At last the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has abandoned the political agitation for Biafra in favour of issuing joint press statements with Yoruba based Non Governmental Organisations (NGO). This is in direct contracdiction of what the group said it stood when it was launched nearly 14 years ago. With this move MASSOB is now ‘officially’ and NGO clamouring for economic diversification instead of the liberation of the Biafran people.
According to a press release circulated to newspaper houses and paid for by MASSOB, three non-governmental organisations (including MASSOB) have called for the creation of socio-economic hubs outside of Lagos State.
This, they said, would reduce the monopoly enjoyed by the state, especially in international trade and economic activities.
The groups – the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, and the Anambra State branch of the Civil Liberties Organisation – made the call after a joint meeting in Onitsha on Wednesday.
They were reacting to the recent “deportation” of some South-East citizens to Onitsha by the Lagos State Government.
In a communiqué, the groups particularly urged the governors of the South-East and other stakeholders to commence discussions with the Federal Government on ways of developing economic infrastructure and diplomatic missions in the South-East.
Representatives of the groups, Mr. Uchenna Madu (MASSOB); Mr. Emeka Umeagbalasi (Intersociety); and Messrs Aloy Attah and Justus Ijeoma (CLO), signed the communiqué obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday.
The communiqué read, “The South-East Governors’ Forum and other core stakeholders should hold talks with the Federal Government of Nigeria so as to get the foreign missions in the country, particularly those of Europe, North American, India, China and other Southeast Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council to open their consulate offices in Enugu for visa processing.
“A situation whereby the South-East and the South-South Nigerian citizens have to travel to Lagos to obtain visas for international travels is not only condemned but also amounts to diplomatic enslavement.
“Also travelling to overseas through Lagos is not only death-prone, but also harsh and wicked policy that must be reversed.
They also called for the reconstruction of the Onitsha-Enugu and Enugu-Port Harcourt expressways, and the increased use of the Port Harcourt and Onitsha wharfs for goods going to Eastern markets.
Meanwhile, a group in the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Ambassador, has criticised the position of the All Progressives Congress on the “deportation.”
The group, in a statement on Wednesday by its leader, Mr. Hilary Ejesieme, said the APC position was just to defend the Lagos State Government on the matter.
The APGA Ambassadors said, “The position of APC on the entire matter is quite perplexing and shows how the party regards and treats the Igbo. Everywhere in the world, from the United States to Europe, there are still beggars on the streets and nowhere do they get treatment like common criminals without rights.”
In a related development, the APC in Osun State has attributed the face-off between Lagos and Anambra states to the November 16 governorship poll in Anambra State.
The state party chairman, Mr. Adebiyi Adelowo, made this known in Osogbo, on Wednesday, in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
Adelowo accused Obi of sensationalising the action of the Lagos State Government.
He said, “Governor Obi knows that governorship election will be a different ball game – this is why he has made the allegation in order to curry the support of the Federal Government.”
Massob by issuing this statement with other civil society groups calling on the Nigerian Government to diversify investments outside Lagos means that it has accepted the status quo in Nigeria and merely campaigning for the economic betterment of Igbos. Many would wonder why the leadership of the movement have spent so many years wasting innocent lives of young men and women in the name of fighting for Biafra only to later transform into a civil society organisation. The organisation should have the decency to come out and tell the world that it has abandoned the fight for Biafra independence.