Right to Self-Determination

 

 

Self-Determination Through Secession Under International and National Regimes: The Status of Biafra Agitators and Boko Haram Islamists In Nigeria

 

By Gwom S Gwom, PhD in Law (University of Abuja, Nigeria), LLM, LLB (University of Jos,  Nigeria), B L (Abuja, Nigeria), Visiting Scholar, Duke University, North Carolina, Lecturer in Laws, Dept. of Public & International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Abuja, F.C.T, Nigeria, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

Abstract

The right of self-determination can be traced back to the end of World War I.  It has, since then, evolved to become a global consensus legal principle, but yet one of the most politicised and controversial principles in international law. In recent times, there is hardly any continent in the world that is exempted from the dilemma of self-determination using secession. In Nigeria, the current clamour for secession through self-determination by intra-state agitators and vocal socio-political groups like Ohanaeze-Ndigbo, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Afenifere and the radical Boko Haram sect is not only alarming, but calls into question specific fundamental issues on the Nigerian nationhood. One of such issues is whether the much-echoed right to succession through self-determination by these groups is justified ora mere delusion of grandeur, especially as they apply to current international and domestic legislation. This is mainly what this paper attempt to discuss. The article explains the meanings and concepts of self-determination and succession. It further examines the justification of agitations for secession through self-determination by two well-known groups in Nigeria: the Biafra Socio-political groups and the Boko Haram Islamists. In achieving its objective, the paper discusses self-determination and secession under international law, national legislation and case law. An attempt is also made to expatiate how all the laws apply in Nigeria to justify or delegitimize the mentioned agitations. 

 

Introduction

The practicability of self-determination and secession in the socio-political and legal dynamics of nation-states can be likened, to all intents and purposes, to opening a Pandora’s Box. This is because the historical evolution of the concept reveals that it has been subjected to ambiguity, misconception and inconsistent application. The desire for post-colonial nation states to sustain their sovereignty by protecting their national and international boundaries on the one hand and agitations for greater socio-political freedoms by internally oppressed groups within nation-states often engenders severe complications for the subject of self-determination and succession. Recent statistics show that both the Middle East and the African continent are still hot spots for intra and interstate conflicts, more than other continents in the world.[1]Most global conflicts have human rights and self-determination colorations.[2]Nigeria is not exempt from the list of conflict-prone nations. From north, south, east and west, there seems to be an escalation of violent agitations for secession through self-determination. Prominent among these agitations is the agitation by people of Igbo extraction to secede from Nigeria and establish the desired nation of Biafra.[3]In Northern Nigeria, there is also Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group that has evolved into one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist groups, and has threatened the corporate existence of the Nigerian nation with its radical faith-based ambition of overthrowing the Nigerian government, and replacing it with a strict Sharia law. The Boko Haram group has its origins from Islamic Wahabism.[4]In contemporary times, there have been contrasting arguments in an endless effort to balance these agitations in line with standard international law provisions. To add to it, international politics and national interests of nation-states do occasionally weigh their influence on what amounts to the right to self-determination and secession. Historical examples like the dissolution of the USSR and Yugoslavia[5]have given a new perspective to the meaning of self-determination and secession. The case of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Morocco and Western Sahara, and Palestine and Israel are also few other examples to mention.[6]It is against the backdrop of such events that this paper is hinged. Discussions endeavour to assess the agitation of groups like the Biafra agitators and Boko Haram and also initiate an inquest as to whether or not their agitations and insurrections against the Nigerian government are, in any way, justified. This is done by assessing international law and other nation legal provisions and then concluding on what should rightly be obtainable. 

 

Definitions and Concepts of Self-Determination and Secession

There are many definitions proffered by scholars and in other commentaries of ‘self-determination’ and ‘secession.’ Efforts will be made to address some of these definitions, as a good understanding of the concepts of self-determination and succession would not only be essential; it would also facilitate an understanding of the paper.[7]

“Secession,” on the other hand, is defined as “when one state ceases to exist or loses control over part of its territory, and another state comes into existence or assumes control over the territory lost by the first state.[8] It is also defined as “the action of breaking away or formally withdrawing from an alliance, a federation, a political or religious organization.”[9] The terms “secession” and “succession” in international law are different terms in meaning. Therefore, it is essential to distinguish between the two terms briefly. Although the two words are nouns, while secession means “the act of seceding, or when a few states or provinces break away from the rest of the nation,” succession means “who or what comes next, and in what order.”[10]

One of the central concerns of secession is whether the international obligations of the former state are taken over by the succeeding state after it occurs. It should also be stated  that changes in the form of government of one state, such as the replacement of a monarchy by a democratic form of government, do not necessarily, in many cases, modify or terminate the obligations incurred by the previous government.[11] Moreover, “secession” is defined as “the replacement of one  sovereignty by another with regard to its practical effects on the rights and obligations of each for the territory affected by the change of sovereignty.”[12]Statutorily, “succession of states” means “the replacement of one State by another in the responsibility for the international relations of territory.” [13]“Predecessor state” is defined as “the State which has been replaced by another State on the occurrence,”[14]while “successor State” means the State which has replaced another State on the occurrence of a succession of states.”[15]

The rule of state succession has a long history. It was incorporated from the Roman Law by the “father of International Law,” Hugo Grotius, in the 16th century.[16]According to Matthew C. R Craven in his book: In Roman law when a person dies, his rights and duties are succeeded by his successor. A state may lose part of its territory, or it may lose all of it. Loss of territory may result in the enlargement of one or more states. When a succession situation arises, the point of chief legal interest is the effect, on the international rights and obligations of the state or states concerned. State succession is distinguished from government succession. When secession takes place, then a state loses itself fully or a part of its territory, while in case of government secession, only the organization of a government or constitutional structure changes.[17]

The concept of the right to self-determination has probably existed since antiquity. It can be traced back to the French revolution which commenced from 1788 to 1791.[18]It then continued to take shape on the international scene as the modern Nation States emerged as a result of a growing awareness of national identity in Europe during the nineteenth century, because of both the bourgeois nationalism but also by socialist forces, as in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century.[19]At that time, the colonized peoples of the world were still under the firm grip of the European colonial powers. The principle of self-determination was used during World War I as a slogan in the propaganda of the allied forces to gain an advantage with the different minority groups, for instance within the Ottoman Empire.[20]It was in the post-World War I context, precisely World War II era that this principle started to take a new form. Thus, when the UN was formed in 1945 the right to self-determination was already an established term on the international scene and was included in the UN Charter, though it had been controversial at the initial stages of its development.[21] The emergence of an actual right to self-determination took place in a colonial context. Conversely, one could argue that the right to self-determination was used to justify decolonization. Thus, during the 60s and 70s, it was at its most active position as far as the right to liberation from colonial powers and issues of development were concerned.

