the Atlantic through contiguous South-South territories.

For avoidance of doubt, there’s particularly the Obuaku confluence in Ukwa West (Abia State) that flows through greater Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State before expanding out and washing into the near-reaches of the Atlantic. And the River Niger which ultimately joined the Atlantic through a vast network of hardly explored creeks and mangrove swamps that abut the Bight of Biafra (officially corrupted to Bight of Bonny, after the war).

Nigeria is subject to the International Law of the Sea and is, therefore, bound to abide by its provisions, should the need arise in a scenario of persistent sovereign oppression of the Igbo as an identifiable (and protected) indigenous group within Nigeria. The others are the United Nations Treaty of the Sea and the African Union Treaties and Conventions on the Sea, including particularly the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, which Nigeria ratified and domesticated in 1983.

The pertinent provisions are mostly embedded in the copious protections relating to the collective economic and commercial rights of indigenous peoples lying within a Treaty nation. Ndigbo are undoubtedly an indigenous people presently lying within Nigeria.

So, international law will surely come into play should a belligerent or legal conflict arise out of Nigeria’s oppressive institutional resistance to granting a seaport to Igboland – an issue so fundamental and compelling that it bears the fulcrum of what is agitating the Igbo to the point of seeking an alternative to Nigeria.

Ejimakor, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos

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Re: Igboland is not landlocked

By: dayan (M) |Time : May 22, 2020, 08:12:40 AM
Quote
As it stands, international law of the sea guarantees Igboland (whether it remains Nigerian territory or not) unhindered access to the nearest sea (in this case: the Atlantic) peacefully through any of the various short-distance rivers, waterways and tributaries that originated from Igboland but ultimately washed into the Atlantic through contiguous South-South territories.

For avoidance of doubt, there’s particularly the Obuaku confluence in Ukwa West (Abia State) that flows through greater Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State before expanding out and washing into the near-reaches of the Atlantic. And the River Niger which ultimately joined the Atlantic through a vast network of hardly explored creeks and mangrove swamps that abut the Bight of Biafra (officially corrupted to Bight of Bonny, after the war).


Gospel truth.

The tragedy of Nigeria is that there have been series of focused and concentrated hate by the North against Igbo dating back even to 1945, and that hate persisted and was the fuel that powered the war against Igbo in 1967-70.
Even since after the war, not much has changed.

Instead of changing, the northerners instigated anti-Igbo sentiments in Igbo neighbours with the aim of divide and conquer of the whole east. They lied and lied and lied until their heads started seeing their backs!

One of those lies, is that Igboland is landlocked and that Igbos want to take over "Niger Delta" oil.
Never mind that since after the war, Igbo simply never paid attention to the oil (every Igbo state has oil deposit BTW) and even their own boundaries and the narratives that define those boundaries, one of which their haters from the North have almost convinced everyone that they lack direct access to the sea.

I tend to not like to engage in discussions that do not contribute to the unity of Eastern Nigeria which is a natural nation created by God united by VALUES, RELIGION, CULTURE and MINDSET. The ultimate truth is that when the North looks at the East, they only see the Igbo or "Igboids" which they call "nyamiri".

Some ethnic groups in the East out of greed and petty jealousy would rather support a narrative created by those from afar who are in fact eyeing their lands and natural resources; those who are already sending advance militia in trucks; those who killed Isaac "Adaka" Boro, and those who are now occupying forests in the region getting ready to "dip the Quran in the sea" through those "south south" regions.

The Igbo may have their own faults, but one thing I know about them is that they are FIERCELY JUSTICE MINDED -they LOVE justice. An Igbo man or woman would NEVER support his brother abusing other people even if it benefits him or her.

That Igbo behaviour tend to cast them as weak in the eyes of some of their neighbours, but the truth is that in the history of modern Nigeria, only the Igbo have ever fought a complete war against Nigeria and her powerful allies, and they proved themselves in the battlefields for almost three years. Keep in mind that far more powerful countries have been defeated in a matter of weeks (example France, check the history of second world war to see proof).
For the Igbo to stand and fight for almost three years in which Nigerian military was oversupplied by the British and their Soviet Union, proves the Igbo military mettle handsomely.
They did it before, and they can do even better today.

Today, groups like IPOB are telling everyone in the East to "receive sense" and to know who the real enemy is.
Yes, Nnamdi Kanu may use foul languages to make his points, but he is always driven by the cause of truth and justice.
He may insult people, but his points are never assailable.
But I digress ...

The Eastern Nigeria region (or Biafra) need to focus on the truth about what their collective enemies in Nigeria have been doing, and trying their level best to undo some of the damages caused by these enemies of their survival.

The unity of the East is in the interest of ALL easterners.
The day oil will finish, we will still be Eastern Nigerians or Biafrans.

Since Shettima Yerima the Arewa Youths leader threatened us with war if we don't allow their advance foot soldiers to permeate and hide in our forests in readiness for the war they plan, I have come to realize that Nigeria is actually irredeemable. Dreams are good, but focusing on reality can make the difference between life and death.

So, NO, Igboland is NOT landlocked, but it really doesn't matter because we easterners shall stand together. 

These are evil days, and only fools engage in dividing themselves rather than uniting and getting ready for eventualities.

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