The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. John Nwodo, has condemned the Federal Government’s ill-treatment of members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
Nwodo said that there is no justifiable reason why the federal authorities reach out to armed groups like the Boko Haram sect, the Niger Delta Avengers and the Odua’a Peoples’ Congress (OPC) but rolled out arms and tanks against IPOB and MASSOB.
He spoke on Tuesday after a meeting with Igbo leaders and other stakeholders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The Ohanaeze chief decried the total neglect of the Igbo nation in all facets of the Nigerian project, especially the lack of confidence in Ndigbo in occupying top security positions in Nigeria.
Nwodo lamented that “no Igboman is the Chief of Army Staff, no Igboman is the Chief of Air Staff, no Igboman is the Chief of Naval Staff, no Igboman is the Chief of Defence Staff, no Igboman is in the headship of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), no Igboman is in the head of the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS), no Igboman is in head of State Security Services (DSS), no Igboman is in the head of the intelligence agencies, no Igboman is in the head of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and no Igboman is in the head of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). I don’t know any other, we are not Minister of Defence, we are not Minister of Internal Affairs, we are not Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) in spite of the zoning policy of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to zone the SGF office to Igboland.”
At a press conference at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt as part of his tour to states with Igbo extraction, Nwodo expressed deep sense of regret over the allocation of capital projects in Nigeria since the end of Nigeria Civil War in 1970.
He said that infrastructural decay was much pronounced in the South East zone as every successive government had continued in the same direction of abandonment and neglect.
In his entourage were Ohanaeze’s Deputy President-General, DIG Hilary Okpara (rtd) and the Secretary-General, Mr. Uche Okwukwu.
Nwodo said: “Look at the capital projects in Igboland, since the war ended, coming from Enugu to Port Harcourt is a nightmare, the road is impassable. I thank the Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola who came the other day and said work will finish ion the project 17 months.
“I hope we can believe him. Because when Lateef Jakande was the Minister of Works he told us that the Niger Bridge will be done for 10 months, nothing is done till today. Former President Goodluck Jonathan said that he will build it, till today nothing has happened, I do hope Fashola’s promises will translate into action”.
He condemned the poor treatment meted on the IPOB and MASSOB as it relates to their counterparts in other regions where they are being called for negotiations and amnesty is being granted to people with arms. And those without arms are killed and others charged for treason.
“Why is it that IPOB and MASSOB are being treated differently from others such as Avengers, Boko Haram and OPC in other regions? Why are you treating my children in a different manner? Is this an Animal Farm where some are more equal than others?
“Under the constitution of Nigeria there is freedom of speech and association. If somebody said that he wants Biafra you allow him to say it, provided he is doing it in a legitimate way. He can take his petition to the National Assembly, or a plebiscite, if he wins, better for him. The fact that we their fathers have not joined them tells the fact that they are not yet popular as they tend to be. This matter can be probably discussed. If they treat them the way they treat Boko Haram and the rest of them they will probably think differently,” he said.
Nwodo, a former minister of information, admonished the Federal Government to reconsider its intentions towards the youths of the country.