Killing Of IPOB Members, Lopsided Appointments: Nigeria Pushing Us To Secede Again – Nwodo


Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Jnr) the elected President-General of apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has reiterated how Nigerian government have been pushing the entire Eastern zone to go for secession once again.

Nigeria Pushing Us To Secede Again - Nwodo
Chief John Nnia Nwodo (Jnr)

Recall that the old Eastern zone had once fought for independence state of Biafra in 1967, led by the late Biafran Warlord, General Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu – The war which started in 1967, ended on 15th of January 1970.

In an interview with The Sun, Chief John Nnia Nwodo who was elected as the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, recently, speak for the entire Igbos, and how the Federal Government have turned the zone as a minority in the country, judging by the present administration lopsided appointments.

According to him; The way Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari is treating Igbos is unfair, pointing out the current appointments made so far by the Buhari’s administration.

About Biafra, the President of Ohanaeze said the way Nigerian government is handling the agitation championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB group is really heartbreaking and uncalled for.

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Let me say, first of all, that both the press and the government have an unfair treatment of the Biafran struggle. Nwodo said!

Furthering, he said; Boko Haram is worse in terms of treason than IPOB. Boko Haram is an armed attack against Nigeria’s sovereignty. It is a movement determined to Islamise Nigeria and to impose their own concept of Islam on the entire country. It is a movement intended to wipe our entire educational system and subject our women to lack of education. And where they physically conquered in the past, they erected local authority, traditional authority and hoisted flags. What could be a greater challenge to our national sovereignty than Boko Haram? I don’t see any.

The Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) is a militant organisation in the South-west; they move in convoys not confronted by the Nigerian Police or the Armed Forces. There is now streaming on the social media an Oduduwa Republic, advertised with the full complements of a national characteristic – the estimated GDP, the parts of Yoruba land that constitute Oduduwa Republic, their mineral resources endowment and what have you. They are actively encouraged by the intellectual class in Yoruba land. It has not even got a mention anywhere in the media, print or electronic. No security agency has invited anybody for questioning and the names of people who promote it are advertised. Nobody has been once invited to be asked why he or she is proclaiming an Oduduwa Republic.

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Now, the people of the Niger Delta have sought for some independence of their own, if nothing else, fiscal independence. In pursuing this, they have turned into an arms struggle. They have blown up oil wells and oil pipelines. They have disrupted businesses and law and order with reckless abandon. Government is negotiating with them every day!

But the boys in IPOB have only asserted their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association under the constitution. They are unarmed! The only instrument of mobilisation that they have is a radio station, which was not licenced. Meanwhile, all over the country, all kinds of people now have radio stations that are not licenced. None of them has been subjected to indefinite detention like Nnamdi Kanu. The discriminatory treatment of IPOB is a microcosm and a symptomatic of the macro subjugation of Igbos to second-class citizens in Nigeria.

Let us assume for the sake of an argument that they have done something wrong, which I don’t agree with. They are treated in a worse manner than other people in Nigeria who have done equally things that are very, very wrong. And as their father, I speak for them; I grieve for them and I champion for them. I have no apologies for this; they are my children and the justice of their case cries to high heavens. You see, the fact that a child explained loudly to his father what his grievances are is a symptom of love.

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If they were grieving internally and keeping this to themselves, they could be instruments of insurrection in the kind of a submarine. But they are crying aloud in the streets and saying, ‘we are not happy’. A good father would call them and say, ‘sit down my children, what is your problem’, like they are doing to the people of Niger Delta. They are negotiating with their fathers and negotiating with the militants. All the militants there have become billionaires overnight.

They have an amnesty programme for them. But on the part of the IPOB people, the only answer is force, intimidation and total subjugation of the rule of law in their treatment. I say that this is wrong and I will continue to say so.

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The Ohanaeze President urged the federal government to negotiate with the Biafran agitators rather than using force on them.

Are you inviting the government to negotiate with IPOB?

Yes, I am! answered Nwodo.

Continuing, he said; “I have only downed my pursuit of a negotiation with government on this matter because of the unfortunate health situation of our president. The President has been quite charitable to my executive by extending his hand of fellowship to us so soon after our election. And I salute him for this; it is magnanimous on his part.

I also extended my hand of fellowship to him. The President is my personal friend. I was with him in the same political party; both of us ran for the presidency under the same party. So, I intend to explore that degree of relationship and his hand of fellowship with a view to seeing that this policy towards IPOB is reversed and we can sit round the table and discuss.

In terms of infrastructural development in the south east, Nwodo said Federal government since democracy have shut out the zone completely out from the intelligence paraphernalia of Nigeria.

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We are completely shut out from the intelligence paraphernalia of this country. No Igbo man heads any of the intelligence agencies of the country; we do not head any arm of government. We do not sit in any sensitive ministry. The allocation to capital projects in Igbo land are made to achieve some kind of propaganda effect because in actual implementation, nothing is done.

The Enugu-Onitsha expressway has been on very budget since the end of the war till today. Recently, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), assured us that in the next 17 months, those roads would be reconstructed. But we had been given such assurances in the past and they never came to anything. The Enugu-Port Harcourt road has remained like that since the end of the war.

We had been given assurances in the past and nothing has happened. Contractors like Julius Berger don’t come to the East to work; contracts in Igbo land are awarded to second/third rate contractors, who do very little work. The Niger Bridge has remained in its comatose state for a very long time. Jonathan promised us that he would not leave office without the construction of the Second Niger Bridge but it never happened. Under this government, the project was suspended for a long time. I hear that work has resumed but I hope that it is so and that very soon we will see it completed.

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The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, has promised us that the River Niger will be dredged; I hope that it is concluded under his tenure. He seems to be a man who does what he says and I anxiously look forward to seeing the dredging of the River Niger executed so that we can have a seaport there. But this has been on the table for decades. The child I had when the project was first conceived is already studying for PhD today. So, these children don’t believe that the system is fair to them.

Now, the coal in Enugu has been lying there for God knows how long. As we speak, the Federal Government has not even done a feasibility study to determine the quantity of coal that is available so that it can attract foreign investors. Nkalagu Cement Factory has been moribund for a very long time and it is taking an Igbo, Ibeto, to revive and expand it. Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment looks away. And they have directors on that company? Nobody cares about the salt and lead in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.

Igbo people have no equal access to the exploitation of our mineral resources. Among Nigerians who are allocated oil wells in the country, we are in abysmal minority. Those licences are not given to us. This is preposterous, unacceptable and discriminatory; we condemn it in its entirety. It has to change; we are equal partners in this federation.  Unless we are treated so, Nigeria is asking us to ask for secession once more.


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