Njiko Igbo Forum, a subsidiary organization affiliated with the leading Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asserted that the Igbo community in Nigeria remains engaged in an ongoing conflict with the Federal Government.
Rev. Okechukwu Obioha, President of the Forum, conveyed this sentiment through a statement released on Thursday evening.
In his declaration, he emphasized that the gestures by the Federal Government to alleviate the impact of the removal of petrol subsidies will not assuage the concerns of the people in the South-East region.
Obioha, who also holds the role of Convener/Chairman for the South-East Equity Group (SEEP), criticized the successive administrations’ policies as insensitive and discriminatory, which he perceived as a severe affront to the Igbo populace’s collective psyche within the nation.
He pointed out that despite the passage of several years since the civil war, the South-Eastern population continues to face treatment akin to that of a defeated group.
Obioha cited the abandonment of the Eastern rail corridor as evidence that the federal government has not prioritized the integration of the Igbo community into its development strategies.
“There is no equity, justice, and fairness.No amount of the so-called palliative from the Federal Government extended to the people of the South-East zone can assuage or compensate them enough, as long as the Eastern Corridors of the Railways remained recklessly abandoned.
“From the days of Sure-P of the Obasanjo administration to the Buhari-led government, all other rail lines and even new ones, particularly that of the Katsina to Niger (another country), were constructed and made operational, except that of the Eastern Corridors running from Port-Harcourt to Enugu and then Makurdi – Maiduguri,” he said.
He drew attention to the stark contrast between the abandoned Eastern Corridors, which have been reclaimed by vegetation, and the operational rail lines constructed in other parts of the country, implying that such disparities reflect an ongoing conflict between the federal government and the Igbo population.
Obioha emphasized that the situation is deeply demeaning, as the federal government’s actions seem to perpetuate hostilities towards the Igbo people. He posed a question, pondering how else this situation could be interpreted except as a sign that the federal government continues to wage a symbolic war against the South-Eastern Igbo.
Furthermore, Obioha argued that, from the perspective of the average Igbo individual, the struggle for survival persists, indicating that the war-like dynamics persist and the notion of government-provided “palliative” holds little significance to the vanquished Igbo community, viewing themselves as the defeated party.
“How else can this be explained except that the Federal government, by this obnoxious brazen dichotomy, is still at war with the Igbo of the South-East?” He queried.
Obioha added that “the war is still on, and as far as the average Igbo is concerned, the struggle to survive still continues unabated.
“There is nothing like palliative to the Vanquished Nigeria Igbo, but to the Nigeria Victor.”
Obioha’s assertions come at a time when the region is protesting the perceived lack of adequate ministerial representation in the cabinet of the administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While the North-East and South-West regions secured ten and nine ministerial slots, respectively, the South-East was allocated its stipulated five slots.
However, the portfolio distribution, as announced by the Tinubu presidency, revealed that the South-East received four primary ministerial positions and one junior ministerial position.
These appointments include Doris Anite as Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment; Uche Nnaji as Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology; Nkiruka Onyejeocha as Minister of State for Labour and Employment; Uju Kennedy as Minister of Women Affairs; and David Umahi as Minister of Works.