IGBO BOARD OF DEPUTIES VS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA.
RE: CHINA EXIM BANK LOAN TO THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND MATTERS RELATED THERETO
We act for Igbo Board of Deputies which is a Non Profit Making Company “NPC” together with the Trustees for the time being of the NPC “our client” under whose instructions we address this letter to you. Igbo Board of Deputies is a Nongovernmental Organization “the Ngo” whose functions and objectives include but not limited to, defend, promote, preserve, protect, preserve and prosper the rights, cause and interests of the Igbo worldwide.
The Igbos are one of the three major tribes in the geographical area currently known as Nigeria. They are a federating unit of the Nigerian Federation, and therefore a stakeholder in the union. The Igbo people are mainly from the South Eastern part of Nigeria, which currently has 5 States out of the 36 States of Nigeria, they are also in River State, Benue State, Delta State, Edo State and Kogi State of Nigeria; they are however spread all over the Federation as equal citizens of Nigeria. As at the last count, the Igbos people are over 50 million in population, not including those in the Diaspora. They are very enterprising people.
We are advised that you have approved a loan, and which loan you are about to disburse, in tranches or in bulk, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
This loan and other loans from other financial institutions have recently been given a nod of approval by the Nigerian Senate in order for it to be disbursed for infrastructural development and other projects in Nigeria. Below is a summary of how these loans have been allocated;
Summary of $22.7Billion Loan Allocation by Zones:
South South: – $4,270,000,000.00
South East:-$ 0
As is evident from the above, anyone of these projects is neither in the South East of Nigeria, nor shall benefit the South East of Nigeria. Our grievances are based on the fact that the Igbo people have been excluded as beneficiaries of this loan, yet they are expected to participate in the servicing and repayment of same.
There have been several adverse policies of deprivation and impoverishment directed against the Igbos since the end of the Nigeria Biafra Civil War in 1970. These policies are deliberate, systemic, and sustained; and they come in different guises.
The above allocation of these loans to the exclusion of the Igbos is indicative of the many other adverse policies of the Nigerian government directed at suppressing the Igbos.
This and many more is the reason we have decided to bring to your notice of imminent Class Actions, from many other interested parties from all over the world, in relation to the loan transactions with your financial institution.
We are of the view, and indeed hereby confirm that the Federal Government of Nigeria is in violation of the Federal Character Principles that is enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria where it provides the following:
The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice.
It is hereby, accordingly, declared that –
- Sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its powers and authority;
- The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government; and
- The participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the FEDERAL CHARACTER OF NIGERIA and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.
Section 15(4) further provides that:
The State shall foster a feeling of belonging and of involvement among the various peoples of the Federation, to the end that loyalty to the nation shall override sectional loyalties.
The State subsequently had taken reasonable legislative and other measures to give effect to the above provisions when it established the Federal Character Commission, in order to achieve the progressive realization of these rights.
We shall ventilate these constitutional provisions and their violations thereof in the planned law suits against the Government of Nigeria, and should it become necessary, we would be joining other Defendant parties.
The allocations of these loans are fundamentally and constitutionally flawed both in substance and in form. This also shall be ventilated in the law suit.
In the circumstances, we have been instructed to demand from you, as we hereby do, an undertaking within 14 days from the date hereof, that you will do the following:
- suspend the disbursement, alternatively, cancel the approval of the loan to the Nigerian government until such time as it has revised and/or amended the manner it intends to allocate the loans so as to include projects in the South East of Nigeria, which projects shall directly benefit the Igbos;
- as a condition, tie the loan repayment to the region of Nigeria that inherits the projects, as Nigeria flounders and threatens to break up; and
- In going forward, kindly ensure that all projects are valued and open-bid for, following international best practices to ensure standard quality and fair cost. The present Nigerian government is prone to project cost inflation, and future generations are not obligated to pay for fraudulently inflated costs.
Failing which, we hold instructions to join you as a Defendant party to the planned law suit against the Federal Government of Nigeria. We shall take this matter to its logical conclusion, even if it means going to the International Court of Justice “ICJ”
We say so because we do not guarantee the repayment of these loans by the other Federating Units of Nigeria in so far as the deliberate discrimination against the Igbos in Nigeria persists.
In fact, the Igbos shall not be participating in the servicing and repayment of these loans, as a matter of principle, fact and law.
The Igbos shall enforce this position and their resolve within the ambit of both domestic and international laws, unless and until the obligations to repay the loans are tied to the various projects in their various locations. The loan beneficiaries must pay that which they have consumed. Period.
The Igbos shall not be held liable for these loans, not now and not in the future. We will not mortgage the rights and interests of our future generations for something they neither partook in nor benefited.
We hope you find the above in order as we await your prompt reply.