Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) yesterday rejected the call for restructuring of the country.
Agbakoba addressed journalists in Lagos on Tuesday at his Ikoyi office on “The future of Nigeria.”
He agreed with the call for referendum made by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
He rejected the declaration by acting President Yemi Osinbajo that Nigeria’s sovereignty was not negotiable.
He said Article 1 (2) of the United Nations Charter and Article 20 (1) of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights which Nigeria is a signatory to supports self-determination.
Agbakoba said, “I see every politician now says restructure but I disagree. I also think the acting President was wrong to say that Nigeria is insoluble. There is nothing sacrosanct about Nigeria. It can blow up anytime. It’s an artificial creation, which was made in 1914 and when it was amalgamated we were not there. It was amalgamated in the interest of the colonialists.”
Agbakoba added that the Federal Government was wrong to have charged Nnamdi Kanu with treason.
He said, “For me, the best that he can be charged with is unlawful assembly and an act capable of breaching public peace. Those are the things he can be charged with, but not treason; because Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations’ Charter, which recognises the right for self-determination.”
When asked whether he aligned with IPOB’s call for a referendum towards self-determination, Agbakoba, who said he had nothing against Kanu, responded, “Absolutely! What is sacrosanct about Nigeria? Nothing. What is sacrosanct about Nigeria is our agreement to be part of Nigeria. I’m not suggesting that Nigeria should not exist but to say that Nigeria’s sovereignty is not negotiable, nobody should talk about it.”
He added that there was no legal reason to call for the arrest of Arewa youths who gave an ultimatum to Igbos to leave, even though it was wrong.
He said, “Did they commit any crime? They just said, ‘leave our place,’ that’s all. It’s not in the criminal code that if I tell a man to leave my house I have committed a crime. I have a right to tell you, this is my house, leave. It’s politically incorrect to tell the Igbo to leave but I don’t see any crime. And let’s be clear, we should not make this thing sound legalistic… it is political.”