The Itsekiri ethnic nationality in Delta State on Thursday called on Igbo leaders, particularly, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to warn Igbo youths against causing tension in the country by their agitation for Biafra Republic.
Specifically, the ethnic nationality said that pro-Biafra groups must desist from counting the Itsekiri as being part of the Biafra Republic.
Condemning the ultimatum issued against the Igbo people by some northern youth groups, Itsekiri leaders stressed that if Igbo leaders had condemned the activities of their youths who were using Biafra to destabilise the country, Nigeria would not have faced the latest threat.
Itsekiri’s apex socio-cultural group, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, in a statement by its chairman and secretary, Chief Edward Ekpoko, and Sir A. S. Mene, respectively, stated that the Itsekiri people were committed to the unity of Nigeria and would do all it could to promote and protect its unity.
The group said that it would work for the unity of Nigeria at all times.
The statement said, “The proposed Biafra Republic as claimed by the agitators includes the whole of the present Delta State. Itsekiri’s homeland of Warri is not part of that enterprise. We recall with pains the day the defunct Biafra Army invaded Warri and Benin in the then Midwestern Region on August 9, 1967 and say never again will the Itsekiri tolerate such an invasion.
“The Itsekiri ethnic nationality is committed to the unity of Nigeria and will do all it can to promote and protect it as one and indivisible country. We can always sit and talk about our differences. As Major-General Phillip Effiong said on January 14, 1970 that the Republic of Biafra ceased to exist, so we the Itsekiri wish it to be eternally for the peace and development of our great Nation.”
The statement commended the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Northern Governors’ Forum, especially Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, for their bold steps in condemning the Hausa youths’ ultimatum asking the Igbo to quit the North in 90 days.