Redefining the Concept of Self-determination in International Jurisprudence: A Review of the Legal Status of Indigenous People of Biafra


The political and legal concept of right to self determination remains one of the most fluid and controversial principles of international law. Several questions regarding the concept remain unsettled. For instance, who is entitled to enjoy the right to self determination? What are the modalities for enforcing the right? Can the use of force be applied to achieve the right? Is the right only applicable to colonial territories? Has the UN been consistent in the application of the principles to countries that have gained political independence in recent years? The above puzzle and more shall be examined in this paper with a view to establishing whether the indigenous people of Biafra is entitled to the enjoyment of this right.  Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to x-ray the right to self-determination in its entirety, analyze the classes or categories of people entitled to the right, the mode of implementation of the right, the practice of the UN regarding the concept and to show that the right of the indigenous people of Biafra to enjoy the right is long over due. A universal framework for the enforcement of the right is also proposed. Doctrinal research methodology was applied to justify the conclusion of the writer. Reliance was placed on primary and secondary materials. International legal instruments on the subject matter were considered as primary sources. Articles in journals, text books and internet sources were consulted as secondary materials. Case laws were also assessed to validate the conclusion of the writer.

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