 

Self-Determination Under International Law and in Nigeria

Self- Determination under International Law

The right to self-determination is arguably one of the most important and contentious issues today in international law.[22] Its legitimacy has justified the independence of many peoples, most significantly the independence of peoples under colonial rule. Self-determination constitutes an essential aspect of international law. The assertion of the right to self-determination by people all over the world is a contemporary issue in modern times.[23]The first fundamental element regarding self-determination which relates to international law is that which relates to sovereign equality, territorial integrity, and non-intervention.[24]This means that there is an obligation in international law to respect the sovereignty of an independent state by refraining from the use of force or from interfering with the internal affairs of that State in other ways. The second element regards the very essence and the raison d’être of the right to self-determination in the first place, namely the idea that peoples have a right to govern themselves, were a people are not self-governing.

The notion of self-determination evolved in nineteenth-century Europe where there was a considerable revival of the plebiscites as a means of determining the propriety of territorial adjustments.[25]This revival continued and became manifest in the post-World-War-I territorial settlements.[26] The concept then achieved substantial recognition as a decent and sensible way of settling territorial disputes and became reinforced by the growing notion for duress as a basis of title to territory.[27] Also, the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries[28] was one of the first international declarations on self-determination by the United Nations. The Declaration was meant to eradicate colonialism that had gripped most Asian and African states by the late 1950s.[29]

The above stated is a fundamental dilemma that causes much controversy among experts and states. For instance, it forces upon persons the question of whether secession is possible, whether it is a right or whether, on the contrary, it is prohibited. Moreso, it is opined by some scholars that “where only a portion of the population of an internationally recognized state has claims of self-determination, it naturally collides with the claims of territorial integrity of the whole population and of that State. The reason the right to self-determination is so important in international law today can partly be attributed to the fact that this right is an extension or expression of some fundamental principles in international law, namely the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity and non-intervention, in all its forms whether it is the prohibition of the direct use of force or other forms of intervention).”[30] These principles are simply connected,and so the definition and application of one will be of importance to the definition and use of the others. Each of these principles and subsequently the right to self-determination itself give rise to a set of problems and dilemmas and ultimately a need for an interpretation of the principle in question. For instance, a question the importance of which has increased lately is if there is a right to humanitarian intervention in international law, as it collides with the principle of non-intervention. Primary international instruments on self-determination will be highlighted below.

 

The U.N. Charter on Human Rights

The principle of self-determination is enshrined in Articles 1(2), 55, 97 and chapters XI and XII of the UN Charter.[31] Article 1(2) states that the purpose of the United Nations is to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace." Article 55 states that the United Nations shall promote"universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex language, or religion."Also, an obligation is placed on member states to cooperate in sustaining respect for fundamental freedoms.

The U.N. Charter accepts self-determination as a component of group human rights, and as a human rights issue of universal application. [32]It is a claimable right of all subjected peoples or communities. The right is not limited to the categories of groups specified in Chapters XI and XII of the U.N. Charter. Instead, all peoples whose rights have been subjugated in violation of international law can invoke the right of self-determination. The right of secession unquestionably exists, however, in a unique, but significant case: that of peoples, territories, and entities subjugated in violation of international law. In such cases, the people concerned have the right to regain their freedom and constitute themselves the independent Sovereign States.

 

U.N. General Assembly Resolutions 1514(xv) and 1541 (xv)

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolutions 1514(XV) 110 (Resolution1514) and 1541(XV) 111 (Resolution 1541) on December 14 and 15, 1960.[33]Primarily, the resolutions were the final and complete liberation of people still under colonial rule. Resolution 1514 reaffirms the U.N. Charter commitment to the principles of fundamental human rights and equality of nations, irrespective of size. According to Resolution 1514, dependent peoples must be liberated from the bondage of colonialism. Also, Resolution 1514 of the United Nations General Assembly warns that denying people their right to self-determination may threaten the world.[34] It declared colonialism to be illegal and urged that control over the administered territories be transferred to their inhabitants. The burden was placed upon the administering states to ensure that the right to self-determination was enforced.[35]

 

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The United Nations adopted both the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rightsin1966.[36]The International Covenants came into effect in 1976, guaranteeing the right of self-determination. Article 1 of the International Covenants state that "all peoples have the right of self-determination.” By this right, they may freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social, and cultural development. Article 1 further provides that "States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations."The International Covenants also incorporate internal and external aspects of the right to self-determination. The external aspect embraces the right of a nation to be free from external influence or domination. The internal aspect embodies the right to participate in the democratic process in one's government.[37]Additionally, by guaranteeing self-determination as a group human right, both articles safeguard human rights. The right of self-determination in Article 1 of theInternational Covenants is available to all people regardless of whether they are in colonial bondage or living in metropolitan states.[38]

 

The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights

Then Organization of African Unity (now the African Union) adopted the African Charter on human and Peoples' Rights (African Charter) in 1981.[39]Articles 19 and20 of the Charter guarantees the right of self-determination to all peoples. Article 19 provides, "All peoples shall be equal; they shall enjoy the same respect and shall have the same rights. Nothing shall justify the domination of a people by another." Article 20 provides:

(1) All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.

(2) Colonized or oppressed peoples shall have the right to free themselves from the bonds of domination by resorting to any means recognized by the international community.

(3) All peoples shall have the right to the assistance of the state's parties to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination, be it political, economic or cultural.

 

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

On 25 June 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights, in recognizing that thge promotion and protection of human rights is a matter of priority for the international community, adopted the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action (Vienna Declaration).[40]Reaffirming Article 1 of the International Covenants, the Vienna Declaration stipulates that the denial of the right of self-determination constitutes a violation of human rights. Furthermore, in its preamble, the Vienna Declaration reaffirms the commitment of U.N. members in Article 56 of the Charter. In sum, the Vienna Declaration asserts self-determination as a group human right.

 

The Declaration on Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations

The Declaration of Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations (Anniversary Declaration) adopted by the United Nations in 1995.[41]The Anniversary Declaration reaffirms the goals of the United Nations which are to foster peace, development, equality, and justice. It also recognizes the right to self-determination.[42]It stipulates that the member states will continue to reaffirm the right of self-determination of all peoples, taking into account the particular situation of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, and recognize the right of peoples to take legitimate action by the Charter of the UnitedNations to realize their inalienable right of self-determination. The Anniversary Declaration recognizes self-determination as an inalienable right that cannot be derogated.

 

 

Self- Determination and Secession in Nigeria

Agitations to exercise the right of self-determination in Nigeria, which hasoftentilted towards secession, has a long history. Resistance against British occupation by natives in Nigeria in the late 19th to early 20th centuries, the Urhobo riots in Warri in 1952,[43] the famous Aba Women’s Riots in eastern colonial Nigeria[44] and other forms of resistance in Nigeria like the Lagas water rate riots,[45] the Tiv riots[46] and the civil service strikes of 1945.[47]Generally, the return to democracy in Nigeria in 1999brought great expectations among many Nigerians, especially as it relates to resurgent issues like federal character, equal allocation of federal resources,  restructuring the federal system and other sensitive issues bothering on the nationality.[48]Unfortunately, owing to prevailing political and institutional weakness in the country, the new democratic government could not address these issues. This failure occasioned the rise of secessionist groups which continuously threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria till this day.

