The apex Igbo body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has justified agitations for Biafra by Igbo youths through different pro-Biafra groups, blaming President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged nepotistic and sectional government as factors reinforcing separatist agitation in the South-East region.
The group said that Buhari has two options before him, either to dialogue or an avoidable war against the Igbo.
Ohanaeze stated this in response to Buhari’s classification of Igbo people as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and describing the region as a dot in a circle that has nowhere to go.
Buhari who made the comment in an interview aired by Arise Television on Thursday said:
“I was encouraged about what I heard. Nobody told me this, two statements from the South-South one by the elderly people. They said this time around, there would be no secession.
“Again, the youth made the same statement; so that means IPOB is just like a dot in a circle, if they want to exit, they would exit to nowhere and the way they are spread all over the country having businesses and properties, I think IPOB does not know what they are talking about.
“If we say we would talk to them in the language they understand, we will organise the police and the military to pursue them, that is what we can do and we will.”
In a statement later on Thursday and titled, ‘Buhari: A choice between dialogue and war,’ signed by Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, the group said:
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo has followed with deep concern the security sequence targeted at the Igbo; the deliberate posting of northern military and police officers at the various strategic locations in the South-East.
“The Special National Security Council Meeting, where major decisions are taken for the South-East and the South-South to the utter exclusion of security personnel from the South-East of Nigeria; the ominous launching of the ‘Operation Restore Peace’ in the South East and South-South and the shoot-on-sight order by the Inspector General of Police targeted at Igbo youths.”
The Igbo apex body went further to say, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo has cautioned that the unprecedented lopsidedness of the Nigerian government in favour of the Fulani, to the exclusion of other ethnic groups, especially in the security architecture will rather exacerbate the internal security challenges in the country. History shows that leaders who espoused ethnocentric ideology, especially in Africa, had often created more problems than they intended to solve.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that the agitation by the Igbo youth over marginalization is justified. In spite of the orchestrated alienation of the Igbo, we are committed to a diplomatic approach towards a restructured Nigeria that guarantees equity, fairness and rule of law.
“President Buhari has a choice between dialogue on the one hand and an avoidable war against the Igbo on the other. Again, history shows that our thoughts are very infinitesimal to the immutable Law of the Universe.”