‘Why we set up Radio Biafra in Hausa language’
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has declared that it will instantly end all agitations for an independent state of Biafra if certain standard democratic norms are embraced by the Nigerian government.
The group’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, made the declaration while responding to the question whether the emergence of a president of Igbo extraction in 2019 can end the agitation for Biafra.
He said, “Nothing can make IPOB back down from this divine quest to restore the lost sovereignty of Biafra. Only the will of the people, clearly expressed during a referendum. We hear Nnia Nwodo, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo governors and Abuja-based errand boys, that we ignorantly refer to as politicians or elites, tell us South East and South South people do not want Biafra, which is a lie.
“There is only one way to establish the truth and settle this matter once and for all time. That is referendum. If we lose in a referendum, we stop the agitation for Biafra same day. The will of the people is what must prevail under this and every circumstance.”
On the possibility of coming to the negotiation table with the FG, IPOB maintained that Nigeria is not yet civilised enough to understand what dialogue means.
“Neither are they known for keeping to the terms of any agreement reached. Name one agreement Nigeria entered into that run it’s course. They think we are for settlement, how mistaken they are. We will only consider meeting them through a reliable third party or mediator.”
Powerful continues, “History tells us that all conflicts end up on the conference table. Bearing this in mind, we will be willing to discuss with civilised, sensible parties on how best to speedily facilitate the peaceful dissolution of Nigeria. Many nationalities in the Middle Belt are on the brink of annihilation due to incessant Fulani terrorist attacks. It is a condition that is clearly unsustainable. The best way to go is referendum.”
On the alleged IPOB offensive and violent approach to self determination, IPOB denied and dismissed it as lies and fables peddled by the FG to justify their serial massacre and brutality against IPOB.
Emma Powerful said, “It is very sad and unfortunate that people don’t know the meaning of the phrase ‘violent approach’. Violence doesn’t need dressing up in convoluted grammar because a situation is either violent or it is not. What Fulani people are doing is violent. What the Nigerian Army dominated by Fulani men are doing is violent. Those of you peddling the myth that IPOB preach violence are the same Abuja rented boys and slaves in the mould of Ukpabi Asika. They will do and say anything to please their Hausa Fulani masters in order to hold on to political power and privilege. The same way Britain imposed unwanted corrupt men as Warrant Chiefs across Biafraland during the colonial era is exactly the template the North adopted in the aftermath of the Civil War to dominate, control and subjugate Igboland and the rest of Biafraland. Have you heard of any Emir, Sultan, Governor or politician from the North condemn Fulani herdsmen who are actively killing people on a daily basis? You know the answer to that. Only in Igboland will a washed out, completely useless politician, beholden to Abuja for his dear life, rise to the position of a leader. No other society will accept such anomaly. IPOB is not violent and we don’t intend to pick up arms anytime soon, when we do, the world will know.”
On why IPOB launched an Hausa radio service, Powerful said, “Hausa Service of Radio Nigeria, mind you NOT Radio Biafra, was launched in response to the failed attempt by the Nigerian state security service (DSS) to infiltrate and destroy IPOB from within. The Nigerian Government created a parallel radio station which we have since renamed Radio Buhari International to reflect its true ownership. They proceeded to launch another radio on shortwave frequency with our sacred name. Both stations are based in the US. They named a non existent person the leader of the great IPOB and claimed our leader and founder, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been replaced by this nonentity. It was at this point we decided late last year to launch a Hausa language service to take our unique enlightenment to the oppressed ethnic minorities in the North because no enlightened society can swallow such junk. There is quality information deficit across the North which this Hausa radio service run by IPOB, on Shortwave, will address.”
He explained why they settled for Hausa, instead of any other Nigerian language.
“We chose Hausa language because the majority of those at the receiving end of the falsehood propagated by the cabals in the North are their fellow core Arewa Northerners. Educating the impoverished, down-trodden masses of the North to understand the evil being committed in their name is important -the most important assignment today. We are convinced that mass illiteracy and lack of access to unbiased information is the reason a majority of Hausa Fulani people live and die in abject poverty and ignorance while their ruling class loot and accumulate all the wealth accruing to them. Hausa Service of Radio Nigeria will provide a different perspective in news coverage and analysis that will liberate the masses of the North from centuries old stranglehold of the Fulani ruling class. Put in simple terms, the Fulani hegemonic rule over Indigenous Northern tribes has come to an end with the advent of this Hausa Service radio station,” he said.
Lagos workers get N100m housing subvention
…as Ambode okays Fagba flyover
Lagos State Head of Service, Mrs Folashade Adesoye yesterday said that the state had increased its budgetary provision for Housing loans for its members of staff from N50 million to N100 million with a view to improving workers’ welfare.
Adesoye, who disclosed this at the on-going ministerial briefing, said the Staff Housing Board had so far disbursed loans to about 280 public servants from various MDAs, saying a total of N95, 033, 564 had so far been disbursed to the staff.
She said: ‘’ I am extremely delighted to inform you that the budgetary provision for Housing loan has increased from N50 million to N100 million, laying credence to government’s commitment to staff welfare.
“However, owing to the increasing number of staff and the opening up of new residential areas, there is a conspicuous deficit in the number of buses. However, His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has promised to re-fleet the scheme with state –of – the-art buses.
