President of the Association of Eze Ndigbo in diaspora, Eze Nwabueze Ohazulike has blamed the long neglect of the South East by the Federal Government as the reason behind the sporadic demand for the creation of a sovereign Biafra State which has affected economy and social life in the region.
Ohazulike who is also the Eze Ndigbo of Lagos said in a statement said the South East region of Nigeria has been neglected and marginalized since independence.
He noted that the agitators are reacting to the poorly distribution of the country resources which has culminated in the underdevelopment of the region.
Ohazulike said: “Nobody cares about the South East Zone, we have the highest number of unemployed youths. We have the highest rate of bad roads which is as a result of erosion that has crippled the region. Some communities have been cut off due to flooding and erosion and other natural causes.
“Our people cannot go to the farm again because their lands are no longer safe.”
The Royal father wants the Federal Government to consult with the agitators and elders from the South East so as to prevent further crises.
“Right now, I expect the Federal Government to setup a committee to look into this matter. They should invite all the various stakeholders and most especially the agitators, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to find out reasons for their protests which have crippled commercial activities in the region.
“Remember that the Niger-Delta Militants have also protested due to their neglect of the South-South region and this led to the setting up of Amnesty programme and NDDC. Government should not wait until this issue is escalated and become another monster like Boko Haram which started in form of protest.
“Again, those who claim its about politics are being economical with the truth. Let them visit the South East from Onitsha and they will wonder if this is part of Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking further, Ohazulike urged the Federal Government to probe the construction companies that handled Federal Roads in the region accusing them of exploiting the country.
His words: “Our roads are death traps and yet we keep hearing that road contracts were awarded, but where are the roads. Where are the billions allegedly spent on these roads. I believe this protest will be a thing of the past if the Federal Government invites all stakeholders. The contractors must tell us why they fail to complete these projects.”
On the controversies surrounding the title of Eze Ndigbo of Akure and Deji of Akure, Ohazulike identified some bad elements who lost in the Eze Ndigbo election as being responsible for the face-off.
“This issue came because a particular group lost an election and they took the matter to the Deji of Akure. The Eze Ndigbo in any community or state is the custodian of Igbo traditions and culture. We are not challenging the authority of the Oba in any community. We have never contradicted the law of the community.
“The Deji Akure being the imperial majesty of Akure has the right to call the two parties involved to his palace. We respect the monarch of any community and that is why we forbid all Eze Ndigbos not to use the title of His Royal Highness and Imperial Majesty. Under the Nigeria constitution, there is freedom of Association and if you observe wherever you have a Hausa community, there will be a Seriki Hausa, whose job is to intervene in matters concerning his people and even in the South East.
“We have Obas who are promoting the interest of Yoruba only. People should accept the result of election. They are doing this because they lost out in the election. The Association of Eze Ndigbo’s in the South is a registered Association with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), so we are appealing to Deji not to allow some individuals to mislead him.”