Agitations among the Yoruba, for instance, reflects of separatism come in different forms; from a quest for the Oduduwa Republic to those championing a Sovereign National Conference to decide if the federating units of the country still want to continue to live together, and, if so, under what arrangements.[49]  In the northern region, there are intermittent demands for the Arewa Republic. There is also a perception of the “North” as a separate region from Nigeria.[50] In the Niger Delta, apart from the demand for the Niger Delta Republic, elements of separatism are embedded in the demands for resource control by activists in the region.[51] In essence, there exists a widespread feeling of alienation and dissatisfaction in the different regions of the Nigerian federation. This situation has deepened mistrust and inflamed separatist agitations. However, there has never been a referendum in any of the regions agitating for separation.  This has made it difficult to know whether the leaders of the various separatist groups reflect the wishes of the entire people of those regions or whether the agitations are smoke screens for achieving private agenda. For the sake of scope limitation, only the Biafra and Boko-Haram agitations will be examined.

 

Igbo Socio-Political Agitations and the Right to Self Determination Through Secession

It is true that agitations for self- succession are not peculiar to the Eastern region of Nigeria alone. Before the Biafra war, ethnic groups in almost all regions of Nigeria have displayed some sort of desire to secede from Nigeria. It has even been argued that the Biafra issue was then treated as a paradox.[52]Therefore, emphasizing Biafra agitations should be misconstrued as isolating and over flogging one of the many similar problems in different parts of Nigeria. Having clarified the contention above, the question to be addressed is whether or not Igbos can exercise the right to self-determination through prominent socio-cultural groups, otherwise called Biafra agitators. Also, discussions will briefly focus on whether or not the right to self-determination can be exercised through succession.

The political tensions created by vocal Igbo socio-political groups like Ohaneze Ndigbo, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOP) in the exercise of the right to self-determination is, like other socio-cultural groups in different regions of Nigeria, not surprising. The Nigerian Civil War of 19967 to 1970 caused by the decision of Biafra to establish itself as a sovereign state and exercise of the right of self-determination has ever since haunted Nigerian politics and corporate existence. Currently, there is a strong and more aggressive resurgence of Igbo socio-political groups in asserting their right to self-determination and threats of succession.[53]Some critics have berated the slow response and insensitivity of government to such agitations. They claim that the government should engage such groups in dialogue, as such agitations have root causes and are not mere violent insurrections as claimed by the government.[54]

Currently, two arguments exist as regards the right to succession through self-determination by Biafra socio-political groups. The first argument propounds that where there are gross human rights violations against a particular people and if there is a threat to their physical existence such as genocide, they may choose to secede by exercising their right to self-determination.[55] It is also argued that if a government does not guarantee the safety and security of the lives and properties of its population, as in the case of killings of people of Igbo extraction before and after the Biafra war of 1967, then such government has failed in its obligations and does not deserve the allegiance of such people. Further, the government cannot invoke the principle of territorial integrity under section 2(1) (2) of the Nigerian Constitution,[56] as a defence to preventing an oppressed people from the succession. More so, the argument posits that Biafrans satisfy the criteria required of "peoples" as mentioned in the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights[57]and therefore, they have an unreserved right of self-determination. Additionally, the people of the Eastern region of Biafra, qualify as the "self"[58]for self-determination.

Another variant argument agrees with the view that even though the right to self-determination for all peoples is an inalienable human right, such a right cannot be absolute. The right to self-determination as contemplated by international legal instruments is not a right that applies to ‘peoples’ living under non-colonial domination.[59] It is a right exercised primarily by people living under colonial regimes, which could be exercised only once, to free themselves from colonial rule and oppression. Also posited are the requirements for a group to qualify as “peoples” under international law, as the right to self-determination can be exercised only by “peoplesBiafra agitators, according to this argument do not meet the international requirements of “peoples” The meaning to be attributed to the concept of ‘peoples’ for the rights of people in international law in this regard includes groups who enjoy qualities like common historical tradition, racial or ethnic identity, cultural homogeneity, linguistic unity, religious or ideological affinity, territorial connection or common economic life. The group as a whole must have the will to be identified as ‘a people’ or the consciousness of being ‘a people.’

The position of this paper is, without prejudice and subject to certain exceptions, aligned to the second argument mentioned above. Agitations for succession through self-determination, as mentioned above, are overwhelmingly controversial issues till this day. In the first place, it is undeniable that the Nigerian government does not recognize any sovereign nation called the Republic of Biafra. This position was laid down in the Nigerian case of Ike &Ors. v. Nzekwe&Ors.[60] Where a question arose as to whether the Supreme Court can entertain an appeal from the High Court of Biafra, the court held:

There is, of course, the further fact that the Supreme Court cannot entertain an appeal from the so-called "High Court of Biafra" because it is not one of the 12 State High Courts in existence in the country since May 27, 1967, from which alone appeals lie to the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

The right to succession through self-determination sought to be expressed by pro-Biafra groups is not unique to Nigeria.  Similar cases outside Nigeria can be good references to compare with the Nigerian situation. The Canadian case of Re Secession of Quebec[61]the court, among other issues, distinguished between internal and external self-determination; the former being the accepted political development of a State and the latter could only be invoked unilaterally in extreme situations. It also concluded that Canada is a sovereign and independent State conducting itself in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. Thus, the Quebecers had no right to secede’. The Court concedes that the Canadian Constitution is silent about whether a province may secede from the union. However, the Court explains that secession would alter the governmental structure of Canada in a way that is inconsistent with the current constitutional arrangements.[62] In tandem with Nigeria, succession through self-determination cannot be granted under the circumstances mentioned in Quebec’s case above. However, where extreme circumstances like systematic and outright denial of rights the agitators can be proved, then it can be considered. More so, the preamble to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria expresses the desire of all Nigerians to be bound together with the entire people of Nigeria as “one Indivisible and Indissoluble Sovereign Nation under God dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation, and understanding…[63] Admittedly, this provision of the constitution has come under severe criticism bothering the legitimacy of the constitution itself. However, it is opined that the contention does not negate the fact that the Nigerian constitution is a working document accepted as the grund norm from which other laws derive their legitimacy. Based on this assertion, the Biafra project will not have the legitimacy or backing of the law.

It is the perspective of this paper that there is no substantial evidence to suggest that Biafra people meet the threshold of a colonial people or oppressed people or that they have been denied meaningful access to government to pursue their political, economic, cultural and social development. It may have to take more than mere allegations to prove that such a state of facts exists to warrant a judicious grant of succession through self-determination. Besides, as international law currently requires, any agitation for self-determination should be achieved Nigerian subject laws. Unfortunately, such laws are not favourable to the secession of a group through self-determination.

International law does not explicitly grant parts of sovereign states the legal right to secede unilaterally from their parent state. Almost all the international instruments that recognize the existence of a peoples' right to self-determination contain the caveat that exercise of the right should not constitute a threat to the territorial integrity of an existing state, provided the state in question is conducting itself in a manner that does not undermine the general principle of self-determination. The concept of self-determination is envisaged, as mentioned above, to relieve colonized territories of colonial rule states. This postulation is an issue of debate. However, based on legal interpretations of the intent of international law provisions, this is the perceived position. This is not to deny that the postcolonial world has not witnessed instances of self-determination, but these situations have been achieved in consonances with the constitutional provisions of such states and their peculiarities.

Boko-Haram Socio-Political Agitations and the Right to Self Determination Through Succession

The Al Ah-Sunnah Wa-l-Jamma’a Wa-Ihijra sect, otherwise known as Boko Haram in the Hausa language which translates as “Western education is forbidden”), is an Islamic terrorist group which has a 2018 rating of being the deadliest terrorist group in the world.[64]In terms of its scale of attacks, it significantly dwarfs other affiliated terrorist groups like Al Shabab in Somalia and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).The jihadi-Salafist group, under the leadership of one Mohammed Yusuf who was killed on 31 July 2009,[65]taught its followers to adhere to strict teachings of Islam Al Shabaab and Boko Haram are two jihadi-Salafist major groups in Sub-Saharan and Eastern African regions that are known to manipulate the tenets of jihad to justify violence on an immense scale.[66]The patronage inclinations, religious and ethnic loyalties which supersede political life of the majority of Nigerians largely contributed to the growth and expansion of Boko Haram as a terrorist group which, at one time, boasted of about 15,000 members.[67]The casualty figures resulting from Boko Haram activities are well over 6,500 deaths, with a displaced civilian population of over 3.3 million.[68]

The prime objective of the Boko Haram group is strongly driven by their religious belief. Their beliefs are centered on the rejection of everything deemed un-Islamic and the total reversion to the original practice of Islam through the use of violence, even against other Muslims.[69]Also, its ideological propaganda for recruitment and the structural and strategic organization has hinged on the principle of rejecting western civilization, characterized by the modern Nigerian government and establishing a society based on Islamic values and structured around an Islamic state.[70]The question of whether succession is a goal of Boko Haram Islamists is a controversial one. It is, however, opined here that overthrowing the government and establishing an Islamic state within the entire territory of Nigeria, rather than outright succession as in the case of Biafra agitations, is the ultimate objective of Boko Haram Islamists.[71]

Legally, Boko Haram Islamists are classified as terrorists.[72]Controversies surrounding the concept of terrorism[73] have occasioned difficulties in proffering a universally acceptable definition of the term. However, a terrorist is legally defined as “a person who unlawfully uses of force or violence against persons or property to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.[74]Terrorism, on the other hand, is simply defined as “the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to coerce or intimidate a government or the civilian population in furtherance of political or social objectives.” [75]In its desire to fight terrorism, Nigeria enacted a law on prevention of terrorism first in 2011 and amended same in 2013, which is known as the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013.[76]In the same respect, international legal instruments on prevention terrorist acts to which Nigeria is a signatory include the 1963 Tokyo Convention on Offences and Certain other Act Committed on Board Aircrafts, the 1970 Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, the 1971 Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation, the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internally Protected Persons and the 1979 New York Convention Against the Taking of Hostages.[77]

Killings of innocents, displacing civilian populations and hoisting of Islamic flags in place of the Nigerian flag by Boko Haram terrorists in territories within Nigeria and beyond have considered by both the Nigerian government and other nations of the world overt acts of war against the territorial integrity of the Nigerian state.[78]In achieving the objectives of this paper, it is posited that terrorist activities perpetrated by the terror groups like Boko Haram have no social, political and legal justification both under national and international laws.An attempt to overthrow a legitimate government through terror and the use of force is, to all intents and purposes, nothing short of treason. National liberation struggles have often provided moral or legal justification for terrorist acts.The issue, simply put, is whether violence through terror utilized as a political weapon, wherever or whenever a dissident group is unable to achieve its separatist objectives by any legitimized means, is permissible within the framework of international law.[79]Thus, does a recognized normative right of rebellion or revolution allow the use of either random or calculated violence directed against innocent third parties as a generally sanctioned method of internal conflict?[80] What exactly are the bounds of irregular warfare and to whom do they apply?[81] Should terrorist actors, when claiming involvement with the self-determinative process, be immune from criminal liability? Must self-determination always be considered a license to kill? The verdict here is that violence is not automatically a form of public protest when directed against particular political systems and established governments. This is how terrorism usually operates.

This is the reason why the international community strongly lends its support and cooperation to the fight against terrorism in countries like Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others. It is therefore concluded that agitations by Boko Haram Islamists in Nigeria have no legal backing whatsoever. However, this should not trivialize major concerns and problems like poverty and illiteracy, which are more prevalent in North-Eastern Nigeria than in any other region.    

 

Conclusion

The paper, so far, has discussed the controversial concepts of self-determination and succession in Nigeria articulated by groups from South Eastern Nigeria. Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, on the other hand, agitates to overthrow the Nigerian government through violent means to establish an Islamic caliphate. The difference between the two mentioned agitations in the eye of both national and international instruments is manifestly evident. While the former is driven by socio-political and even economic motives, the motives of the latter are purely religious. However, the similarity between the two agitations is that, based on the conclusion of this research, they are both causes that lack legitimacy. Contrarily, it would be agreed that the statement credited to the Federal Government recently that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable[82]is not without some doubt.[83]It is, with the utmost respect, opined that Nigeria’s unity could be negotiated in a peaceful and civilized manner whether there are cogent reasons for doing so. It is admitted that the problems bedeviling Nigeria are real and pending, and it would be foolish to neglect or wave away current realities and agitations as the devices of mischief makers. It is hoped that peaceful dialogue, which has resolved similar controversies in other nations will be employed rather than fruitless circles of violence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Articles

Friedlander RA, ‘Terrorism and National Liberation Movements: Can Rights Derive from Wrongs’ (1981) 13 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law

Kreuter A, ‘Self-Determination, Sovereignty, and the Failure of States: Somaliland and the Case for Justified Secession Note’ (2010) 19 Minnesota Journal of International Law

Nanda VP, ‘Self-Determination under International Law: Validity of Claims to Secede Introductory Article’ (1981) 13 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 257

Majzub DB, ‘Does Secession Mean Succession - The International Law of Treaty Succession and an Independent Quebec’ (1998) 24 Queen’s Law Journal 411

Weller M, ‘Settling Self-Determination Conflicts: Recent Developments’ (2009) 20 European Journal of International Law 111

 

Books and Chapters

Adeniji DMI, Nigeria: Boko Haram and National Security (Lulu.com 2015)

Comolli V, Boko Haram: Nigeria’s Islamist Insurgency (Oxford University Press 2015)

