… Demands siting of international airport, seaport in S’East
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has given conditions for true reconciliation in Nigeria, insisting that the country should be restructured along the 1963 Constitution and yearnings of the people.
He said that anything short of the above, is cosmetic and would not proffer any lasting solution to the woes plaguing the country.
Kanu who spoke through his younger brother, Prince Emmanuel, declared that contrary to misconceptions in certain quarters, he was not averse to a genuine restructuring of the country.
According to Kanu, unless those opposed to holistic restructuring of Nigeria repent, he will continue to demand for referendum for Biafra exit.
Prince Emmanuel quoted Kanu as saying that his position on restructuring during a meeting with Igbo Leaders in Enugu in 2017 before the botched assassination attempt on him had not changed.
He said: “We are not averse to the genuine restructuring of the country. We know that the country cannot grow or make progress under the current unworking unitary structure. The facts are clear for all to see.
“Our position remains the same as our submission in the presence of Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko on 30th August 2017 at the meeting with the South-East Governors in Enugu. We have no reason to add or subtract from our position six years ago.
“We reiterate that we are not opposed to a consensual but wholesome restructuring of the country along the 1963 constitution.”
He further said that the IPOB Leader said that those who planned to eliminate him during the September 14, 2017, raid in his Afaraukwu Umuahia country home, should be held accountable for the current security collapse in the South-East.
“Those who disrupted the 2017 peace process, only engineered and activated the unpleasant experiences of the past three years. Had they allowed the second meeting of September 15th 2017 to hold, meaningful outcome would have been long achieved.
“The unprovoked invasion of my family homestead on September 14th 2017, which led to the untimely death of dozens of citizens and inspired the demise of my parents, created the unsavoury atmosphere that engulfed the region moving forward.”
Meanwhile, Kanu has demanded the building of international airport, seaport and total reconstruction of infrastructure including roads in the South-East, as conditions for any genuine reconciliation.
“Establishment of long denied critical infrastructure in our region. Commercial Seaport, International Airport with cargo wing, rail services and other deliberately denied infrastructure.”
Kanu explained that the the provocative injustice and policy of exclusion perpetrated against the South-East by the Federal Government, gave rise to the growing agitation for the restoration of Biafra among Biafra youths.
The IPOB Leader further condemned the supremacy mentality of certain regions of the country over the others.
“Those determined on riding fellow citizens as donkeys, should understand that their refusal to treat every region fairly, is at the root of our agitation for justice and equality.
“The people of the region desire to be treated fairly and treated right. We stand by our demand for justice, equity and fairness for all. This is our position.”
“My position has remained unchanged for very many years, regardless of my unjust and unfair incarceration. Our demand for a referendum to determine whether our people will choose to remain in the country that has so unkindly treated us for decades, remain our goal, unless those opposing the wholesome restructuring of the country repent.
“We are resolute because the oppressor leaves us no choice. Since the 1980s and the 1990s, every plea to return the country to the 1963 constitution, has sadly fallen on deaf ears, leaving us no choice than to find any avenue that would guarantee a safe future and better tomorrow for our unborn grandchildren. We have no regrets whatsoever articulating a better future for our progeny.
“Being mocked consistently over our earlier demand for an early return to true federalism and devolution of powers, we saw we had no other choice than to work towards a referendum to determine our future. Our decision and preference for our own country where our children will be fairly treated is as a result of the unacceptable unabating mistreatment since 1966.
“First the horrendous pogroms, then the bitter war, the deliberate dis-empowerment after the war (the £20 offer), the scorched earth policy and war of attrition viciously visited on our region ever since.
“The deliberate denial of critical Federal Government-driven basic infrastructure such as a functional commercial seaport, railways, international Airport with cargo wing, dry port (container terminal), greater electricity generation, export free zone and East/West railway and road network that will help our people feel like being truly part of the country, confirms our second class status, which we reject. The unkind marginalisation we have suffered as a region since 1970, is only possible because of the centralised structure enabled by the unitary 1999 constitution.
“We remain committed to our demand for a referendum as long as those totally opposed to the restructuring of the country along the lines of true federalism and power devolution continue to resist the cry for a new fair, just and equitable constitution along the lines of the 1963 Republican constitution.
“We will be betraying our people and selling away their future, if we continue to wobble along in this unhelpful 1999 unitary constitution designed and written and given by unelected soldiers.
“I led marches in the UK pleading for a consensual restructuring of the country via a constitutional conference and the enthronement of a new people’s constitution all through the 1990s. We were mocked and ridiculed consistently by a small clique of compatriots, who claimed they were born to rule. Their stiff opposition to a peaceful restructuring of the country, made our agitation inevitable. They are simply telling us “to go to hell” and “do our worst.”
“At the meeting with the South-East Governors on 30th August 2017, I pleaded with the Governors to plead with Mr President to begin the early restructuring of the country along the lines of true federalism and devolution of power back to the 1963 constitution. I also pleaded for affirmative action to expedite immediate construction of the earlier mentioned deliberately denied infrastructure in our region. The response was a vicious military attack to violently eliminate me on the 14th of September 2017, a day before the follow up concluding meeting.”
Kanu has remained in detention at the Department of State Services, DSS, headquarters in Abuja since 2021 following his abduction in Kenya and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria.
Pleas for his release by eminent personalities have not been heeded by the federal authorities.