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Igbo, Pro-Biafra groups insist on restructuring, referendum

By Dennis Agbo, Enugu

TWO South East Groups, the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, and the Biafra National Guard, BNG, have, re-echoed their stand for restructured Nigeria through referendum.

restructuring

They said that Nigeria could soon head for doom if referendum was not conducted in the country to restructure it in a manner that will be conducive for all components of the ethnic nationalities.

Both groups reinstated their positions in separate statements in Enugu, yesterday.

Secretary of ECA, Mr. Eliot Uko urged Nigerians to ignore the tantrum of Arewa youth coalition over suspension of quit notice on Ndigbo, alleging that the northern youths were being used by some of their elders to deflect attention of Nigerians from the clamour for restructuring across the country.

Uko said: “The so called rabble-rousers and attention seekers called Arewa Youths are clowns being used by northern elites and their governors. The game plan is to use intimidation and threat on property of Ndigbo in the north to stop restructuring.

“My take is that everybody should ignore them, we ignored them, IPOB ignored them, that’s why IPOB never responded to the issue of quit notice. We are not threatened, quit notice or not, Nigeria will be restructured into six zones or it will die.”

In its own reaction, BNG called on the Federal Government to quickly set in motion the process of conducting a referendum to determine the fate of the people of Igboland instead of the continued killing, incarceration and intimidation of Biafran agitators allegedly masterminded by security agencies.

BNG spokesperson, Major Nkuma, regretted that agitators had continued to face ill treatments which were in total contradiction and opposed to human rights.

The group which proclaimed itself as the military wing of all pro-Biafran groups, vowed to henceforth “respond to any violation of the rights of Indigenous People of Biafra”.

“Self determination is the inalienable right of indigenous people and that must be respected but Nigerian government continues to neglect this right enshrined in the 2007 UN charter they are signatory to.

“Biafra National Guard is highly in support of a peaceful resolution of Biafra agitation through a referendum but knowing that the language of peace is alien to Nigeria, we shall bring them to conformity with the language they understand,” he said.

The statement commended the release of the group’s leader, General Innocent Orji after 10 years of ‘unlawful detention’, and thanked Justice Ikeogu of Onitsha High Court for his objectivity in the ruling that paved the way for the release of Orji.

“While the wife of General Innocent Orji, Mrs. Onyekachi Orji, his cousin, Okwudili Bassey (arrested on 11th April 2007-the day she came to collect her school fees), a cripple member of BNG, Michael Okezie and other members of BNG and IPOB are still being detained by, we won’t relent in pursuing their case, to ensure they are discharged and acquitted of the alleged treasonable felony charge”.

Major Nkume said that it will be a misconception of the situation at hand for anybody to think that the agitation for Biafra which assumed greater dimension since 1999 would abate, especially with increasing contradictions in Nigeria’s political and economic space where Ndigbo had continued to receive the short end of the stick.

He said that instead of the continuous massacre of ‘Biafrans’ the best option was for a referendum to determine their fate and to avoid further bloodshed, which according to him might lead to conflagration of greater dimension if not handled correctly.

“Nigerian state is taking the peaceful approach of IPOB for granted and that is why BNG will activate self defense, so that people will remain alive in Biafra pending her restoration,” he said.


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