Chris Steven, Abuja
The clamour for the rebirth of the defunct Biafra Republic received another deadly blow on Thursday as another ethnic group has distanced itself from the agitation.
The South-South Progressive Coalition which said it has a strong belief in a united Nigeria has warned the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra MASSOB to stop including the Niger Delta region in their fraudulent activities.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the Idoma National Forum also distanced itself from the claim by the secessionist groups that the Idoma community was part of the Biafra territory.
Adding its voice to the call for a one and united Nigeria, the South-South Progressive Coalition on said the ongoing call by few persons for the resuscitation of Biafra was comical and worthless.
President-General of SSPC, Amuna Success said the group has learnt on good authority that those funding IPOB/MASSOB are highly placed politicians and businessmen who have choice property and investment in the same Nigeria they want to secede from.
According to him, “Much as we were alarmed that this avenue for ventilating deep seated ethnic frustration was being hijacked by desperate thugs, we continued to maintain a measured silence because we thought it unfair to stifle the spirit of our Ndigbo brothers even when we were well aware from the onset of their delusionary quest.
“Delusionary, because in the south-south we have seen our share of how genuine agitation for improved quality of life can be hijacked by common criminals, used to threaten the country, and ultimately enrich themselves both at the expense of the struggle and of the populace.
“Our experience in this case include the collective agitation for resource control, responsible attitude towards the environment in the course of oil exploration, and empowerment of the local population to get employment in the industries that operate in the fatherland. Today, all we have to show for the agitation are the self-appointed militant generals and traditional rulers who became rich from the blood the rest of us shed in the hope of securing a better deal for our homeland. If anything came of these struggles we do not feel the benefit.”
SSPC said they even if the south-south should excise itself from Nigeria today it would only, “amplify other other differences whereby we then begin to thin as Kalabari, Urhobo, Itshekiri, Ijaw, Ikwere, Anang, Efik and the dozens other ethnic dematerialization we are structured into.
“We are therefore alarmed that the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), not satisfied with sabotaging their region’s economy and punishing their own poor people, are drawing up maps of their phantom Biafra Republic in which they included the South-South. Nothing can be sicker than this. It is delusion taken too far and one that must be addressed immediately lest it graduates into madness.
The group leader added that the Niger Delta was never part of Biafra before it became defunct, stressing that the parts that were coerced into the failed project were victim of occupation by Biafran militants.
“The defeat of that failed enterprise was possible with the cooperation of the modern day south-south that allowed federal troops safe passage. We want MASSOB and IPOB to know that if anything has changed it is the fact that the people of the south-south will not for one minute entertain aligning with separatists against their better judgment that shows a united Nigeria is the right thing to pursue.
“Anyone that is banking on the resources of the Niger Delta for a new country should have a rethink. Our warning is that the Niger Delta people will not allow anyone to steal their oil under the guise of secession from Nigeria.
“The five Igbo states – Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo – put together do not amount to half of the landmass of the south-south; if these thugs have their way there would be massive exodus into the region and it would be a matter of time before they use their cunning to come up with some contraption to appropriate out land after hijacking our resources. Under the current arrangement our right to our land is not under threat. Why would we walk into a trap with our eyes opened?
“Founder of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has proven that the Biafra contraption is not above fraud and is nothing but a scheme set up to line the pockets of the movement’s leaders. This has proven by the sale of fake Biafran passports to youths, some of who are languishing in jail for immigration offences when they tried using the false documents only to get arrested.
“We hereby warn the Biafra agitators to stay away from the Niger Delta. They should desist from mentioning the South-South whenever they are lying to themselves. Our region is not going with them,” the group warned.