The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Enugu, Rt. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, on Thursday said the Igbo did not need Biafra.
The cleric told journalists in Enugu that what the Igbo needed was massive infrastructural development in the South-East, and to be treated with “justice, fairness and equity” by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
According to him, the pro-Biafra agitation is not necessarily a call for secession, but rather, a protest against marginalisation and neglect by governments at the federal and state levels, as well as the excesses of public office-holders.
Describing the pro-Biafra agitation as “misguided”, Chukwuma said the Igbo truly believed in ‘one-Nigeria’ and do not wish to see the country divided.
He said, “The People of the South-East have invested so much in Nigeria to want to pull out now. The Igbo nation is not ready for any secession now because most of us have invested so much in Nigeria as a whole and we cannot abandon our investments.
“We in the South-East don’t want any war. We are not pushing for secession, we are not asking for sovereignty at all. I am not in support of the agitation for Biafra – the pro-Biafra agitation is misguided.”
The bishop explained that the youth who took to the streets to call for the actualisation of Biafra were frustrated by bad leadership and its consequences, including poverty, unemployment, lack of critical infrastructure, among others.
He said, “Those who were marching for Biafra are mostly youths who have been frustrated, so many of them have been used and dumped by politicians. They are misdirected youths who felt that was the only way to express their frustrations.
“They were not given proper representation by those they elected – constituency offices are non-existent. The agitation for Biafra is just a camouflage, it is a protest against bad leadership.”
Chukwuma urged the Federal Government not to see the agitation as a form of rebellion on the part of the Igbo.
“The Federal Government should not see the agitation as a rebellion – we (Ndigbo) are for one Nigeria.
We are committed to the unity of an undivided Nigeria, but all we ask for is equity and justice. Equity, fairness and justice should prevail,” he said.
“Inasmuch as they are saying that we did not vote for him (Buhari), that is a sentimental thing but we have embraced him now. The President should try as much as possible to understand that Igbos support his administration. We support his anti-corruption campaign.The Federal Government should try not to be vindictive.” (Punch)