Tuesday, August 15, 2017 8:50 am
The Ijaw youths, under the auspices of the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has warned pro-Biafran groups such as the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB to stop including the Ijaw territories in their envisaged new Eastern region territory.
The youths said there was no time the Ijaw ethnic nationality consented to be part of the Biafra Republic in a statement by its spokesman, Daniel Dasimaka on Monday.
According to him, Ijaw people had never been Biafrans as the old Eastern Region was a political contraption that enslaved the Ijaw people.
The group added that the old Eastern Region was created by those who also orchestrated ‘this miscarriage of a state called Nigeria.’
The group noted that the Ijaws had never, in any way, been against the genuine aspirations of all peoples, including the MASSOB and IPOB, to attain self-determination or secession, but they should not drag the ethnic nationality into their geographical expression.
The statement reads in part, “The Ijaw are a distinct ethnic nation, even before the 1914 amalgamation, that has its own dreams, wishes and aspirations that should not be submerged as footnotes in any other peoples’ struggles.
“We, the Ijaw people, are not Biafrans. Therefore, if or when any Ijaw person or group feels a sense of allegiance to Biafra and speak in its favour, let it be known that such statements are the personal opinions of such persons. They do not reflect the thoughts, views and wishes of the entire Ijaw nation and the Niger Delta people.”
The IYC also warned “overzealous members of IPOB” to stop further insults on respected Ijaw elders and leaders, particularly critical stakeholders like AnnKio Briggs “who had committed so much to the Niger Delta,” stressing that such insults would no longer be tolerated.
It added that the Ijaw struggle for self-determination predated the Biafra agitation.
The group stated, “It is a known historical fact that a year before the world got to hear of the term Biafra Republic, the Ijaw led by the late Major Isaac Boro of blessed memory had declared a Niger Delta Republic in pursuit of the emancipation of the Niger Delta people which the progenitor of Biafran, late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, of blessed memory, fought against as the then governor of the old Eastern Region when the going was good with him in the Nigerian state.
“It is also on record that a year before MASSOB was founded, the IYC, through the Kaiama Declaration, had affirmed ‘our commitment to joint struggle with the other ethnic nationalities in the region for self-determination.’
“We express our solidarity with all the peoples, organisations and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and elsewhere who are struggling for self-determination and justice.”