By Gift Samuel
Abuja-A civil rights advocacy group-Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has called on the federal government to set in motion mechanisms for a negotiated restructuring of Nigeria and to address the gross marginalization of the South East of Nigeria if it ever hopes to successfully deflate the agitation for self-government by the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) and the movement for sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB).
The rights group has asked that the South East of Nigeria be carried along in the composition of the military service chiefs and the National Defence Council in line with the third schedule, part 1,Article 25 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(as amended) and in compliance with the Federal character principle of the Nigerian Constitution.
In a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA has also blamed the deliberate scheming out of the South East from beneficiaries in terms of construction of major national assets such as refineries and defense infrastructures for the rapid sympathy the agitation for self-determination has garnered in the South East of Nigeria
According to him, “A situation whereby the South East of Nigeria which is one of the tripod that constitutes the clear majorities of the Nigerian population in the real sense of it alongside Hausa, Yoruba, is left behind in the appointments of defence service Chiefs and all the military and para-military forces does not augur well for lasting mutual harmony and national tranquillity because there’s a groundswell of suspicions that the People of the South East of Nigeria are no longer wanted in the Sovereign state of Nigeria. These anomalies must be addressed if we ever think the agitation can be scaleddown radically.
“Why do we concentrate all the strategic military infrastructures in the North and a few elsewhere except in the South East of Nigeria? Where has the national government failed persistently to recognise Anambra as a crude oil producing state and refused to explore the rich crude oil resources discovered in commercial quantities therein by experts? Why does the South East of Nigeria not have one functional refinery even when the zone is rich in crude oil resources? Why are the Children of the South East discriminated upon in terms of having to pass through tougher entry qualification to Unity colleges even when the same policy is not applied to the North? Why did the Department of State Services allocate on fewer slots to the South East even when just Katsina state cornered the same number allocated to the entire states in the South East of Nigeria?” He questioned
HURIWA therefore cautioned the security forces against any harassment, maiming or killing of members of the Indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) even as it has called on the International community and the International Criminal Court in The Hague Netherlands to probe the extralegal executions of hundreds of members of the self determination group in the South East of Nigeria by security forces since the past two years.