Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who enraged Abuja after suggesting Nigeria be partitioned between Muslims and Christians has now proposed the country is carved into â€œmanyâ€ ethnic states, a report said yesterday
â€œIn fact, Nigeriaâ€™s problems cannot be resolved by dividing the country into two states, Christian and Muslim,â€ Gaddafi was quoted as saying by the official Jana news agency.
Like the former Yugoslavia, he said, Nigeria comprises â€œother populations who want independenceâ€ without religious considerations.
He cited â€œthe Yoruba people in the West and South who demand independence, the Ibo people in the East and Southâ€ as well as the Ijaw.
â€œThe model that best fits Nigeria, which comprises many ethnic groups, is Yugoslaviaâ€ which was divided into six countries, including Kosovo whose independence has not been unanimously recognised.
The Libyan leader said earlier this month Nigeria should be partitioned between the Christian and Muslim communities to end its sectarian violence.
He proposed that it should follow the partition model of Pakistan, which was born in 1947 after the Muslim minority of predominantly Hindu India founded their own homeland, led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
Gaddafi, until recently head of the African Union, had suggested a Christian homeland in the South with Lagos as its capital and a Muslim homeland in the North with Abuja as its principal city.
The remarks enraged Nigeria which recalled its ambassador to Tripoli over what it said was Gaddafiâ€™s â€œirresponsible utterancesâ€ which had made a mockery of his calls for African integration and unity.
The Libyan leaderâ€™s comments had â€œdiminished his status and credibility,â€ said foreign ministry spokesman Ozo Nwobu, reading from a strongly-worded statement which expressed the governmentâ€™s â€œvery serious concern.â€
The statement also accused Gaddafi of â€œtheatrics and grandstanding at every auspicious occasion.â€
Gaddafiâ€™s earlier comments came after several hundred people were killed early March in sectarian violence in Plateau State.
Plateau State, with Jos as its capital, is the de facto buffer between the predominantly Muslim North and the largely Christian South.
Nigeriaâ€™s 140 million population is almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians.