BY PETER DURU, MAKURDI
Following claims by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu that Benue state would be part of the supposed Biafra Republic, former Ministers, Traditional ruler and leaders of thought of the state have lashed out at the Biafran leader for his proposition.
Those who spoke to Vanguard disassociated the state from the claim and also cautioned the agitators to stay off Benue in their own interest.
In his reaction to the preposition, former Minister of State for Education, Prof. Jerry Agada urged the agitators to stop misleading Nigerians by immediately removing Benue state from the map of their supposed Biafran.
Prof. Agada who spoke weekend in Makurdi, maintained that Idoma people in particular and Benue state in general, had nothing in common with the Biafra agitations.
According to him, before the civil war, there was nothing like Biafra and even during the war, no part of Benue or Idoma land was captured by the Igbo soldiers hence the claim was misplaced and misleading.
Prof Agada said, ”when the Nigeria soldiers came to Idoma land in 1967, they were stationed at Saint Joseph Primary school Orokam, my home town in Ogbadibo local government area, which is close to the boundary between the then northern region and Eastern region.
“So during crisis Nigeria troops started pushing up the Igbos in Obolafor and Nsuka in the eastern region. Nowhere was captured by eastern troops in Benue which is in the northern region.
“No place was ceded to Igbos at the time, so why should the IPOB misled the people with the map they are now flaunting claiming Idoma land and or Benue is part of them in order to misled the people.
“Those of us who stayed in Orokam where the war started, did not feel the impact of Igbo soldiers moving to Idoma areas or heard that Igbo troops captured any part of Idoma communities where IPOB is today laying claim to be part of their territory.
”Until the war ended in 1970, there was no claim that our kingdom then was captured by the them secessionists. The only thing we heard was that B26 airplanes came to dropped bomb in Otukpo which was later captured and destroyed by the Nigeria soldiers.
“So IPOB should keep Benue and Idoma region out of their agenda, we have never been part of them in anyway.”
The former Minister maintained that even the Orokam community which the current Biafra agitators laid claims to shared a common border with the eastern region but had never identified or supported the agitators at anytime.
Prof. Agada cautioned the IPOB agitators to leave the people of the area and indeed the entire Benue state out of their Biafra arrangement stressing that “they should not coax people who do not share in their ideology and belief out of their agitation.”
On his part, former Lagos state Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said the IPOD leader might be deranged for laying claim to Benue in his agitation.
Tsav said “I think the man has some mental problems. What is the connection between the Tivs, the Idoma and the Igbo? I think the man needs to see a psychiatrist because something must be wrong with him.
“He is not well because nothing connects the Tivs, the Idoma to the Igbo. How can he say he wants Benue State to be part of Biafra? He should stay where he is and carry on with his madness. We are not ready to be part and parcel of that madness.”
Also speaking, a First Class Traditional ruler in the state and Tor Sankera, Chief Abu Shuluwa described Kanu as “a man with little intelligence” for daring to include Benue state in the Biafran map.”
Shuluwa said, “his (Kanu) level of intelligence is in question. How can he dare to conscript Benue into the Biafran territory. In fact, if you are looking for more people to be part of your territory, does common sense not tell you that you should have a talk with them”? He queried.
On his part, former Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro in his reaction corroborated the monarch’s submission stressing that the Igbo language, culture and tradition were clearly different from those of the three prominent tribes in Benue State.
Moro alluded that, “Benue is not part of Biafra, we do not have any relationship with Biafra in genealogy, culture and by colonial creation, Benue is part of the north.” He maintained.
Also speaking, the former Economic Adviser to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Ode Ojowu said the inclusion of Benue in the Biafran map was nothing but a mirage.