•Agitators have reached point of no return — MASSOB
By Henry Umoru and Ugochukwu Alaribe
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has traced the humanitarian crisis in the North-East to the nation’s failure to learn lessons from the civil war to build her internal capacity and mechanisms for managing such situations.
He also affirmed the National Assembly’s commitment to bringing succour to parts of the country facing humanitarian challenges.
Ekweremadu spoke when he received a delegation from the Princess Modupe Ozolua-led Empower 54, which paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
He observed that as a country that had gone through armed conflict and humanitarian crises, Nigeria ought to have learnt from such experiences and strengthened her capacity to build peace and manage humanitarian challenges.
He said: “As a young boy in the 1960s, I experienced firsthand the humanitarian crisis in the eastern part of Nigeria occasioned by the Biafran war. Then, we had to depend on international donors and humanitarian organisations.
“Unfortunately, from the developments so far in the North East, it is clear that, like virtually every other thing in our history, we did not learn from that experience. We remain heavily dependent on humanitarian organisations and donors.
“If we had learnt from the experience of the civil war, Nigeria would have needed little or no external support. We would have built our internal capacity and mechanisms to manage the North East situation”.
Ekweremadu, however, commended the Empower 54 for its humanitarian outreach, particularly its efforts to have some of its supplies manufactured in Nigeria.
In a related development, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Comrade Uchenna Madu, yesterday, said no amount of pressure would make his group and other pro-Biafra groups quit their struggle for the actualisation of an independent state of Biafra.
Madu, in an interview with journalists in Aba, said the agitation for Biafra had come a long way such that the groups behind it would not relent until their dream was actualised.
Asked whether the group would relent in its agitation now that it appeared that the Federal Government had started addressing infrastructural issues in the South-East, the MASSOB leader said, “We can’t stop, we have passed that point. Some people think that the agitation for the Sovereign State of Biafra was because of marginalisation or infrastructural decay in the South-East. No. We have passed that stage.
“We want Biafra, not because our roads are bad, not because Igbo man has not become the President of the country. We want Biafra not because of negligence of our area, but we want Biafra because we are Biafrans; we are created Biafrans and we have to exhibit it in all sense of responsibility. We want to restore the ancient kingdom of Biafra as it was before the 1914 amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorate.”
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