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Avoid Heavy-handed Action Against Biafra, Says Crisis Group

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• Eze Ndigbo wants more FG presence in S’East
The Federal Government should avoid heavy-handed actions but respond comprehensively to the agitation by pro-Biafra groups, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has said.

In an interview with its Senior Analyst, Nnamdi Obasi, the global conflict-prevention think-tank based in Brussels, Belgium, outlined several measures that should be taken to prevent further escalation of the protests.

The Crisis Group urges the Federal Government to “tone down threats of crushing the agitation,” warning that “heavy-handed response could earn the agitators wider local sympathy, radicalise their followers and trigger more desperate actions.”
Instead, it says the government should “encourage governors, federal legislators and other south-eastern leaders to more actively persuade protesters to channel their grievances and demands through constitutional avenues”.

The group also urges President Muhammadu Buhari to respond to the agitators’ grievances and demands by re-assuring all regions equitable attention and distribution of resources throughout his presidency.

Meanwhile, President of the Association of Eze Ndigbo in Diaspora, Eze Nwabueze Ohazulike, has blamed long-term neglect of the South East by the Federal Government as reason behind recent protest for the creation of a sovereign Biafra state.

In a statement, Ohazulike, who is also the Eze Ndigbo of Lagos, said the Southeast has been neglected and marginalised since independence, adding that the agitators are reacting to unfair distribution of the country’s resources, which culminated in the underdevelopment of the region.

According to him, “Nobody cares about the Southeast zone; we have the highest number of unemployed youths. We have many bad roads, which is as a result of erosion that has crippled the region. Some communities have been cut off due to flooding, erosion and other natural causes. Our people cannot go to the farm again because their land is no longer safe.”


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