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Pro-Biafra Agitators Have No Mandate To Speak For Igbos – Foreign Affairs Minister



​What do you make of the position of all Progressives Congress, APC, governors on Nigeria’s economic crisis?

The state governors could not have said that the APC is responsible for the economic problems. What they said was that we have to accept responsibility. In other words, we are there now, whatever we find on the ground we have to be responsible for it.

That is a different thing from saying we are responsible for the situation because we cannot be responsible for creating something we did not preside over.

On Biafra: I was in Austria and was addressing Nigerians in Vienna and some young Igbo boys came and disrupted the meeting and even broke some windows at the embassy. I was speaking on the Ahiara Declaration, which gave a mandate for Ojukwu to declare a state of Biafra.

Mandate for declaration of Biafra

Consequent on certain events that had happened, including the Aburi Agreement and they believe it was not compliable. Okpara was there and Ojukwu was the military head of state at that time, so there was legitimacy. But now, they are saying we should create Biafra and there is a grievance that some people have been detained.

The question that is being asked by Igbo leaders in Nigeria is where did the mandate for today’s calls for the declaration of Biafra come from? When you make a demand, it has to be based on some mandate because we are operating a democracy. You saw in the United Kingdom, the Scottish people said they wanted an independent state. There was a mandate because the people had given the Scottish Party the mandate to demand independence.

They had a referendum and the people voted on the matter. So the referendum took place because the elected government under David Cameron agreed to that referendum. So what we are saying, and what Mr. President said in the case of Biafra is look, that’s okay, the government can decide to hold a referendum and let it be decided democratically.

A lot of the present agitators were not born between 1967 and 1970. War is the worst thing you can ever have. A war was fought here and it was something we never want to see again. Let us follow a constitutional mechanism, if that is what the people want, let them give a mandate through a democratic process. It doesn’t serve any purpose to result in militancy. The President is not saying he is against it ab initio. When there were three regions, the Eastern, Western and Northern regions and there was a push for the creation of the Mid-Western region.

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Constitutional procedure

It was under Action Group at that time, it was done democratically and constitutionally in the parliament and the Mid-Western region was created. So everybody should calm down and just follow constitutional procedure.

Igbo Leaders

The so-called leaders, don’t know who gave them the mandate to speak for the Igbo. I have spoken to a number of Igbo leaders and they said they even want to come out to make statements on the people agitating for Biafra. People can agitate for what they want but they cannot claim to speak for the Igbo. Who gave them the mandate? In what capacity are they speaking? Look at the Scottish people, they are saying that the UK has withdrawn from the European Union but they would stay in the European Union.

What plan does the Federal Government have to attract foreign investors to Nigeria?

The challenge of democracy is that the cycle is short. So when you come into office there will be sacrifices you have to make. A lot of governments will find it difficult to impose those harsh or difficult decisions because they are looking at the next election. And this is the big challenge countries face to really take off economically.

What Mr. President wants to do is to attract direct foreign investments and assure potential investors that Nigeria is ready for business. People don’t want to invest in any country where there is widespread corruption and lack of transparency.

Is it true that Nigeria has taken a position to support the Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton in the US Presidential Election?

On the Issue of President Clinton, I was really addressing the women in the party to encourage them. I told them that APC is a party that will empower women and that it is not only in Nigeria that the empowerment of women is visibly manifesting.

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I also told them to emulate Clinton, who is likely to emerge as president of the most powerful country in the world.

Why did President Buhari go to the UN to make a case for Palestine liberation when he is being accused of suppressing self-determination groups in Nigeria?

In 1945 after the Second World War, the European Jews lost over six million people and the conscience of the western world was pricked by that and there had been a Zionist movement for some time before that, trying to establish a homeland for the Jews preferably in their biblical and historical land.

The UN then took a decision because the native Palestinians had Arabs living in Palestine at that time. It was a British Mandate territory given to the British, taken from the Ottoman, the Turks. So the UN adopted a two-state solution where a part of Palestine should be given to the Jews for the creation of the State of Israel and the other part or half should be given to the Palestinians for the creation of a Palestinian State. It was the United Nations’ decision that Jerusalem should be divided, West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem, one a capital for Israel and the other a capital for Palestine.

United Nations’ decision

The Palestine did not accept that solution because as far as they are concerned the land of Palestine belongs to them and later the Israelis carried out a preemptive strike against Arab countries and they captured the whole of Palestine and since then there has been the agitation. There was a United Nations resolution that says Israel was occupying that portion illegally.

It was an international illegality and that they should leave and till today Israel is still there. So, Mr. President was saying that international law must be respected because there was a decision on the Palestinian issue. That is what he was addressing. He said that the Palestinians have to be given their state as agreed by the United Nations.

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