Craven MCR, Fitzmaurice M and Vogiatzi M, Time, History and International Law (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2007)

Diamond MJ, Women and Revolution: Global Expressions (Springer Science & Business Media 2013)

Doyle W, The Oxford History of the French Revolution (OUP Oxford 2002)

Egan A, Pech L and O’Cinneide C, ‘Enhancing EU Actions on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights within Its Human Rights Policy’ (European Parliament Policy Department, Directorate-General for External Policies 2018)

Ekeh PP, History of the Urhobo People of Niger Delta (Urhobo Historical Society 2007)

Falola T and Heaton MM, A History of Nigeria (Cambridge University Press 2008)

Heraclides A, The Self-Determination of Minorities in International Politics (Routledge 2012)

Hill JNC, Sufism in Northern Nigeria: Force for Counter-Radicalization? (Strategic Studies Institute 2010)

Hofbauer JA, Sovereignty in the Exercise of the Right to Self-Determination (BRILL 2016)

Igiri R, Aspect of Revolution in Nigeria (Author House 2014)

Luckham R, The Nigerian Military a Sociological Analysis of Authority & Revolt 1960-1967 (CUP Archive 1971)

Martin EA, A Dictionary of Law (5th edn, Oxford University Press 2009)

Newman E and Triman RTAJ, Multilateralism Under Challenge: Power, International Order, And Structural Change (Academic Foundation)

Obiyan AS and Amuwo K, Nigeria’s Democratic Experience in the Fourth Republic Since 1999: Policies and Politics (Rowman & Littlefield 2013)

Pavković A and Radan P, On the Way to Statehood: Secession and Globalisation (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd 2008)

Plokhy S, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (Basic Books 2015)

Rights UNO of the HC for H and Association IB, Human Rights In The Administration Of Justice: A Manual On Human Rights For Judges, Prosecutors And Lawyers (United Nations Publications 2003)

Roepstorff K, The Politics of Self-Determination: Beyond the Decolonisation Process (Routledge 2013)

Sureda AR, The Evolution of the Right of Self-Determination: A Study of United Nations Practice (Sijthoff 1973)

Thurston A, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press 2016)

Smith M, Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War (IBTauris 2015)

Sterio M, The Right to Self-Determination Under International Law: ‘Selfistans’, Secession and the Rule of the Great Powers (Routledge 2013)

Walter C, Ungern-Sternberg A von and Abushov K, Self-Determination and Secession in International Law (Oxford University Press 2014)

 

Cases

 

Ike &Ors. v. Nzekwe&Ors(1975) LPELR-1468(SC)

Re Secession of Quebec [1998] 2 SCR 217

 

Constitutions

 

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)

Thurston A, ‘“The Disease Is Unbelief”: Boko Haram’s Religious and Political Worldview’ (Brookings Institution 2016) The Brookings Project on US Relations with the Islamic World 22

 

International Treaties and Conventions

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights ("Banjul Charter"), 27 June 1981, CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982). The contents of the charter are not any different from the contents of the UN Charter.

Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, General Assembly Resolution 1514, 15 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 16) 66, U.N. Doc. A/4684 (1960).

UN General Assembly, Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties, 6 November 1996Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties,23 August 1978, 1946

UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948

UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 14 December 1960, A/RES/1514(XV).

UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations,24 October 1995,

A/RES/50/6.

UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, A/RES/2200.

UN General Assembly, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 12 July 1993, A/CONF.157/23.

UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 14 December 1960, A/RES/1514(XV),

United Nations Charter on Human Rights of 1945

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966,

African Charter on Human Peoples Rights of 1986, Permanent Court of International Justice, Interpretation of the Convention Between Greece and Bulgaria Respecting Reciprocal Emigration, Signed at Neuilly-Sur-Seine on 17 November 1919, 1930.

Interpretation of the Convention Between Greece and Bulgaria Respecting Reciprocal Emigration, 1930 P.C.I.J. (ser. F) No. 17

 

Websites

Abdullah M, ‘The Right to Self Determination in International Law: Scruternising the Colonial Aspect of the Right to Self Determination’ (Master’s Thesis, University of Göteborg 2006) <https://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/1888/1/gupea_2077_1888_1.pdf> accessed 26 April 2019

Adibe J, ‘Separatist Agitations in Nigeria: Causes and Trajectories’ (Brookings, 12 July 2017) <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2017/07/12/separatist-agitations-in-nigeria-causes-and-trajectories/> accessed 27 March 2019

Adibe J, ‘Separatist Agitations in Nigeria: The Way Forward’ (Brookings, 17 July 2017) <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2017/07/17/separatist-agitations-in-nigeria-the-way-forward/> accessed 27 March 2019

Aluko M a. O and Ajani OA, ‘Ethnic Nationalism and the Nigerian Democratic Experience in the Fourth Republic’ (2009) 3 African Research Review <https://www.ajol.info/index.php/afrrev/article/view/43593> accessed 27 March 2019

Amnesty International, ‘Boko Haram at a Glance’ (Amnesty International, 29 January 2015) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/01/boko-haram-glance/> accessed 27 March 2019

Amnesty International, ‘Armed Conflict’ (Amnesty International, 2019) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/armed-conflict/> accessed 20 March 2019

Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset, ‘While Overall Violence Has Declined in 2018, Conflict Is Spreading’ (ReliefWeb, 21 December 2018) <https://reliefweb.int/report/world/while-overall-violence-has-declined-2018-conflict-spreading> accessed 20 March 2019

Bedjaoui M, ‘Succession of States in Respect of Matters Other than Treaties’ (United Nations 1973) Sixth Report on Succession of States in Respect of Matters other than Treaties, by Mr Mohammed Bedjaoui, Special Rapporteur : Draft Articles with Commentaries on Succession to Public Property A/CN.4/267 <http://legal.un.org/ilc/documentation/english/a_cn4_267.pdf> accessed 20 March 2019

Bowett DW, ‘Self-Determination and Political Rights in the Developing Countries International Law and Developing Countries: Panel: Problems of Self-Determination and Political Rights in the Developing Countries’ (1966) 60 American Society of International Law Proceedings <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/asilp60&i=161> accessed 21 March 2019

‘Buhari: Nigeria’s Unity “Settled and Not Negotiable”’ (BBC News) <https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-41004640/buhari-nigeria-s-unity-settled-and-not-negotiable> accessed 27 March 2019

Campbell J and Harwood A, ‘Boko Haram’s Deadly Impact’ (Council on Foreign Relations, 20 August 2018) <https://www.cfr.org/article/boko-harams-deadly-impact> accessed 27 March 2019

Dudley D, ‘The Deadliest Terrorist Groups In The World Today’ (Forbes, 5 December 2018) <https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2018/12/05/deadliest-terrorist-groups-in-the-world/> accessed 27 March 2019