“In a bid to develop a world class public service where staff have the right attitude, government has initiated issuance of Letters of Commendation to officer identified to have consistently met or exceeded set targets and exhibited exceptional work ethics and diligence in the discharge of their duties.’’
Meanwhile, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had approved construction of a flyover bridge at the Fagba intersection to ease perennial traffic gridlock and reduce travel time within the axis.
The governor approved the construction of the Fagba Flyover Bridge after an inspection of the ongoing construction of Pen Cinema Flyover Bridge, where he observed the need to holistically address the traffic gridlock around Agege-Iju axis to make Pen Cinema Flyover Bridge more effective.
Stop killings or resign, protesters tell Buhari
Hundreds of Catholic Church members yesterday staged a peaceful protest in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, over the horrendous killings in some parts of the country.
They asked President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently embark on measures to stop the killings and restore peace to troubled spots.
The protesters, who gathered at the St. Anne Catholic Church, Ibara, Abeokuta, took to the streets after a requiem mass for the repose of two priests and 17 parishioners killed in Benue State by suspected herdsmen in April.
They were armed with placards bearing inscriptions such as “President Buhari, protect Nigerians or resign,” “Human life is sacred,” “Killing is a sin,” “We want peace in Nigeria,” and “Enough is enough, government be responsible.”
Speaking with reporters after the mass, the Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Most Rev. Peter Odetoyinbo, said the Federal Government must act fast and curb wanton bloodshed in the country.
“Protection of lives is so important in the country. We must protect lives.”
End health workers’ strike now
The game being played by the Federal Government and health workers under the auspices of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) is dangerous to the health of Nigerians and the economic wellbeing of the Nigerian nation.
On April 17, JOHESU called out its members, which include the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutes (SSAUTHRIA), National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Medical and Health Workers Union (NHWU) and the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Workers (NUAHP), on a nationwide strike to force the hands of the Federal Government to accede to its requests.
JOHESU’s demands include the implementation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), the payment of specialist allowances to deserving health professionals, payment of arrears of the skipping of CONHESS 10, increase of retirement age of health workers from 60 to 65 years and the review of the composition of the Boards of Federal Health Institutions (FHIs), as well as the abolition of the position of Deputy Chairman Medical Advisory Committee (DCMAC), among others.
But the Federal Government, from all indications, is not ready to accede to the striking workers’ demands.
In one of his reactions to the strike, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said JOHESU’s demand to be on the same pay level with doctors was not realistic. Adewole, said instead, salaries and wages of the health workers would be adjusted.
While the altercation between the union and the Federal Government is going on, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) threw its hat in the ring.
The association threatened to embark on strike if the Federal Government acceded to JOHESU’s demands. Both the F e d e r a l G ov e r n – ment and the NMA seem to be on the same page in terms of their stand on the JOH E S U ’ s strike. But while the Federal G ov e r n – ment and the medical pract i t i o n e r s have taken healthcare to the chess b o a r d , many people, the majority being the poor, are paying the price.
While patients have been sent away from public health facilities, those who could afford to pay have gone to seek medical attention in private hospitals.
But those who could not pay have resigned to fate. It may be difficult to get the number of those who might have died because of lack of data in Nigeria. But certainly, a lot would have needlessly lost the battle to stay alive, albeit due to what could be termed minor health challenges, because of the ongoing strike. The strike has claimed lives. We sympathise with the 19 members of JOHESU who were injured in an accident on the Benin-Auchi Road on Saturday.
About 40 health workers, said to be staff of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) chapter of the union, were on their way to a function in line with the strike in Auchi, when the accident occurred. An engineer with an information technology firm reportedly lost his life.
The man, a victim of armed robbery, was reportedly rejected at a private hospital because there was no police report, but there were no health workers to attend to him at the government-owned health facility he was later taken to.
So the breadwinner of a family lost his life because of the strike. Several others are dying but their deaths are probably not reported. Unfortunately, the strike came when the President also had to take a medical trip to the United Kingdom. But apart from the leaders, how many Nigerians could afford to go outside the country for medical attention?
That probably explains why the leaders may not be keen in addressing the demands of the striking health workers.
While we cannot deny workers, particularly those in the health sector, the right to take steps to seek redress to their perceived short-change in the hands of their employers, going on strike at the slightest opportunity does nobody no good. In other climes, strikes have gone out of fashion. We encourage workers’ unions in Nigeria to devise new but proactive means to get employers to accede to their demands.
It is also pertinent to note that JOHESU was yet to comply with the directive by the National Industrial Court (NIC), Abuja, which, last Thursday, ordered the union to suspend its strike and resume duties within 24 hours.
Justice Babatunde Adejumo, who is president of NIC, gave the order after listening to the submissions of Mr. Okere Nnamdi in an ex-parte motion filed by a non-governmental organisation, Incorporated Trustees of Kingdom Human Rights Foundation International.
Adejumo ordered the Ministers of Health, Labour and Employment, among others, to immediately set up a committee to address issues raised by labour.
The judge ordered that the parties should arrive at an acceptable and amicable solution in the interest of Nigerians who are bearing the brunt of the strike action. We also implore the Federal Government to immediately find a lasting solution to the incessant strikes in the health sector.
This is necessary in order to safe many more souls which will be lost to the strike. A failed nation is it which cannot provide for the economic and health needs of its citizens.
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