Ijaw elders meet British government, expresses intention to secede out of Nigeria
Elder statesmen from the South-South region Ijaw-speaking people have met with representatives of the British government to express intention to leave Nigeria and establish their their own nation.
The delegation of the Ijaw leaders led by the President of the Ijaw National Congress, Prof. Benjamin Okaba met with the representatives of the British High Commission led by Mr. John Kekeh at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
Okaba read out a seven-page address on behalf of the Ijaw nation to the British High Commission delegation, while lamenting that the British government deceived the Ijaw to join Nigeria but the welfare of their people had not been taken care of ever since.
He said, “Again in the light of truth, a good conscience, fairness, equity, and justice, would the British people and her government be perpetually silent and feign ignorance to the excruciating plight of the Ijaw people?
“Furthermore, perhaps the once colonial masters would with all intent and purpose act to rescue the ugly situation – may we ask if not now; then when?
“We are indeed eager and anxious to know: is your intervention coming when we are completely ripped off our God-given oil and gas natural resources and abandoned to our fate in wallowing and the criminally degraded environment without remediation.
“In all honesty, would that not be a crime against humanity where the British government would be seen as accomplices. The visitation is about us telling them that you (British) brought us into Nigeria and they should play their role to take us out of this country. The British have the moral duty to take us out. We were deceived to join Nigeria; they abandoned us and deceived us. Let them do the needful.
“As Ijaw people, we are tired of this country. We have suffered in this country; we have carried the burden of this nation on our shoulders for too long. We have placed minimum conditions. The first condition is the restoration of true federalism. Number two, we have to be placed not as balkanised people. We cannot be scattered into different states and make us minorities and slaves. We cannot be slaves in a place where our resources are used to sustain the people. It is unacceptable.
“So the Ijaw people are saying to the Federal Government that if this minimum requirement is not met, we are no longer committed to the Nigerian project. And that if we are leaving as an Ijaw republic, we shall do it peacefully and legally. This is the message we are sending to the British High Commission and to the British Government to come and undo what they did.”
It would be recalled that the Akwa Ibom coalition on June 18 reached out to the United Nations Organisation, saying it wants the Ibom Republic and plans to secede out of Nigeria.
The Akwa Ibom group alleged that the Nigerian state had not treated its indigenes fairly and it, therefore, wanted its own republic.