Elder statesman and leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Pa Edwin Clark, has noted that glaring injustices against Nigeria’s Southeast, is responsible for agitations for separation in the zone.
The Ijaw who leader spoke at a stakeholders ameeting of South South zonal conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital, on Friday, noted for instance, that while other geopolitical zones have six states each, the Southeast has five states.
The conference organised by Agape Birthrights, founded by the Ankio Brigs, in partnership with Savanna Centre, was themed “Restructuring: Imperatives for Sustainable Development, Unity and Security”.
According to Clark, the presence of five states in the southeast is a form of “injustice” when compared to the six states in other geopolitical zones and seven states in the Northwest.
“Southeast geopolitical zone has five states, while other zones, the south-south, the south-west, the north-central, the north-east, have six states each. In fact, the north-west has seven states, what injustice against a people,” he said.
“Look at the northernisation policy going on in the country. Appointments are skewed in favour of the north, in total disregard to the feelings of other areas. Key positions in the ministries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, customs, police, you name it, are all given to northerners.
“There are 17 security arms, 14 of them are headed by northerners. Yet one expects that there shall be national unity. Of course, it will not be possible. There must be dissatisfaction and agitation.
“For instance, look at what is happening in the Southeast today. Our critical national assets are being attacked almost every day. People are killed, maimed. While one is gravely against such a method of expressing grievance, the people are pushed to the wall.
“The Southeast geopolitical zone could rightly be described as the most disadvantaged. One could not understand why the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) will be declared as a terrorist organization, while similar organizations in the north have not been so declared.”
The former minister regretted that unity has become a “scarce commodity” in Nigeria, which according to him, is causing distrust and heightened suspicion in many parts of the country.
He insisted that Nigeria must adopt restructuring to tackle insecurity and end rising agitations.
“Unity in this country today is unfortunately a scarce commodity despite the fact that unity is one of the four cardinal points contained in our country’s motto, which is unity and faith, peace and progress,” he said.
“Our nation has never been so disunited, as we are today. There is so much distrust. We suspect one another’s next move. No nation can survive with such a level of distrust. And the major cause of disunity in the country today is inequality.
“You do not expect me to live in unity with someone who is oppressing me, and treating me as though I am a second-class citizen in my own country. This is unacceptable.
“There is so much agitation in the country. Fortunately, there is a solution to these issues. An action that can be taken and the nation will to a large extent be at peace; and that is to restructure Nigeria now.”