Vanguard Newspaper – Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Ugochukwu Alaribe &Chinonso Alozie
ABUJA — Constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Mr. Sebastian Hon, has asked the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, dust up reports of various national conferences that have been organised in the country since independence. According to Hon, solution to most of the economic and structural problems currently bedevilling the nation are already embedded as recommendations in past confab reports “that unfortunately have been left to gather dust in archives.”
This came as the Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, absolved its leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike of wrong-doing following his visit to Arewa House, Kaduna, on the ultimatum to Ndigbo to leave the North by October 1. Hon blamed mounting agitation for the resurrection of the defunct Biafra Republic on failure and lack of political will by past administrations to implement already existing recommendations on how to move the nation forward.
President Yemi Osinbajo exchanging pleasantries with Former Finance Minister, Kalu Idika Kalu (l) during the meeting between the Presidency at South east Leaders of Thought at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida The lawyer who spoke to journalists after he was conferred with an award by National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, in Abuja, on Saturday, flayed request by the Senate for the executive arm of government to forward the outcome of the 2014 National Conference to it as a Bill. He said: “There is need for the Federal Government to not just look into the report of the 2014 confab, but into all the political and constitutional conferences that we have had in this country.
“The Federal Government should dust all these reports and revisit them. There should be political will and honesty to do this because if we continue playing the ostrich, we will continue nose-diving to levels that we will never recover. So, the earlier we realise this, the better.” Meanwhile, the NANS President, Aruna Kadiri, who was represented by National Vice President, Shettima Umar, said the association had at its 75th meeting in Owerri, agreed to honour the Benue State-born senior lawyer with ‘NANS Epitome of Good Leadership Award’ “owing to his unending passion for education, youth development and societal transformation.”
In his remarks, NANS Vice President, Special Duties, Felix Attah, urged Hon to persuade Governor Samuel Ortom to re-open Benue State University which he said had been on strike. In his response, Hon assured the students that Benue State University will be re-opened before the next two weeks. He noted that the school was on lock-down owing to salary issues that were not cleared by the previous administration in Benue State. Uwazuruike did not betray Biafra — BIM The pro-Biafra group insisted that Uwazuruike’s visit to Arewa House was a peace mission meant to protect the interest of Biafra people living in the North, and assure them of their safety. Briefing the media in Aba, a member of the Elders’ Council of BIM, Chief Larry Odinma, who said the visit had started bearing fruits, added that Uwazuruike’s action was in line with what he described as BIM’s principle of non exodus where every Igbo man will own property and live wherever he chooses in any part of Nigeria. He explained that between 2000 and 2003, late Biafran Head of State, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, visited Arewa House and met with some northern leaders during crisis situations in which Ndigbo were threatened in the North and restored peace. He said: “Chief Ralph Uwazuruike did not betray the struggle for Biafra through his visit to Arewa House, he went on a peace mission. Most of the Northern leaders are friends of BIM who identifies with the Biafra struggle and attends our annual events in honour of Ojukwu. “When the coalition of Arewa youths gave the ultimatum to Ndigbo to quit, some of the Arewa leaders called to hear from him on the situation. The northern leaders are highly pleased with BIM’s non violent approach to the struggle. Uwazuruike can never betray Biafra because actualizing Biafra is his life.” Ukwa/Ngwa youths want Arewa youths arrested Meanwhile, the Supreme Council of Ukwa/Ngwa Youths in Abia State, has described the quit notice as a “national threat,” insisting that the best option was to arrest those who gave the order.
They stated this in a communique signed by the President, Mr. Obinna Nwachukwu, after a two-day retreat in Owerri. They, among other issues, warned that no group has monopoly of violence. According to the communique, “the council hereby calls on NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and other Niger Delta intervention agencies, as a matter of equity, justice and fairness to ensure that all rights and privileges due to the oil producing communities be given to Ukwa/Ngwa land, especially in citing of projects and human capital development. “That the council condemns in its entirety, the recent calls by Arewa youths council on all Igbo residing in the north leave before October 1. “Such being seen as threat to national unity, we hereby call on the Acting President and Inspector General of Police to ensure that those people are brought to book, while also reminding them that no group has monopoly of violence. “That the council congratulates Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on his recent victory at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, which confirmed him as duly elected Abia State governor. “That the council, in recognition of the governor’s strides, especially in the area of infrastructure and human capital development within a short period of two years hereby pass a vote of confidence on the governor.” They added that the Abia State nominee for Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Nworgu. N. Nworgu should be confirmed to avoid putting the state in a disadvantaged position. Remember that Uwazuruike in 2000 swore with the corpse of a MASSOB member, Gabriel Ogu, that he will never betray Biafra. Just like Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu did between 2000 and 2003, Uwazuruike visited the North to protect the interest of Ndigbo living in that region. He has not abandoned the struggle for Biafra and will never do so. “People should understand that when Biafra is actualized, we will still need to maintain relations with Nigeria and neighbouring countries.
Biafra people will also live wherever they choose. Even non Biafrans are free to live and do business in Biafra land, nobody will ask them to quit. Many countries of the world have gotten self-government from their mother nations; does it mean that they no longer cooperate with each other?” While urging the people of old Eastern region to be steadfast in their support for MASSOB/BIM, Odinma insisted that Biafra will soon be actualized without violence.