The President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to look the report of the 2014 National Conference convened by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, as part of the solution to the ongoing discourse on restructuring the country.
He made the appeal while speaking on “Next Generation Nigeria: Participation, Accountability and National Cohesion,” at the Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs) yesterday.
He said the evidence that the country was ready for restructuring was underlined by the calls being made by prominent leaders from various parts of the country.
“This is the time for restructuring, “ he argued, and also noted that: “restructuring will reduce corruption.” He allayed the fear of those opposed to restructuring, saying that if Netherlands can earn more from agriculture than Nigeria earns from oil, then “Northern Nigerian will be the richest zone in a restructured Nigeria.”
He described the Federal Government’s proscription and labeling of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation “as unfortunate,” while the same government is continuing to dialogue with Boko Haram, which has killed and maimed hundreds of Nigerians in the North.
Although he said he disagreed with some aspects of the modus operandi of IPOB, the former federal minister argued that the government was out of order to have proscribed it and also sent in the army that tortured and killed many youths.
The Federal Government should have gone to court and press charges of criminal or civil disturbances, not to label them as terrorist organisation, he argued further.
Besides, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olisa Agbakoba, has advised the president to drive the restructuring process as provided in section 5 of the 1999 Constitution.
President Buhari had in a national broadcast shortly after returning from United Kingdom on a medical vacation, declared that the National Assembly and the National Council of State would initiate the restructuring process.
However the senior advocate, while talking to newsmen said the kind of restructuring envisaged by Nigerians could only be handled by the president. His words: “President is the leader of Nigeria and the reason we have all these problems is simply because he has not taken direct control.”
Agbakoba who blamed the southern leaders for not engaging their northern counterparts on the issue said the Federal Government should allow states to have control over natural resources in their domains.
According to him, the most important challenge is to develop a blue print on restructuring to be used to engage Nigerians. He also urged Nigerians to have a clear voice in order for the president to take action.
Nwodo and Agbakoba spoke as IPOB declared its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, missing and called on the Federal Government to tell the world his whereabouts.
A statement yesterday by IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said that Kanu had been missing since Thursday, September 14, 2017 when a detachment of soldiers stormed his residence.
The statement called on the United Nations and the government of United Kingdom to prevail upon the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Chief of Army Staff to produce Mazi Nnamdi Kanu or tell the world what had become of him
It stated: “Before the storming of his house, Kanu was seen chatting with people, after the military invasion of his bedroom he has not been seen till date.’’
IPOB said it would not stop until justice was done. Kanu’s counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, yesterday, took the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai to court, praying for an order to compel him to produce Kanu in court on his next trial date coming up on October 17.
In an originating summons filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Kanu’s lawyer claimed that the whereabouts of the IPOB leader had remained unknown since the military invaded his residence.
Kanu’s lawyer is praying for an order, compelling the Chief of Army Staff, to produce Kanu in court on the next adjourned date, to enable him defend himself of the terrorism charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.
The lawyer, who anchored the application on five grounds, is asking the court to take judicial notice of the fact that Kanu had lawfully exercised his constitutional right of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and self-determination.
According to Ejiofor, Kanu was still enjoying the bail granted him by the court when the prosecution requested the court to revoke the bail granted him by Justice Binta Nyako.
Meanwhile, Niger Delta elders have urged Buhari to immediately reverse the alleged lopsided appointments and redeployments in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the interest of fairness and justice.
At a meeting in Abuja, held under the auspices of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF), they noted that the Niger Delta region, which produces oil, was neglected in the appointment, an action that grossly violated the Local Content Act.
The Leader of PANDEF and former federal commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark, noted that the refusal by the Federal Government to correct the alleged lopsidedness in the appointments has increased agitations for restructuring.
Clark said: “We cannot continue like this. The country belongs to all of us. This is why everybody is now calling for restructuring. There is no other option but to restructure. I don’t want our boys to go violent. We have worked for peace and peace has returned. So we cannot go to fight, let us restructure so that everyone controls what is produced in his area.”
On those who benefited from the appointments, Clark said: “The list shows that the whole of the south has 19 positions out of the 55 positions and the north, a non-oil producing zone, has 36 positions, which include the very senior positions.
“We challenge the NNPC or whoever has a list that ‘adequately’ distributes these positions to all the zones, to make such available to the public,” he insisted.