December 9, 2015

Yoruba leaders charge FG over Biafra protests


Pro-Biafra protesters mount road blocks and bonfires at Onitsha Head Bridge in Anambra State, yesterday. Photos: Vincent Ujumadu.

By Dayo Johnson

Akure—LEADERS under the auspices of   Yoruba Summit met in Akure, the Ondo state capital yesterday and asked the federal government to look critically into the causes of separatist feelings and initiate constitutional reforms to give sense of belonging to all constituent units of the country.

Conveners of the summit include Chairman of the Yoruba unity Forum, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi, Chairman of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, leader of Oodua People Congress Otunba Gani Adams, Chairman of Yoruba Council of Elders, Gen Adeyinka Adebayo, Chairman of the Summit Planning Committee, Dr Kunle Olajide and Agbekoya

Their position was contained in a Communique issued and signed by the conveners of the summit.

They said that “We should not paper over the cracks and watch till the situation gets out of hands nor take precipitate actions.

The leaders observed the protracted agitation by the indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)  for the Republic of Biafra.

“We stand for the unity of Nigeria, we ask the federal government look critically into the causes of separatist feelings and initiate constitutional reforms to give sense of belonging to all constituent units of the country

“The recommendation of the 2014 national conference offers a good template for such engagement of the nationality question.

“To this end, summit is irrevocably committed to pushing for the resolution of the lingering national question via restructuring of our federation, devolution of power and corresponding review of the revenue allocation in favour of the federating unit and centralisation of the security network.

“The summit will work with all groups in Nigeria who believe in the true federalism to ensure their attainment of this project.

Also, the communique review the “harsh economic situation in the country as evident in massive unemployment, fuel scarcity, biting inflation, difficulties businesses are facing over the volatile foreign exchange regime by the CBN.

The summit therefore  called on the Federal Government to roll out a comprehensive economic plan to rebuild the nation’s “infrastructures, reflate the economy, create massive jobs, raise the standard of education. Provide affordable health care and review monetary policies making investors to flee Nigeria.

The leaders called for the meeting of Yoruba states governors with leaders of the nation to fashion out an agenda for cooperation that would leverage on the economic strength of each state to create a conducive atmosphere for entrepreneur to tap the resources across the states.

They noted with regretted the activities of nomadic Fulani cattle rearers, which continued to constitute a menace to the host communities.

The Yoruba leaders called on the federal government to “put a stop to this scourge by facilitating the establishment of ranches to prevent nomadic grazing and associated conflict and criminalities.”

Governor Olusegun Mimiko  said a meeting such as this  remains fundamental to the constant examination and re-examination of the place of the Yoruba nation in our country, Nigeria.

“This gathering is indeed essential for us as a people to think through so many things considering the present state of the politics, economy and security of Nigeria.

”The security challenges confronting Nigeria are daunting. The Boko Haram insurgency tops the scary security situation of our country.

”The scourge has pitted neighbour against neighbour, displaced close to half a million people, destroyed hundreds of schools and government buildings and devastated the economy.”

Other leaders present at the summit include: Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olu Falae, Alhaji Raji Rasaki, the secretary of Afenifere, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, Chief Olanihun Ajayi  while Ajibade Oyekan represented the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and former Lagos State governor Alhaji Lateef Jakande sent representative.

The next summit, according to the Chairman of the YCA, General Adebayo will hold in Abeokuta, Ogun State.