The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, has faulted the current agitation for the creation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
The minister, who spoke in an interview with Vanguard, also questioned the right of current agitators to speak for the Igbos in the country, saying they lack the mandate to do so.
Going back memory lane, Onyeama said what happened with what the late Odumegwu Ojukwu did with the declaration of Biafra was legitimate because he had the mandate of the Igbos to do so.
He said: “Consequent on certain events that had happened, including the Aburi Agreement and they believe it was not compliable. Okpara was there and Ojukwu was the military head of state at that time, so there was legitimacy. But now, they are saying we should create Biafra and there is a grievance that some people have been detained.
“The question that is being asked by Igbo leaders in Nigeria is where did the mandate for today’s calls for the declaration of Biafra come from? When you make a demand, it has to be based on some mandate because we are operating a democracy.
“You saw in the United Kingdom, the Scottish people said they wanted an independent state. There was a mandate because the people had given the Scottish Party the mandate to demand independence. They had a referendum and the people voted on the matter. So the referendum took place because the elected government under David Cameron agreed to that referendum.
The minister also hinted that President Muhammadu Buhari is not against the creation of the Sovereign State of Biafra but only interested in things being done constitutionally.
“What Mr. President said in the case of Biafra is look, that’s okay, the government can decide to hold a referendum and let it be decided democratically.
“A lot of the present agitators were not born between 1967 and 1970. War is the worst thing you can ever have. A war was fought here and it was something we never want to see again. Let us follow a constitutional mechanism, if that is what the people want, let them give a mandate through a democratic process. It doesn’t serve any purpose to result in militancy.
“The President is not saying he is against it ab initio. When there were three regions, the Eastern, Western and Northern regions and there was a push for the creation of the Mid-Western region. It was under Action Group at that time, it was done democratically and constitutionally in the parliament and the Mid-Western region was created. So everybody should calm down and just follow constitutional procedure.
Onyeama also denied some of the people parading themselves as Igbo leaders, saying he does not how they became Igbo leaders.
“The so-called leaders, I don’t know who gave them the mandate to speak for the Igbo. I have spoken to a number of Igbo leaders and they said they even want to come out to make statements on the people agitating for Biafra. People can agitate for what they want but they cannot claim to speak for the Igbo. Who gave them the mandate? In what capacity are they speaking?”, he said.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews…
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: How roadside foods endanger consumers’ life with trans fat in northern Nigeria
With an estimated 854,000 deaths in Nigeria, and 3,229 attributed to trans fatty acids (TFA) -related cardiovascular deaths, ADESOLA IKULAJOLU visited Nigeria’s...
INVESTIGATION: Untold story of Ondo oil producing communities battling poor health system
Access to quality healthcare is one of the nightmares of communities in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State. Despite...
FEATURE: Ogun residents, waste collectors trade blames, as refuse litter environment
TIJANI ABDULKABEER, a journalist from the University of Ibadan, during a recent trip to Sango Otta, Ogun State took a look...
INVESTIGATION: How online fraudsters siphon victims’ funds through ‘SportyBet’ platform
As Nigeria transits into a cashless society, the evolution also creates opportunities for internet scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting...
SPECIAL REPORT: Enugu govt watches as waste takes over state, threatens public health, environment
In this report, Arinze Chijioke looks at how delays in evacuation of waste in Enugu State encourages indiscriminate waste disposal, its health implications, and how...