Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazurike, has appealed for peace between the Igbos and the northerners.
Uwazuruike made the appeal while he held consultation with northern groups in Kaduna.
The MASSOB factional leader who led a delegation of Igbo leaders from the South East, told some youth groups in Kaduna on Monday that MASSOB had pursued the path of peace since its creation in 1999.
“MASSOB had existed for 18 years without violence, but in 2009, I went to London and opened Radio Biafra and handed it over to Nnamdi Kanu as the director.
“Soon afterwards, politicians hijacked him, and he started working for them.
“The radio that was meant to educate our people and advise our people was turned into the source of hate messages, blackmail, intimidation and others.
“The resultant effect was that the northern youths came up to challenge us, to say that they are not happy with the hate messages and the insults they receive from the same radio.
“ I am here today to say that the main purpose of floating the organisation called MASSOB was not to cause crisis in Nigeria.
“I assured the late Odumegu Ojukwu when he was alive that there would be no other civil war in Nigeria.
“Because he, Ojukwu was so concerned and wanted some measure of assurance from me that MASSOB would not cause problems in Nigeria and I gave him that assurance.
“And I am today disappointed, that the assurances I gave, may not see the light of the day, if certain measures were not taken, and that is why I am here in Arewa House today.”
He assured of the safety of the northerners resident in the South East and urged them to continue with their businesses in the area.
“I am here to assure you northerners that all your people in the South East are safe and nobody will harass them.
“And, I am happy to hear my friend, Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, who assured of the safety of lives and property of Nd’Igbo in Northern region.”
Uwazurike averred that the crisis in the country was being manipulated by politicians and urged the youth not to allow themselves to be used.
He, however, stressed the need to address perceived marginalization, adding that although it was right for any part of the country to seek self determination, it was wrong to pursue same through violent means.
In a similar vein, Ohaneze Ndigbo, the apex socio-political organisation of the Igbo has again dissociated itself from Independent People of Biafra (IPOB)’s agitation to secede from Nigeria.
The IPOB is led by Nnamdi Kanu who was recently released by the Abuja High Court after he had spent over one year in detention.
The Punch reports that the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the Ohanaeze, Chuks Ibegbu said that the group believes more in a restructured Nigeria; a Nigeria that has a level playing field for all sections of the country; a Nigeria that gives each part of the country a sense of belonging.
Voice of Ndigbo gathered that Ibegbu said: “For example, in a country of 36 states, the South-East has five states and 95 local governments; while Kano State alone has 44 local governments.
The other time, we saw the statistics of recruitment in the Department of State Services with Katsina State alone having 51 allocations. Yet, we have the Federal Character Commission.
“We want the FCC to investigate the recent recruitment in the DSS. Abia State got only six allocations; Enugu State, six; Katsina, the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, got 51 slots. These are the sort of issues that elicit agitations.
“When there is no level playing ground, do you think people will keep quiet?
Abia State alone produces more graduates than 10 states in the North combined, yet you gave them only seven opportunities and gave Katsina 51.
“We are not saying Nigeria should be divided, but the issues these young men are talking about should be addressed. Instead, it seems they want people like Nnamdi Kanu to shut up without addressing the issues, judging by the bail conditions (they gave him).”
He said that the issue of secession should be forgone, adding that what Nigeria needs now is restructuring.