N’Delta militants, pro-Biafrans not serious about breaking away from Nigeria – Ohanaeze

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– Professor Ben Nwabueze criticised President Buhari for his appointsments

– The Oheneze Ndigbo chieftain said Biafra agitators and militants were unhappy with the president

– He said if the country changed for good, no group will want to leave Nigeria

Professor Ben Nwabueze has said that Niger Delta militants and pro-Biafra agitators are not serious about wanting to leave Nigeria.

The Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) has been agitating for an independent Biafra state while some militants vowed to declare October 1 as a Niger Delta republic but the secretary-general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo insisted that the groups were calling for secession because of the attitude of President Muhammadu Buhari.

File photo of militants

File photo of militants

In an interview with Daily Trust, Nwabueze blamed President’s Buhari;s lopsided appointments for the cause of the agitations.

READ ALSO: Stop army operation in N’Delta, focus on dialogue– IYC to PMB

“I am not sure these agitators really want to secede. I think they are merely reacting to marginalization by the government, especially in the appointments.”

He noted that the president’s first set of appointments gave little or no slots to the south east and south south so, naturally, the South-East people felt they didn’t belong to Nigeria.”

“There is what we call the national question, which involves the ideal we all believe in – the one Nigeria project, the state of the society, state of democracy and state of our economy.

“We’ll start with the national question. I just launched a book titled, The National Question. In it I discussed quite extensively the question of national unity and one Nigeria. But the question that agitates the mind is: How close are we to the ideal of one Nigeria? Are we closer to it? Or are we nearer to what we were 40 years ago? And my answer is that we are farther away from it. Today, it doesn’t seem we are paying much attention to the important matter of national unity.

Prof Ben Nwabueze

Prof Ben Nwabueze

“The government does not seem to be ready to address the issue. The only thing they seem to be bothered about is the continued programme of northernisation and Islamisation. They are all opposed to the issue of national unity. Everything the government is doing is about northernisation. Check appointments. All the strategic appointments so far made by this government went to the North. If you check through the list, many of those working with the president are his family members. That is nepotism. Many people have criticised this; it is not only me. Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, among others, has condemned it. Yet, we say we want one Nigeria, but this is not the way. We have kept going away farther and farther from the ideal. It is a national tragedy as far as I am concerned. I am a patriot and a nationalist. I want so much for Nigeria.

“That brings us to the issue of the Niger Delta, as well as the agitation for Biafra. We must ask: why is the Niger Delta in revolt again? Well, this is simply because of the statement credited to Mr President sometimes ago, saying he would crush the Niger Delta militants the way he crushed Boko Haram. You don’t say such a thing.  We are not even sure he has crushed Boko Haram; they are still operating. You cannot compare the Niger Delta militants to Boko Haram. The Niger Delta is the source of Nigeria’s economic wellbeing. If they squeeze you, they will strangle you economically.

“And because the president said he would, instead of engaging the militants in dialogue, crush them as he crushed Boko Haram, the militants said: “Well, we shall see.” So, they began to bomb pipelines and gas installations, bringing the nation’s economy to this mess. Now the economy is going down, the price of oil in the international market is going down and Nigeria’s oil production capacity is also going down.


“Fortunately, we now hear that government is saying it will be engaging the militants in dialogue. We hope that is true. We all pray there is dialogue instead of trying to crush with military might. We want peace. We want  the production of oil in the Niger Delta to be smooth again.

READ ALSO: Niger Delta Avengers disowns Professor Wole Soyinka

“The same reasoning applies to the agitation for the restoration of Biafra by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Their leaders have been in prison custody for months despite court orders to release him on bail. He has been behind bars. So the agitation goes on. I am not sure these agitators really want to secede. I think they are merely reacting to marginalisation by the government, especially in the appointments. The initial strategic appointments of 31 that Buhari distributed went mostly to the North, a few to the South-West, fewer to the South-South and none to the South-East!  So, naturally, the South-East people felt they didn’t belong to Nigeria. “They said to themselves: “They don’t want us. Let us go.”

“That was the origin of the recent agitation for Biafra. Government should engage them in dialogue, release their leader in incarceration and make them believe they are part and parcel of Nigeria.”

You may read the rest of the interview here


The post N’Delta militants, pro-Biafrans not serious about breaking away from Nigeria – Ohanaeze appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read Naij.com 24/7.

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