Ganor B, ‘Defining Terrorism - Is One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter?’ (International Institute for Counter Terrorism, 1 January 2010) <https://www.ict.org.il/Article/1123/Defining-Terrorism-Is-One-Mans-Terrorist-Another-Mans-Freedom-Fighter#gsc.tab=0> accessed 27 March 2019

Gayim E, ‘The United Nations Law on Self-Determination and Indigenous Peoples The Small Nations of the North in International and Constitutional Law - Papers from a Seminar Held in June 1980 in Mariehamn, Aland’ (1982) 51 Nordisk Tidsskrift for International Ret 53 <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/nordic51&i=59>

 ‘Legal Definition of Terrorism’ (The Free Legal Dictionary, 23 March 2019) <http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/terrorism> accessed 29 March 2019

‘Listed Terrorist Organisations’ (Australian Government: Australian National Security, 2019) <https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/listedterroristorganisations/pages/default.aspx> accessed 25 April 2019

‘Nigeria Protests over Biafra Activist’s Arrest’ (BBC News, 10 November 2015) <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34777835> accessed 27 March 2019

Nixon CR, ‘Self-Determination: The Nigeria/Biafra Case’ (1971) 24 World Politics 473 <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/wpot24&i=769> accessed 27 March 2019

Okoye P, ‘Strengthening Capacity to Counter Terrorism in Nigeria’ (UNODC: UN Office on Drugs and Crime) <https://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/strengthening-capacity-to-counter-terrorism-in-nigeria.html> accessed 29 March 2019

Panter-Brick SK, ‘The Right to Self-Determination: Its Application to Nigeria’ (1968) 44 International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 254 <https://www.jstor.org/stable/2613122> accessed 27 March 2019

Pesature D, ‘Justifying Jihad: A Case Study of Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram’ Small Wars Journal <https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/justifying-jihad-a-case-study-of-al-shabaab-and-boko-haram> accessed 27 March 2019

Robert Attoh N, ‘Biafran Self-Determination and Radio Biafra: Legal Issues Arising (2)’ Premium Times Nigeria (Lagos Nigeria, 15 November 2015) <https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2015/11/15/biafran-self-determination-and-radio-biafra-legal-issues-arising-2-by-nonso-robert-attoh/> accessed 27 March 2019

Sampson IT and Onuoha FC, ‘“Forcing the Horse to Drink or Making It Realise Its Thirst”? Understanding the Enactment of Anti-Terrorism Legislation (ATL) in Nigeria’ (2011) 5 Perspectives on Terrorism <http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/154> accessed 29 March 2019

 ‘Seccession’ (The Free Dictionary, 2019) <https://www.thefreedictionary.com/seccession> accessed 20 March 2019

Shibayan D, ‘It’s Absurd to Say Nigeria’s Unity Is Non-Negotiable, Southern Leaders Tell Buhari’ (The Cable News, 24 August 2017) <https://www.thecable.ng/absurd-say-nigerias-unity-non-negotiable-southern-leaders-tell-buhari> accessed 27 March 2019

Siollun M, ‘The Jihadi Too Violent for ISIS’ [2016] FP <https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/10/03/the-jihadist-too-violent-for-isis-boko-haram-shekau/> accessed 27 March 2019

Spanu M, ‘What Is Self-Determination? Using History to Understand International Relations’ (E International Relations, 17 April 2014) <https://www.e-ir.info/2014/04/17/what-is-self-determination-using-history-to-understand-international-relations/> accessed 22 April 2019

 ‘U.N. Security Council Blacklists Nigeria’s Boko Haram’ (CBS News) <https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-n-security-council-blacklists-nigerias-boko-haram/> accessed 23 April 2019

UNHCR, ‘Figures at a Glance: UNHCR Global Trends 2017 Report’ (UNHCR Philipines, 2018) <https://www.unhcr.org/ph/figures-at-a-glance> accessed 20 March 2019

US Department of State, ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ (US Department of State: Diplomacy in Action, 2019) <https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm> accessed 25 April 2019

W Curry K, ‘Easily Confused Words: Succession vs. Secession’ (Kathleen W Curry, 21 October 2015) <https://kathleenwcurry.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/easily-confused-words-succession-vs-secession/> accessed 20 March 2019

 

 



[1]Armed Conflict Location and Events Dataset, ‘While Overall Violence Has Declined in 2018, Conflict Is Spreading’ (ReliefWeb, 21 December 2018) <https://reliefweb.int/report/world/while-overall-violence-has-declined-2018-conflict-spreading> accessed 20 March 2019; Amnesty International, ‘Armed Conflict’ (Amnesty International, 2019) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/what-we-do/armed-conflict/> accessed 20 March 2019. In the UNHCR’s annual Global Trends Report released on 19 June 2018, there are 68.5 million people around the world that were forcibly displaced at the end of 2017. See generally UNHCR, ‘Figures at a Glance: UNHCR Global Trends 2017 Report’ (UNHCR Philipines, 2018) <https://www.unhcr.org/ph/figures-at-a-glance> accessed 20 March 2019.

[2]Marc Weller, ‘Settling Self-Determination Conflicts: Recent Developments’ (2009) 20 European Journal of International Law 111.

[3]Richard Igiri, Aspect of Revolution in Nigeria (Author House 2014) 62.

[4]Jonathan NC Hill, Sufism in Northern Nigeria: Force for Counter-Radicalization? (Strategic Studies Institute 2010).

[5]Serhii Plokhy, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union (Basic Books 2015); Aleksandar Pavković and Peter Radan, On the Way to Statehood: Secession and Globalisation (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd 2008) 87, 88.

[6]Pavković and Radan (n 5).

[7]Kristina Roepstorff, The Politics of Self-Determination: Beyond the Decolonisation Process (Routledge 2013) 9.

[8]‘Seccession’ (The Free Dictionary, 2019) <https://www.thefreedictionary.com/seccession> accessed 20 March 2019.

[9]Elizabeth A Martin, A Dictionary of Law (5th edn, Oxford University Press 2009) 449.

[10]Kathleen W Curry, ‘Easily Confused Words: Succession vs. Secession’ (Kathleen W Curry, 21 October 2015) <https://kathleenwcurry.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/easily-confused-words-succession-vs-secession/> accessed 20 March 2019.Seccession and succession can also be viewed within the context of continuation and dissolution. A continuation occurs when a colony or sub-unit leaves a predecessor state but the processor state continues its existence unaltered. While dissolution is a state where there is a dissolution of the predecessor state  and there is an emergence of two or more successor states in its place. See Diba B Majzub, ‘Does Secession Mean Succession - The International Law of Treaty Succession and an Independent Quebec’ (1998) 24 Queen’s Law Journal 411, 419.

[11]‘Seccession’ (n 8).

[12]Mohammed Bedjaoui, ‘Succession of States in Respect of Matters Other than Treaties’ (United Nations 1973) Sixth Report on Succession of States in Respect of Matters other than Treaties, by Mr Mohammed Bedjaoui, Special Rapporteur : Draft Articles with Commentaries on Succession to Public Property A/CN.4/267 15 <http://legal.un.org/ilc/documentation/english/a_cn4_267.pdf> accessed 20 March 2019.

