National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to critically examine the current agitation for the republic of Biafra and give the agitators a fair hearing. The forum also observed with contempt the impression that only one section of the country with same religion faith was qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Federation.
NCEF in a communique in Abuja by its chairman, Mr. Solomon Asemota, SAN, after the forum meeting in Jos, Plateau State, raised several national issues to be looked at, adding that in as much as issue of secession had never been raised since retuned of democracy in 1999 till now, it should be looked into by government with keen interest.
“While we frown at, and discountenances any move towards secession by any group in the nation, we firmly believe that the grievances of the agitators for Biafra Republic should be examined and the people should be given a fair hearing. “It will be noted that since the return to democracy in 1999, there has been no such widespread agitation until now,” it stated.
Asemota wondered why it was only one section of the country with Muslim background that is qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, calling on government to look into the matter. “The Christian Elders also observe with much concern the impression that is created in the judiciary that only persons from a section of the country are qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Federation.
“That the Nigerian judiciary has been garrisoned by a section of the country and a religion is no longer in doubt, however, the dismantling of this anomaly is expedient. Nigeria can only survive and thrive on a tripod of justice, equality, and fairness.” However, he made it clear that the forum had no personal grudge against the current CJN in the country, calling the government and Nigerians attention to recent appointments of those who hold the defence line of the country.
“The Christian Elders wonder why in a divergent and pluralistic society, such as Nigeria, all the critical security institutions in the nation are headed by people from one section of the country. The Minister of Defense, the Director-General of Department of State Security, DSS, the National Security Adviser, NSA, and the Minister of Interior, are all from one section of the country and are adherents of the same religion.
“The Christian Elders decry the violation of the Federal Character principle in sensitive federal appointments by the current administration. This discriminatory anomaly should be reversed without delay,” the statement added.
On the National Conference report, the forum called on “The government to implement the report and urge all Nigerians to raise a clarion call in this regard. It is in the best interest of Nigeria and all Nigerians that the report of the national conference is implemented in full.”
On the current insecurity in the country, the elders called on Christians to evolved means of self-defence, while urging them to remain law abiding.
“The forum enjoins all Christians in the nation to adhere to the Biblical injunction of ‘follow peace with all men,’ while Christians are urged to remain peace loving and shun any act of provocation, it has become necessary to advise Christian communities to evolve means of “self defense” to ensure self-preservation.
“The impunity and lawlessness with which religious extremists seek to exterminate Christians should be checked, more so, since the security agents seem helpless to apprehend these “unknown gunmen,” they said.
Uwazuruike caution IPOB
Meanwhile, the Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led Biafra Independent Movement, BIM, yesterday, asked Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to continue their demonstration in line with non-violence method for Biafra actualization and for the release of its detained Director of Radio Biafra, London, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Biafra Zionist Movement, BZM, Mr. Benjamin Onwuka and all their members from South East and South South zone, who are still being captive in the custody of Nigeria’s security agencies.
Uwazurike added that he had no hands in the current travail of the detained leader of IPOB and host of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. In a statement by their Deputy Director for Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, BIM said: “We are not against IPOB protest. In fact, we will support the demonstration once it is carried out in a non-violent manner.”
BIM added that it had a credible evidence to show that one Mr. Madu collected huge amount of money from the Federal Government to cancel IPOB’s earlier protest, adding, “it is regrettable that Chief Uwazuruike, founder of the proscribed MASSOB and now leader of BIM had promoted Madu from District Officer, DO, Onitsha South Local Government Area of Anambra State to Deputy National Director for Information and to National Director on July 15, 2003 and April 30, 2005 respectively, without knowing that he is so money and power conscious with little or no interest in the Biafra struggle.
“All he needed is money and not the Biafran struggle to emancipate our people from their bondage in Nigeria. This was part of reasons he was expelled from former MASSOB on August 30, 2014. The Uwazuruike-led BIM has, therefore, cautioned the acting Director of radio Biafra, London, Mr. Uche Mefo to make sure that Madu does not take any part or represent IPOB in taking policy decision in any capacity or else he would bring IPOB to disrepute like he did to MASSOB.”
Similarly, in an interview with Vanguard in Aba, BIM’s Assistant National Director of Information, Sunny Okereafor, said Kanu was one of Uwazuruike boys, stressing that the Biafra leader had no reason to plan evil against him. “If Uwazuruike had a hand in the travails of the director of Radio Biafra, he would not have used every opportunity to urge the Federal Government to release the IPOB leader unconditionally and still stand by that call.”
He dismissed reports that BIM members were planning to attack IPOB members in Onitsha and other parts of the South East and South South and accused some an unnamed MASSOB leader of being behind the false information. The spokesman advised members of IPOB to be wary of the likes of Uchenna Madu, alleging that if he could betray Uwazurike, he would not spare anybody.
Iwuanyanwu blasts protesters, Ndigbo
Meanwhile, Champion Newspapers Publisher, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, had expressed serious reservation on the way some people have been going about their demand for sovereign state of Biafra. Chief Iwuanyanwu, who addressed journalists in Owerri, Imo State, also regretted that some people had even gone out of their way to publish what they call accounts of the war.
“Other tribes are doing better than us. It is good for somebody to protest, but it is nonsensical for people to go to the extreme level of taking laws into his hands by blocking roads. Books have been written by people who neither commanded any command nor fought the battles for their emancipations.
“To say that Igbo are marginalized is stating the obvious and government must try and address the anomaly. It must also be said that before the war, things were done purely on merit but it is no longer so today. Where the Igbo go from here is anybody’s guess.”
He said that General Yakubu Gowon started the issue of reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation very well, adding that he was not too happy at the way Ndigbo now rush to Abuja for all manner of reasons. On the national census, Iwuanyanwu said that Igbo will always be in minority, especially as in some cultures and religious beliefs, people were expected to marry more than one wife and have more than 80 children.
Eze Ndigbo of Bauchi State warns…
Meanwhile, the Eze Ndigbo of Bauchi State, Eze Umezika had warned the Igbo community in the state against supporting any unlawful agitation that would undermine the unity and peace of the nation and urged them to distance themselves from the pro-Biafra protests in parts of the country.
Umezika, yesterday, during an interactive session with the state Commissioner of Police, Baba Tijjani at the police headquarters, in Bauchi as part of efforts to enhance existing police public partnership towards effective policing in the state expressed worry over the recent agitations by certain individuals in some sections of the country, noting that it was uncalled for.
“The new agitation for Biafra is a uncalled for, ill-conceived and ill-motivated. It is not in the interest of Igbo communities and an attempt to destroy peace and unity currently enjoyed in the nation.
“It is also targeted to ignite a national conflict and cause chaos, pandemonium and confusion in the country. The Igbo have made tremendous progress since the civil war, hence the people of the South East and their future is better guaranteed and sustained within a united Nigeria.”