An indigenous socio-cultural organisation in Akwa Ibom State, the Annang Heritage Preservation, says their people have no part in the agitation for Biafra and should therefore not be put in harm’s way of any potential crisis.
Weighing in on the current agitation for Biafra, the organisation said having been made the sacrificial lamb during the civil war, the Annangs “are no longer prepared to fight another war and let the blood of our people be shed for an agenda we have no part in.”
In a strongly worded statement to members around the world and sighted by Forefront in Abuja, President of the organization, Professor Ezekiel Ette said, “no part of Annang land should be included as part of Biafra.”
According to the statement, it is important that no Annang son or daughter is “led into the illusion that what is called Biafra now includes any part of Annangland”, adding that, “In as much as we acknowledge the right of an aggrieved people to self-determination, we want to advice the agitators of Biafra to do so within the ambit of the law and accepted guidelines for public conduct so as not to endanger and put in harm’s way those they seek to emancipate.”
Signed by various officers of the organization from around the world, below is the full text of the press statement and declaration by the group
ANNANG IS NOT BIAFRA: ANNANG HERITAGE PRESERVATION
No one knows how many Annang died in the last civil war in Nigeria, but we can see the effects of that war on our land and in the lives of our people to this day. There is hardly a family in Annangland that did not lose a family member or a relation in the Biafra War. All you needed was to step outside of the door and dead bodies were everywhere in 1968 and 1969. Those who escaped the bullet died of starvation and those who escaped starvation were betrayed and handed over to be slaughtered. As the war dragged on, the Annangs became victims of genocide and men, women and children were escorted into back alleys to be killed like animals simply because they had a machete among their meagre possessions. Some of us still recall men and women escaping from villages through bushes and forests only to be killed because they had the Annang accent. In 1968, a list of individuals from Annang was handed over to the Nigerian soldiers and with this list in hand, the soldiers moved from house to house taking away Annang leaders. Those abducted never returned home and only pieces of clothing abandoned on the streets and bush paths told stories of carnage and death. We lost when Biafra occupied, we lost when Nigeria reoccupied and that pendulum of occupation and reoccupation swung unendingly as the war progressed.
We are no longer prepared to fight another war and let the blood of our people be shed for an agenda we have no part in.
In as much as we acknowledge the right of an aggrieved people to self-determination, we want to advice the agitators of Biafra to do so within the ambit of the law and accepted guidelines for public conduct so as not to endanger and put in harm’s way those they seek to emancipate.
For those who think that starting a new war is the path to secession, we need only point to Otto von Bismarck who once remarked, ‘anyone who looked into the eyes of one dying in the battlefield will think hard before starting a war’. We in Annang have borne the wounds of war and we still have the scars to show. Make no mistake, we are not afraid of war and as our forebears used to say, it is true that those who seek war are often well advised to look for the Annang, but we fight only for justice and to defend ourselves when we have no options left. We at Annang are not ready yet to subject ourselves and our children to the destructive effects of another war.
We were not consulted when the idea of Biafra was hooted anew, we are not part of this Biafra. We are not Igbos. We will not allow ourselves to be humiliated to come under the lordship of a ‘fellow servant’. Annang as a part of Biafra does not sound like liberation to us. It is just transfer of lordship, and that, to a less remote lord. When the map of Biafra is drawn, Annang land must be left out of it. We are not Igbos. We will not be subjected to another servitude. When freedom comes, it must be for all.
We at Annang Heritage Preservation around the world by this declaration, specifically announce that our position in the current Biafra agitation is that no part of Annang land should be included as part of Biafra. We also wish to dissociate ourselves, our members and our people from the current demonstrations and arguments concerning Biafra. We are still mourning our war dead and will resist every attempt to coerce us into a political alliance that is detrimental to our own self-determination. We want to advise all Annang wherever they may be that no one should be led into the illusion that what is called Biafra now includes any part of Annang land. We are still a part of Nigeria as it is constituted today. In the event of a secession or mutual separation, we shall exercise our right to self – determination and take our destiny into our hands with all our might. This is our stand.
We stand for a United Nigeria which should be organized under the rule of law. Rather than tear ourselves apart, the country should be made to live to its true creed that we are one nation. We call for the re-examination of the 1999 constitution and the removal of religious provisions that divide the country along faith traditions. We call for the reorganization of law enforcement and police agencies, so that we can truly have the rule of law and finally rid the country of corruption. We call for the power of the states so that we can have true federalism and we call for the enumeration of rights such that one’s last name, religion and the accident of birth ceases to confer special rights and advantages. Our stand is within the bounds of law.
Agreed Upon this Day
June 12, 2017
Adede Ezekiel Ette, Ph.D. President (USA)
Adede Nsenor Udofa Vice President (Nigeria)
Adede Udeme Oscar (Nigeria)
Adede Radiance Ufere (Nigeria)
Adada Inemesit Ifreke Mathew (Italy)
Adede Ernest Owulette (USA)
Adada Angel Udioko (UK)
Adada Tessy Nnah (Nigeria)
For Annang Heritage Preservation