Those clamouring for a Republic of Biafra are doing so without the mandate of Igbo people. Besides, they are carrying out an illegal activity, Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said at the weekend.
He advised the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to adopt laid down constitutional and diplomatic processes in their demand, rather than engaging in an illegal approach.
He said though it was their fundamental right to clamour for Biafra, “they should be rational and not emotional in going about it”.
Onyeama said there is a democratic structure in Nigeria and there exist the Senate and the House of Representatives “and only your representatives in the National Assembly can raise the issue of referendum regarding the sovereign state of Biafra”.
Besides, he posited that those leading the agitation “are not speaking for Ndigbo, as they do not have the mandate of the Igbo race to do so.” He urged them to embrace dialogue rather than violence.
The minister spoke with reporters in Enugu after a stakeholders/caucus meeting of the Enugu State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Onyeama urged those spearheading the breakaway project to critically look at the rules governing secession.
He called on Nigerians, particularly those from Southeast to keep supporting the Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government, stressing that the administration had the capacity to tackle the challenges facing the nation.
According to him, the administration is set to address the present economic recession.
The convener of the meeting and Enugu State chairman of the APC, Dr. Ben Nwoye, assured the national leadership of the APC that the state chapter was highly committed to wresting power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Enugu State in 2019.
He said political structures were being oiled and strengthened at all levels in the state and called on true democrats and progressives to embrace the party so as to enthrone a better Enugu state in the next political dispensation.
Nwoye urged Nigerians to exercise some patience with the Federal Government, as it makes frantic efforts towards stabilising the economy, damaged by the past PDP led administration.
At the meeting were Special Adviser to President Buhari on Judiciary Reforms Mrs Juliet Ibekaku, Ambassador-designate Major General Chris Eze, (rtd) and members of the state Working Committee, among others.
Also at the weekend, Igbo leaders called for the restructuring of the country to give Igbo nation a sense of belonging.
According to him, Ndigbo have made some of the biggest sacrifices and contributions for the development modern Nigeria and should be given a pride of place to operate freely as equal citizens without discrimination.
The Igbo leaders also called for the immediate release of the detained leader of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and others, saying what they are agitating for did not constitute threat to the peace.
Speaking after a three-day 2016 World Igbo Summit held at the Gregory University, Uturu, Abia State, the leaders condemned the destructive activities of Fulani herdsmen and urged governors and the lawmakers in Igbo states to enact laws prohibiting open grazing in Igbo land.
They made their position known in a communiqué issued at the end of the summit.
They urged Ndigbo to take full responsibility for the rebuilding of Igbo economy and development.
The communiqué, which was signed by Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, Col. Joe Achuzie, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Francis Ojih, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Prof George Obiozor, Dr Greg Ike Ibe, Iyom Josephine and Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, called on Southeast governors to form a Joint Commission for the development of their areas.
The communiqué, which was read by Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, resolved that “since Biafran agitators are no threat to national security, the Federal Government should promptly release Nnamdi Kanu and all other prisoners of conscience in line with the rule of law”.
“Ndigbo have made the biggest sacrifice and contributions to the building of the modern Nigeria and insist that henceforth will work for a nation where the Igbo are allowed to live and operate as equal citizens without any discrimination, bias or intimidation.”
“That the 1999 Constitution should be repealed and a new one enacted that will recognise the inalienable right of each constituent group to self-determination and Regional autonomy as enshrined in the 1960 Independence Constitution and 1963 Republican Constitution”.
“Ndigbo hereby resolve to take full responsibility for the rebuilding of the Igbo economy and development of Ala-Igbo and hereby shall adopt the digital economy as the organising paradigm and implementation framework for the sustainable development of Alaigbo.”
“That in line with the recent resolution of the Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly, the National Assembly and State Assemblies should legislate the prohibition of nomadic grazing by herdsmen and the establishment of grazing reserves and ranches with public funds. We therefore call on the National Assembly to oppose the grazing bill in both chambers”.
“That in view of the threat by the Fulani herdsmen which constitute present and imminent danger to peace and security in Igboland, the Igbo Governors and the States Assemblies should immediately legislate against any form of open grazing in Igbo land”.
“The South East Governors should establish a Joint Commission for development of Ala-Igbo and be supportive of good Igbo initiatives”.
“That Igbo Political leadership (elected and appointed) must act in the best interest of Ndiigbo and be prepared to be held accountable by the people for all their actions and inactions”.
“That the principles of Igbo Social Justice–Akulue uno, Eziokwubundu, Onyeaghana-nwaneya, Igwebuike, Ezi-afaka-ego, Egbe-bere-ugo-bere, Ako n’uche, nwanyi-bu-ife, ntorobia bu-Ike Obodo would be fully applied in our interactions among Ndiigbo and our neighbours”.
“That the contributions of the NdiIgbo in the Africa, Europe, the Americas, Asia etc, to the achievement of our vision and committed to sharing their aspirations and challenges, is recognized and we encourage them to think home and invest at home”.