Igala wants Middle Belt 'excised' from Northern Nigeria – New Telegraph Newspaper
…demands constitutional amendments to halt ethnic agitations
The Igala ethnic group has expressed displeasure over the current political arrangement in the country and called for excision of the North-Central from the North as a catalyst for development.
The group urged the people of North-Central to evolve a new political identity and become a new political force that is comparable with that of the North-East, North- West, South-East, South -West or South-South respectively and manifest this in all social, political and economic discussions in Nigeria.
It also deplored the situation where the Igala and other minority ethnic groups have been subsumed under the North-Central geopolitical zone, adding that the arrangement was unacceptable because “our voice is not audible but can only be taken for granted” in the political equation of the country.
It equally tasked the National Assembly to review the 1999 Constitution to address growing agitations for self-determination by some major ethnic groups in Nigeria, warning that activities of the separatist groups had become a threat to the territorial integrity of the country.
Speaking at the 2nd Pan Igala Summit organized by the Igala Strategy Team (IST) in collaboration with the Igala Cultural and Development Association to brainstorm on contemporary socioeconomic and political challenges facing Nigeria, the group said “the current practice which divides Nigeria into six geo- political zones based on the convenience of politicians and selfish leaders is fraudulent and must be reviewed or discarded if we must move forward.
“In this structure, we have North-East, North-West, North-Central, South-East, South-West and South-South but there is no centre.
The centre is made an off-shot of the North; that is why all the states in the central part of Nigeria are regarded as part of the North! What a fraudulent contraption?’
“In nature and in any geographical arrangement, everything begins from the centre and all other sections take their bearings from there, and where there is no centre to hold that entity collapses.
But in the current Nigerian political arrangement the centre is made a branch of a wing, so Central Nigeria is currently referred to as Middle Belt or North- Central. “We reject this fraud and call on all governments and ethnic groups within the Centre of Nigeria who are currently referred to as Middle Belt or North-Central, to do so.
We also call on all Nigerians who believe in justice, equity and fair-play to regard us as Central Nigeria because a centre cannot be derived from a wing, “he said.
The Chairman of the Summit, David Akoh, lamented that in recent times some groups from major ethnic groups in Nigeria have launched agitations to desert Nigeria and establish ethnic nations due to the current conflicts in the country. Akoh condemned the trend where some major ethno political blocks have been fighting hard to dismantle Nigeria to constitute separate nations without considering the consequences on other Nigerians.
In a keynote address delivered at the summit, Akoh said that though every ethnic group, no matter their population, was capable of carving out a nation if circumstances so compel them, the Igala ethnic group believes in the Nigerian experiment and will remain here either alone or with any ethnic group or groups that believe in the same.
Akoh charged the federal lawmakers to review the Constitution to address any genuine causes of conflicts which the major ethnic groups are using as an excuse for threatening the integrity of the country.
He also advised the major ethnic groups involved in the said agitations to use their numerical strength, power and intellect to lead other Nigerians in finding innovative approaches to the conflicts plaguing the country.
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