The Itsekiri people in oil rich Delta state have disowned the agitation for Biafra nation and warned against the inclusion of their land in the proposed secessionists’ map.
As declared in 1970 by the then war lord of Biafra, Gen. Phillip Effiong, the Itsekiri people said that Biafra remains dead as declared.
“As Major General Phillip Effiong said on 14th January, 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.’’
Mr. Edward Ekpoko and Mr. A.S. Mene, representing Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT), said the ethnic group was in support of the the unity of Nigeria.
In a statement on Friday, the Itsekiri leaders berated the Igbos for mapping Itsekiri territory into the proposed Biafra.
“Itsekiri 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 the 9th of August, 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.’’
They said that ethnic groups could always seat and dialogue on their differences.
“While we condemn the ultimatum given by some Arewa youths to the Igbo to quit the North, we commend the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Northern Governors Forum especially Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State for their bold steps in condemning the youths.”
The Itsekiri leaders also called on Igbo elders to bring the agitators to order, saying.
“To call the Igbo youths who have been using Biafra to destabilize the nation to order.
“Perhaps if the Igbo elders did what Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern elders are doing, this tension would have been avoided.”