[13] UN General Assembly, Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties, 6 November 1996Vienna Convention on Succession of States in Respect of Treaties,23 August 1978, 1946, art 2(1)(b).

[14] ibid

[15] ibid

[16]Matthew CR Craven, Malgosia Fitzmaurice and Maria Vogiatzi, Time, History and International Law (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 2007) 31.

[17]Aaron Kreuter, ‘Self-Determination, Sovereignty, and the Failure of States: Somaliland and the Case for Justified Secession Note’ (2010) 19 Minnesota Journal of International Law 363–372.

[18]William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution (OUP Oxford 2002) 7–10.

[19]Jane A Hofbauer, Sovereignty in the Exercise of the Right to Self-Determination (BRILL 2016) 63, 64.

[20] ibidat 32.

[21] Maja Spanu, ‘What Is Self-Determination? Using History to Understand International Relations’ (E International Relations, 17 April 2014) <https://www.e-ir.info/2014/04/17/what-is-self-determination-using-history-to-understand-international-relations/> accessed 22 April 2019.

[22]A Rigo Sureda, The Evolution of the Right of Self-Determination: A Study of United Nations Practice (Sijthoff 1973).

[23]Christian Walter, Antje von Ungern-Sternberg and Kavus Abushov, Self-Determination and Secession in International Law (Oxford University Press 2014) 11,12.

[24]Edward Newman and Ramesh Thakur And John Triman, Multilateralism Under Challenge: Power, International Order, And Structural Change (Academic Foundation) 109,110.

[25]DW Bowett, ‘Self-Determination and Political Rights in the Developing Countries International Law and Developing Countries: Panel: Problems of Self-Determination and Political Rights in the Developing Countries’ (1966) 60 American Society of International Law Proceedings 180 <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/asilp60&i=161> accessed 21 March 2019.

[26]ibid.

[27]ibid.

[28] Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, General Assembly Resolution 1514, 15 U.N. GAOR, Supp. (No. 16) 66, U.N. Doc. A/4684 (1960).

[29]Ved P Nanda, ‘Self-Determination under International Law: Validity of Claims to Secede Introductory Article’ (1981) 13 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 257, 275.

[30] Maya Abdullah, ‘The Right to Self Determination in International Law: Scrutinizing the Colonial Aspect of the Right to Self Determination’ (Master’s Thesis, University of Göteborg 2006) 21 <https://gupea.ub.gu.se/bitstream/2077/1888/1/gupea_2077_1888_1.pdf> accessed 26 April 2019.

[31] UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December1948, 217 A (III).

[32]Eyassu Gayim, ‘The United Nations Law on Self-Determination and Indigenous Peoples The Small Nations of the North in International and Constitutional Law - Papers from a Seminar Held in June 1980 in Mariehamn, Aland’ (1982) 51 Nordisk Tidsskrift for International Ret 53 <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/nordic51&i=59> accessed 21 March 2019.

.

[33]UN General Assembly, United Nations General Assembly Resolutions <https://www.un.org/en/sections/documents/general-assembly-resolutions/>accessed 21 March 2019.

[34] UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 14 December 1960, A/RES/1514(XV).

[35] ibid. See also Alejandro Schwed, ‘Territorial Claims as a Limitation to the Right of Self-Determination in the Context of the Falkland Islands Dispute’ 31, 444.

[36]UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, A/RES/2200.

[37]Annabel Egan, Laurent Pech and Colm O’Cinneide, ‘Enhancing EU Actions on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights within Its Human Rights Policy’ (European Parliament Policy Department, Directorate-General for External Policies 2018).

[38]United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and International Bar Association, Human Rights In The Administration Of Justice: A Manual On Human Rights For Judges, Prosecutors And Lawyers (United Nations Publications 2003) 31–38.

[39] Organization of African Unity(OAU), African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights ("Banjul Charter"), 27 June 1981, CAB/LEG/67/3 rev. 5, 21 I.L.M. 58 (1982). The contents of the charter are not any different from the contents of the UN Charter.

[40] UN General Assembly, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 12 July 1993, A/CONF.157/23.

[41] UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations,24 October 1995,

A/RES/50/6.

[42] art 1-14.

[43]Peter Palmer Ekeh, History of the Urhobo People of Niger Delta (Urhobo Historical Society 2007) 262.

[44]Marie Josephine Diamond, Women and Revolution: Global Expressions (Springer Science & Business Media 2013) 4.

[45]Toyin Falola and Matthew M Heaton, A History of Nigeria (Cambridge University Press 2008) 15.

[46]Robin Luckham, The Nigerian Military a Sociological Analysis of Authority & Revolt 1960-1967 (CUP Archive 1971) 220.

[47]Falola and Heaton (n 48) 15.

[48]A Sat Obiyan and Kunle Amuwo, Nigeria’s Democratic Experience in the Fourth Republic Since 1999: Policies and Politics (Rowman & Littlefield 2013) 1–15.

[49]Jideofor Adibe, ‘Separatist Agitations in Nigeria: Causes and Trajectories’ (Brookings, 12 July 2017) <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2017/07/12/separatist-agitations-in-nigeria-causes-and-trajectories/> accessed 27 March 2019.

[50]MaO Aluko and OA Ajani, ‘Ethnic Nationalism and the Nigerian Democratic Experience in the Fourth Republic’ (2009) 3 African Research Review 1–11 <https://www.ajol.info/index.php/afrrev/article/view/43593> accessed 27 March 2019.

[51]Cyril Obi and Siri Aas Rustad, Oil and Insurgency in the Niger Delta: Managing the Complex Politics of Petro-Violence (Zed Books Ltd 2011) 37.

[52]Alexis Heraclides, The Self-Determination of Minorities in International Politics (Routledge 2012) 80.

[53]Violent protests have taken place in Delta State, Enugu State, Rivers State, Cross River State, Abia State, Imo State, Akwa Ibom State and Anambra State since the arrest of  Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, a leading figure Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the director of London-based radio station Radio Biafra, by the Department of State Security on 14th October, 2015.Hundreds of protesters have lost their lives as a result of the protests. See ‘Nigeria Protests over Biafra Activist’s Arrest’ (BBC News, 10 November 2015) <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34777835> accessed 27 March 2019.

[54]Jideofor Adibe, ‘Separatist Agitations in Nigeria: The Way Forward’ (Brookings, 17 July 2017) <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/africa-in-focus/2017/07/17/separatist-agitations-in-nigeria-the-way-forward/> accessed 27 March 2019.

