– Those agitating for Biafra nation can have thei wish according to northern leaders who said they don’t want war
– According to the elders through Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the agitation has become widespread that it can no longer be ignored
– Going further, the nothern elders said leaders from the southeast regions seem to be in support of the agitation
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says the Igbo should be allowed to secede from Nigeria if that is what the southeast wants.
The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) are campaigning for the secession of the south-east from Nigeria.
IPOB was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, while MASSOB was founded in 1999 by Ralph Uwazuruike.
Addressing journalists after a closed-door meeting held in Abuja on Monday, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesman of the forum, said the agitation by the Igbo for secession has become widespread, adding that the leaders in the state appear to support the decision.
Baba-Ahmed advised that standing in the way of the agitators will only worsen the insecurity in the country.
“This nation has had to fight a terrible war to preserve the country. The north had paid its dues in that war, as indeed it did in many ways throughout the history of the country. Under our current circumstances, no Nigerian should welcome another war to keep the country together,” he said.
“The forum has arrived at the difficult conclusion that if support for secession among the Igbo is as widespread as it is being made to look, and Igbo leadership appears to be in support of it, then the country should be advised not to stand in its way.
“It will not be the best choice for the Igbo or Nigerians to leave a country we have all toiled to build and a country we all have the responsibility to fix, but it will not help a country already burdened with failures on its knees to fight another war to keep the Igbo in Nigeria.”
The forum warned that attacks and killings of northerners, federal government employees, and destruction of national assets must stop, adding that those involved must be arrested and prosecuted.
The northern elders also noted that until the Igbo decide whether it wants to secede or remain part of Nigeria, the law applies to it, as the federal and state governments have a responsibility to enforce the law and protect citizens.
They also supported the calls for northerners who are exposed to harassment and violence, to consider relocating to the north.
They, however, advised that all Igbo and other ethnic groups residing in the north should be accorded the usual hospitality and security.
Let there be referendum
Meanwhile, a group of women under the aegis of the Amalgamation of Northern Women Associations, staged a protest on Saturday, June 5, in Abuja, demanding a referendum to allow secession agitators to chose whether or not to remain in Nigeria.
Legit.ng reports that the coordinator of the group, Hajia Hadiza Adamu, spoke on behalf of other members.
Adamu emphasised that the group is calling on President Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly to urgently call for a referendum to allow those who want to secede to do so without any war.
Abia governor speaks on secession
Ikpeazu made the disclosure when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics.
According to him, there are better means of going about such agitation, adding that it can be achieved in a civil manner.
Former presidential candidate seeks dialogue
Meanwhile, Kingsley Moghalu, a former presidential candidate, has called on the federal government to convene a round table talk with secessionists and all political agitators in Nigeria.
Kingsley Moghalu disclosed this on Wednesday, June 2, noted that it is wrong and rather dangerous for the government to describe such persons as terrorists.
The southeast politician suggested that the best way forward at such a tensive time is a dialogue between the leadership and the agitating regions.