THE Pan Niger-Delta Forum, PANDEF, a coalition of traditional rulers and leaders of ethnic nationalities of the South-South region, yesterday, advised the Federal Government and the rest of the country to listen to the demands of the Biafra agitators in the South-East region.
PANDEF, in a statement by its Co-Chairman, Obong Victor Attah, said: “Biafra is born out of a deep-seated and agonizing feeling of marginalization and discrimination, so as has been advised; let us listen to the Ibos and the Biafra agitators.”
It pointed out that there was no harm in discussing the unity of Nigeria, adding: “We listen to them with clear understanding that Nigeria is better off united and that disintegration is not in anyone’s interest.
“The success recorded by the Biafra sit-at-home call as reported by various news media is a clear indication that all is not well in our country. We in PANDEF find this quite disturbing and, therefore, consider it necessary to issue this statement.”
“We have always had centrifugal and centripetal forces working at variance within the country. The compromise between this forces gave birth to our federal system, which at independence provided for us to be our brothers’ keepers, while at the same time providing enough for each region to develop at its own pace”.
The South-South group said it was convinced that the solution to the challenges that agitate the nation today were contained in the over 600 recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.
It posited: “Restructuring does not, by any stretch of imagination, suggest a breakup of the country. We also acknowledge that restructuring cannot happen overnight or in one fell swoop, but must be diligently embarked upon for our harmonious co-existence.
“The conference report did not suggest abolition of states, but carefully spelt out steps to be taken to restructure our federal system without pain. The wisdom of implementing the recommendations of that conference cannot be overemphasized,” the group added.