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Ohaneze, Arewa, Afenifere, N/Delta canvass restructuring, fairness to resolve security crisis

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LEADERS of socio-cultural groups in Nigeria such as Ohaneze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Niger Delta have called for political and economic restructuring, fairness, equity and state police in order to resolve security crisis bedevilling the country.

Speaking at The ICIR’s security webinar entitled ‘Solving Nigeria’s Security Conundrum: A Pan-Nigerian Approach’ on Wednesday, the socio-cultural leaders said Nigeria’s security and unity were on the edge, and President Muhammadu Buhari must act now to save the country from impending war and disintegration.

According to President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo George Obiozor, who is a professor of International Relations, insecurity in Nigeria could be attributed to neglect of certain areas in the country.

“The Igbo do not want to be loved as most people think; they rather want equal opportunities,” he said.


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“You have to accept there is a problem in the first place, instead of denying it. It has been called different names: devolution, restructuring… We need it. Nigeria is a plural country and should be governed as such,” Obiozor, who has been Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States, said.
He noted that the agitations coming from the South-East region was not new as history had shown that other parts of the country had agitated for secession at different points since 1914 amalgamation, stressing that political leaders must strengthen the structure, make it fair and give everybody a chance.

Chairman of the Arewa Conservative Forum (ACF) Audu Ogbeh, who is the immediate past minister of agriculture, explained that each state must be mobilised in such a way that it would be able to deal with problems in its own borders.

He called for state police and the Ministry of the Future to address youth restiveness in the country, noting that currency devaluation and poor import control had done damage to the Nigerian economy.

“Our country spends $1.6 billion on the importation of milk because we don’t know how to manage cows,” he said, noting that the state of the economy was responsible for the level of insecurity in the country.
“There is an agreement among ECOWAS countries in 1998 called Transhuman West African Protocol between states which says that cattle can come from other countries to graze, but most Nigerians are not aware.
“If Nigeria is able to solve its own internal problem, what happens with the foreign ones with their herdsmen carrying AK47? Every country in West Africa has to take care of their cattle.
“We must create and energise industrial growth. The young people are angry and not listening to the older ones because we have failed. Most of them are ready to go to Canada and face racism rather than remain here.”

Leader of a pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo noted that the 1999 Constitution should be discarded, saying that it was wrong to govern a plural society with a unitary constitution.

“The root of the problem we are facing today is imposed on us by the awkward constitution,” he said, stressing that President Buhari’s demeanour cast him in a negative light as an enemy of the country.

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There have been killing of security officials and destruction of police stations in the South-East region in recent times.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by the detained Nnamdi Kanu, have also arisen, creating secessionist tension in the region.

In the South-West, Sunday Adeyemo, known as Sunday Igboho, have also asked Fulani residents in the region to leave due to rising cases of kidnapping and other crimes.

Pa Adebanjo said there would not have been Oduduwa and IPOB agitations if the authorities were doing their job to protect the people of all ethnic nationalities.

Ayo Adebanjo
Ayo Adebanjo

“The moment the leaders restructure the country back to federalism is when there would be solution,” he said.

Former Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial District  Florence Ita-Giwa suggested that the government must address the suffering of the people of the entire Niger Delta region in order to resolve security crisis.

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In October 2002, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivered a judgment ceding Bakassi in Cross River State to Cameroon.

The court instructed Nigeria to transfer possession of the peninsula, though it allowed residents to choose between being Nigerians and Cameroonians.

Though many of them chose to remain with  Nigeria, they seem to have been abandoned.

Ita-Giwa said she was angry that an oil-producing region was abandoned by the Nigerian government, with many of them homeless and un-cared for.

She further noted that the unfair treatment of the people of the Niger Delta, who contributed largely to the wealth of the nation, should be addressed.

The Senator also said that the political disconnect between the leaders and the people must be bridged and suggested the introduction of electronic voting while tackling the issue of young people that would take over from the current generation.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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