[55]Nonso Robert Attoh, ‘Biafran Self-Determination and Radio Biafra: Legal Issues Arising (2)’ Premium Times Nigeria (Lagos Nigeria, 15 November 2015) <https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2015/11/15/biafran-self-determination-and-radio-biafra-legal-issues-arising-2-by-nonso-robert-attoh/> accessed 27 March 2019; Charles R Nixon, ‘Self-Determination: The Nigeria/Biafra Case’ (1971) 24 World Politics 473 <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/wpot24&i=769> accessed 27 March 2019.

[56] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999(as amended).

[57]UN General Assembly, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, 14 December 1960, A/RES/1514(XV),Resolution1514 (XV).Articles 1 and 2 of United Nations Charter on Human Rights of 1945, Articles 1(2)(3) of both the International Covenant on Economic, Social and cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, Art 20(1) of the African Charter on Human Peoples Rights of 1986,Permanent Court of International Justice,  Interpretation of the Convention Between Greece and Bulgaria Respecting Reciprocal Emigration, Signed at Neuilly-Sur-Seine on 17 November 1919, 1930, Advisory Opinion No. 17, Interpretation of the Convention Between Greece and Bulgaria Respecting Reciprocal Emigration, 1930 P.C.I.J. (ser. F) No. 17 at 4, 21.

[58]ibid.

[59]SK Panter-Brick, ‘The Right to Self-Determination: Its Application to Nigeria’ (1968) 44 International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-) 254 <https://www.jstor.org/stable/2613122> accessed 27 March 2019.

[60](1975) LPELR-1468(SC)

[61] [1998] 2 SCR 217

[62] Similar cases of succession can be seen in Katangese Peoples' Congress v. Zaire, African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Comm. No. 75/92 (1995). Also, other subsisting agitations include Kashmiri Muslims of India, Tibetans of China, the Oromos and Somalis in Ethiopia, the Chechens in Russia, the South Ossetians in Georgia, the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and Syria, the Corsicans in France and other intra state agitations.

[63] Preamble to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). See also Section 2(2) of the Constitution.

[64]Dominic Dudley, ‘The Deadliest Terrorist Groups In The World Today’ (Forbes, 5 December 2018) <https://www.forbes.com/sites/dominicdudley/2018/12/05/deadliest-terrorist-groups-in-the-world/> accessed 27 March 2019.

[65]Max Siollun, ‘The Jihadi Too Violent for ISIS’ [2016] FP<https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/10/03/the-jihadist-too-violent-for-isis-boko-haram-shekau/> accessed 27 March 2019; Mike Smith, Boko Haram: Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War (IBTauris 2015) 1–10.

[66]Daniel Pesature, ‘Justifying Jihad: A Case Study of Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram’ Small Wars Journal <https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/justifying-jihad-a-case-study-of-al-shabaab-and-boko-haram> accessed 27 March 2019.

[67]John Campbell and Asch Harwood, ‘Boko Haram’s Deadly Impact’ (Council on Foreign Relations, 20 August 2018) <https://www.cfr.org/article/boko-harams-deadly-impact> accessed 27 March 2019; Amnesty International, ‘Boko Haram at a Glance’ (Amnesty International, 29 January 2015) <https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/01/boko-haram-glance/> accessed 27 March 2019.

[68]Virginia Comolli, Boko Haram: Nigeria’s Islamist Insurgency (Oxford University Press 2015) 2.

[69]Alex Thurston, ‘“The Disease Is Unbelief”: Boko Haram’s Religious and Political Worldview’ (Brookings Institution 2016) The Brookings Project on US Relations with the Islamic World 22 12–17.

[70]ibid.

[71]Alexander Thurston, Salafism in Nigeria: Islam, Preaching, and Politics (Cambridge University Press 2016) 193.

[72] In 2014, the United Nations Security Council blacklisted Boko Haram as both a terrorist organization and an affiliate of the  Al Qaeda terrorist network. The United Nations General Council  also adopted its first resolution on Boko Haram in 2017.See ‘U.N. Security Council Blacklists Nigeria’s Boko Haram’ (CBS News) <https://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-n-security-council-blacklists-nigerias-boko-haram/> accessed 23 April 2019; UN General Security Council, United Nations Security Council  Resolution 2349(2017) <https://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/2349(2017)>accessed 21 March 2019. While Nigeria’s position on whether or not Boko Haram is a terrorist organization  is  not very clear,  countries like the  United States, Autralia  have  blacklisted Boko haram as a terrorist organization.See US Department of State, ‘Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ (US Department of State: Diplomacy in Action, 2019) <https://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm> accessed 25 April 2019; ‘Listed Terrorist Organisations’ (Australian Government: Australian National Security, 2019) <https://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/listedterroristorganisations/pages/default.aspx> accessed 25 April 2019.

[73] The statement, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” has become a cliché and one of the most difficult obstacles in coping with terrorism. See Boaz Ganor, ‘Defining Terrorism - Is One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter?’ (International Institute for Counter Terrorism, 1 January 2010) <https://www.ict.org.il/Article/1123/Defining-Terrorism-Is-One-Mans-Terrorist-Another-Mans-Freedom-Fighter#gsc.tab=0> accessed 27 March 2019.

[74]‘Legal Definition of Terrorism’ (The Free Legal Dictionary, 23 March 2019) <http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/terrorism> accessed 29 March 2019.

[75] ibid.

[76]Isaac Terwase Sampson and Freedom C Onuoha, ‘“Forcing the Horse to Drink or Making It Realise Its Thirst”? Understanding the Enactment of Anti-Terrorism Legislation (ATL) in Nigeria’ (2011) 5 Perspectives on Terrorism 2–10 <http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/154> accessed 29 March 2019; Patricia Okoye, ‘Strengthening Capacity to Counter Terrorism in Nigeria’ (UNODC: UN Office on Drugs and Crime) <https://www.unodc.org/nigeria/en/strengthening-capacity-to-counter-terrorism-in-nigeria.html> accessed 29 March 2019.

[77] ibid.

[78]Don Michael I Adeniji, Nigeria: Boko Haram and National Security (Lulu.com 2015) 23.

[79]Robert A Friedlander, ‘Terrorism and National Liberation Movements: Can Rights Derive from Wrongs’ (1981) 13 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 284. Gnerally, the need to draw a distinction between the use of violence as a first resort and the use of violence as a last resort has itself become so obfuscated by the world community today that national liberation struggles have often provided moral or legal justification for terrorist acts. Despite the fact that convention has have co-opted the terminology of guerrilla in some cases of violent resistance, not all terrorists are guerrillas.

[80] ibid.

[81]ibid.

[82]‘Buhari: Nigeria’s Unity “Settled and Not Negotiable”’ (BBC News) <https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-41004640/buhari-nigeria-s-unity-settled-and-not-negotiable> accessed 27 March 2019.

[83]Dyepkazah Shibayan, ‘It’s Absurd to Say Nigeria’s Unity Is Non-Negotiable, Southern Leaders Tell Buhari’ (The Cable News, 24 August 2017) <https://www.thecable.ng/absurd-say-nigerias-unity-non-negotiable-southern-leaders-tell-buhari> accessed 27 March 2019.