BY MAIRIGA Juliana, Minna
Coalition of ethnic nationalities in Niger state, under the aegis of Niger State Intertribal Movement (NIM) has made a case for an all-inclusive government as a way of ending agitations for self-actualization by some ethnic groups in Nigeria.
The group has equally disassociated itself from the Nnamdi Kanu led secessionist movement, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), describing it as, ‘just trying to exploit the feelings of some misinformed easterners that they are being marginalized by the central government’.
Chairman of the group, Chief Godswill George Egeonu made the declaration during an enlarged meeting of all ethnic groups in Niger state which took place at Hydro Hotels, Minna the state capital.
“The claims are far from the truth, because all activities of government are governed by law, and under the law, it is not possible to marginalize any region in terms of resource allocation or political office sharing”, the group pointed out.
Egeone in his opening remark said, “even if such claims are true, we are advising the agitators to follow due process by channeling their grievances through their elected representatives in the legislature at various levels for solution and not to resort to violent agitation and threats to national unity”.
The group which pledged unalloyed support to the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration is however calling on the federal government to evolve ways of ending all agitations by addressing issues raised by the various groups, particularly that of the IPOB for peace to reign.
In a remark, the Chairman Eze Ndi Igbo in the 19 northern states, Eze Pampas Ngozi Wahiwe, traced possible cause of agitations to discrimination along tribal, political and religious inclinations which according to him needs to be ‘cautiously’ handled.
Eze Wahiwe said, “Nigeria can never be said to be one when there is glaring discrimination along; tribal, religion, class and regional considerations. Every Nigerian citizen should be treated equally when it comes to social benefits and distribution of dividends of democracy”.
The traditional ruler who said the Igbo people in Niger state are at home and is not in any way in fear of attacks however appealed to the Niger state government to accord equal rights and opportunities to all citizenry.
He said, “some of us have spent all our productive years here in Niger state, some of us were born here, how can you be telling somebody who was born here, doing business here and have been paying tax that he or she is not an indigene when it comes to accruable benefits”.
Other contributors to the gathering, includes the factional leader of Yoruba ethnic group in the state, Oba Kamaldeen Lawal Ijaiye and the NIM women leader, Mrs. Patricia Jibrin. In their respective submissions, they said they are not happy that they are being sidelined politically after massively voting for the All Progressive Congress (APC).
While calling for equal representation in the state, the group said, “we pay our taxes, we campaigned and voted for APC but after the election we are not carried along by way of political appointments. Our children are being discriminated against during admission into universities”.
Governor Abubarkar Sani Bello who was represented by his Special Adviser (Political) Solomon Nyaze said Niger state is and will always be home to all law abiding Nigerians irrespective of tribal or religious inclinations.