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Biafra Agitation And The Silence Of Niger Delta Governors: A Case For Concern


Biafra Agitation And The Silence Of Niger Delta Governors: A Case For Concern

• By Ubon Marcus

The silence of Niger Delta Governors in the face of a gradually overwhelming Biafra agitation is worrisome. Apart from Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who has been very vocal on the issue, little has been heard from his Niger Delta colleagues in this regard.

Why should the Biafra issue be a matter of concern?

The Biafra agitation has gathered momentum over the years. In the 80s when I was born, Biafra was just a story: a story of the civil war told to children by their parents. My parents told this story to us, and I guess yours told you as well.

Through the years, Biafra has metamorphosed from a folk tale to a burdensome reality, one than can neither be ignored nor wished away. Today Biafra does not only live in the heart and minds of its agitators, it runs through their veins and as a matter of fact, has become a threat to the peaceful existence of neighbouring states who wish not to be a part of it and Nigeria as a whole.

The Biafran struggle has moved from the level of advocacy as was mostly the order of the day in the time of Ralph Uwazurike and his famous Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB). With the emergence of Nnamdi Kanu and his Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) alongside groups s

uch as the Eastern Security Network tagging along, the Biafran agitation has taken a different dimension with violence and bloodshed becoming a regular occurrence.
As worrisome as the loud silence of Niger Delta Governors is, more worrisome is the conscription of the Niger Delta into Biafra, at least in theory for now. A map of Biafra uploaded on a pro-Biafra website – www.biafran.org lists Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, and other Niger Delta states as part of Biafra. As a matter of fact, it is feared that with the violent turn the Biafran struggle is taking, it is only a matter of time before pro-Biafra aggressors take up arms against us here in the Niger Delta. Recent attacks on police stations and security installations in South-South states buttress this position.
Who then should speak up?

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Although a group known as the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy, UNDEDSS, has warned that the Niger Delta should not be dragged into any secession plan as seen in a recent publication by Vanguard newspaper (https://www.vanguardngr.com/…/n-deltas-not-biafra…/), it is expected of Niger Delta Governors who occupy a more prominent and powerful platform to lead the charge.
As a matter of fact, prominent ethnic nationalities such as Ijaw Peoples Congress, should be concerned about not just securing their own share of the national cake, but should boldly and squarely address Biafra claims over Niger Delta. This is important because already, a prominent former militant leader, Mujahid Asari-Dokubo who leads a group known as Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force has aligned with Biafan separatists and has gone ahead to assert that Ijaw land and other parts of Niger Delta belong to Biafra. This can be seen on

https://www.thecable.ng/nobody-can-stop-us-asari-dokubo… and videos posted on his Facebook page, https://web.facebook.com/asari.dokubo.35

Groups such as the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) now led by Senator Emmanuel Ibok-Essien, Traditional Rulers of Oil Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON), Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Ati Annang, Essu Nlap Oro, and so on should all come together and make it known to Biafran agitators and the whole world with a loud voice that NIGER DELTA IS NOT PART OF BIAFRA.

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No middle ground?

I was told stories of our people who were killed during the civil war by Biafran forces on one hand for refusing to join them, and by Nigerian forces on the other hand on suspicions of them being Biafran agitators. So you see, there is no middle ground in this.

Why do we not want to be a part of Biafra?

Ethnic minorities opine that their survival and well being is more guaranteed under the larger Nigerian structure than in a Biafra arrangement. Should they secede, they would rather do on and stay on their own than be subsumed under Biafra.

Furthermore, they maintain that Biafran agitators are more concerned about abundant oil resources in the Niger Delta region than the wellbeing of the people. Hence, they would rather take their chances with Nigeria than begin a fresh round of oil struggle with the so-called Biafra.

What is the way forward?
It is the position of this writer that Niger Delta Governors should as a matter of urgency take a position on the “Niger Delta is part of Biafra” issue. Governors hold a more prominent and powerful platform and when they speak their voice is heard widely and their message reverberates. A meeting of the South- South Governors Forum can address this. Governor Wike has emphasized over and again that Rivers State is not part of Biafra. What are other Governors doing about this? I urge them to join Wike as there is little a lone voice can do.

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Members of the National Assembly, Ethnic nationalities, youth groups, student organizations, women groups, leaders of thought, etc should also join the campaign and make it known that NIGER DELTA IS NOT PART OF BIAFRA as our people say, idaha edim adeppe etok etok yak abia afiad etap.
I so submit.


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