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Pre-colonial political administration in Igboland



Every village in Igboland had a Council of Elders that carried legislative, executive and judicial powers. It consisted of representatives of every family that lived on that territory. Each representative had its own name in the council, which sounded like ‘Ofo.’
Of all the elders’ members, there was a member respected by other the most. Usually, it was the wisest and most senior person who was called ‘Okpara’ and could gather meetings and be the judge if needed. However, he wasn’t treated like a king or Mr. Predisent. His voice wasn’t powerful and couldn’t make decisions without the voices of all the Igbo families in his village.
Let’s look at the political administration scheme of the council of elders:
• Ofo – heads of each family
• Okpara – the eldest representative of the council
The Council of the village was responsible for settling disputes and arguments, punish those people who disobeyed moral and behavior rules, etc. within its territory. It was autonomous from other villages, and its meetings were attended by all male adults who lived there.
Besides, there were several groups that formed different political institutions within the village:
• Ozo people – these were the most influential representatives of the village (usually, this title was awarded to the most popular and rich men)
• Age grade – these were male groups of the same age who protected their territory and were responsible for peace and duties
• Ala – these were priests who were mouthpieces of Igbo gods (Aro, Ogbaegbu, Amadioha, etc.)
It is interesting that Ozo and Ala could give advice to Okparas, provide assistance with maintaining law in the village and participate in all the meetings. However, none of these groups could perform judicial, executive and legislative functions on their own because these were collegial decisions only.
In old times, Igbo tribes didn’t follow ‘traditional’ forms of government in those centuries, such as Kingdoms and Empires. The Council of elders, groups of people (Ozo, Age grade, and priests) formed the Town Assembly called Oha-na Eze. In other words, everyone from the tribe ruled in their small villages and respected the beliefs and traditions of their ancestors.
You can notice that pre-colonial administration in Igboland reminded of a democratic republic where all the important roles were shared between families in the village.

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UN offers to help catch Mali jihadists behind amputations




UN peacekeepers in Mali on Thursday offered to help bring to justice jihadists behind the amputation of suspected thieves’ hands and feet, an apparent revival of a practice that had all but vanished.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, local sources in Tin-Hama in eastern Mali said armed men drummed up a crowd on May 2, a market day, and cut the right hands and left feet off three men they paraded as thieves.

The gunmen are believed to have belonged to Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), one of the main jihadist groups active in the Sahel region, the UN’s Minusma force said in a statement.

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“This kind of corporal punishment carried out by armed groups outside of any legal order is a serious infringement of human rights,” Minusma chief El-Ghassim Wade said.

UN forces stand ready to “support continuing enquiries by Malian authorities to fight impunity and ensure that the perpetrators of these acts are brought to justice,” he added.

Minusma also said it was deploying “significant security resources in the affected areas to step up protection of populations”.

The amputations “recall the horrors of the 2012 crisis” when jihadists and Touareg rebels took control of much of Mali’s north, the UN statement added.

At the time, various jihadist groups conducted public amputations, stonings, floggings and executions in major northern cities under their hardline interpretation of Islamic law.

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Since 2012, jihadist insurgents have spread across Mali’s centre and into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, with thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced in the violence.

UN, African and French forces have failed to put an end to the insurgency.

Unidentified men killed one soldier when they attacked a Malian anti-terrorist unit near Tominian in the country’s centre late Wednesday, while the troops killed three of the assailants, a security official said on condition of anonymity.


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IPOB backs new directive by Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leader



PHOTO: Protesters with the flag of "Ambazonia"

Nigerian Biafra separatist group— Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has backed the May 20 directive to “stay at home” from Cameroon’s Anglophone separatist leader, Dr Cho Ayaba.

Ayaba, the leader of Ambazonia, ordered a lockdown on May 20, 2021 in the English-speaking region of Cameroon, saying it was to mark the day that Cameroonian government forces began killing civilians in the region.

“The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, under the global command of our Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, hereby, directs all Biafrans living in Ambazobia to fully comply with the directive. Biafra and Ambazobia share a lot in common, and we are prepared to give them all the necessary support and solidarity in their struggle for independence,” said IPOB in a statement issued on Monday.

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The Biafra group, in the statement signed by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, further said, it “urge all Biafrans living in Ambazobia to close shop on May 20, and remain indoors in full compliance with the sit-at-home order by the leader of our sister country. We equally advise all Biafrans intending to travel to Ambazonia on that day to shelve the trip until after the exercise. Biafra and Ambazobia have enjoyed a robust relationship in our struggle for self determination.

“Ambazobia has adopted 20th of May every year in honour of the victims of the genocidal killings in Ambazonia by the terrorist Republic of Cameroun. This was the day the Paul Biya-led murderous regime in Camaroun launched military onslaught and occupation of Ambazonia.

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“The genocidal killing was however, challenged four years ago through stiff resistance and great sacrifices by patriotic Ambazonians. Consequently, the people of Ambazonia have decided to henceforth, observe 20th of May as a day to commemorate the Resistance and defeat of their enemy, the Cameroonian forces.

“We equally note with delight, the directive by the leadership of the Ambazonian liberation movement to all Ambazonians, to observe May 31 Biafra Remembrance Day sit-at-home order in honour of our fallen heroes. This show of solidarity between both countries is amazing, and will be sustained until and even after our independence is realised. Both countries shall continue to explore other opportunities to promote peaceful cooperation and regional security and economic advancement.”

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Eid: Buhari asks Nigerians to pray against insecurity



Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday called on citizens to unite and pray against the insecurity ravaging the country.

The president made the appeal in a message to Muslims around the world as they marked Eid Al Fitr after the completion of a month of fasting.

According to Garba Shehu, the president’s senior special assistant on media and publicity, he said;“Unity and solidarity among all citizens, Muslims and Christians are imperative especially at a time when our country is faced with multiple challenges which are surmountable only when we come together as one.

“It is important that we remember how we share, through our faiths, common bonds that should serve to unite us and not allow ourselves to succumb to those who seek to divide us, using our two great religions, for their own selfish advantages.

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“We should jointly pray against the tragic incidents of kidnapping and banditry and the desperate quest for political power expressed through blackmail against the existence of our country as a united entity.

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities. I urge our political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers to encourage our citizens to turn towards one another in love and compassion.”

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