Count South-South Region out of Biafra – Clark

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Elder statesman and foremost Ijaw leader, Mr. Edwin Clark, has ruled out the incorporation of the south-south region into the Republic of Biafra, whenever it materialises.

Speaking with BBC Pidgin on Friday, Clark said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was wrong by including the region as part of Biafra.

“How can Delta be part of Biafra? In what way? Is Biafra older than or bigger than Delta?” he asked.

“How can Rivers State or Akwa Ibom become part of Biafra? They are dreaming thinking about the eastern region of those days.

“They are very unrealistic boys. To me, IPOB is not pursuing the right thing.

“When this war was fought, I told the IPOB leader he was not born at the time. I’ve never met him, but I have challenged him and he has also challenged me that I was the slave of the north — that was how he branded me.

“I told him he has a good fight, that the people of the east are being neglected. They have only five states, whereas other regions have six. One, in fact, has seven. Based on what? Nobody knows.

“For every appointment that is being made in this country, the Igbo are shortchanged. If they are distributing universities per state, they will have five. South-south and south-west will have six, north-west will have seven, but the Igbos formed the third leg of this country when it was created.

“So, they have a good complaint, but not the way they are going about it.”

He also stated that the south-south region had been neglected and made poor despite being the major producer of crude oil in the country.

He said only members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) benefit from crude oil revenue.

He expressed his support for southern governors who had kicked against the allocation of 3 percent operating expenditure of oil firms to host communities, and rejected the proposed 30 percent of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) profit for the exploration of oil and gas in the basins.

He described the provision and allocation of 30 per cent of profits in the PIB for further frontier oil exploration in the north as “satanic and unjust”.

“I support their decision. Even when they wanted five percent, I disagreed with them. We want 10 percent. We want to be part of the oil industry. The northerners have all the oil blocks; they don’t produce any oil,” he said.

“For instance, in 2005, when we had the same problem at the political conference held in Abuja, this same issue came up. We produced a paper at that conference and one of it was to show who are the people benefitting from the oil without contributing a kobo to the economy by the form of oil producer.

“We discovered that north-central takes about N48 billion yearly without contributing anything to the federation account apart from what is produced. We are talking about oil and gas. North-west took about N49 billion; north-east, N45 billion; south-west took about N49 billion. They contribute like less than four percent in Ondo. Then the south-east, between Igbo and Abia, contributed like 2.5 per cent at that time and got about N25 billion.

“Where are the south-south? We got N140 billion and how much did we contribute? More than 91.5 per cent to the coffers, yet, today we are the poorest. Have you ever seen where wealth is produced in your backyard and you are the poorest?

“We are the most neglected. Those who benefit from the oil come from other areas. The oil passes through my backyard, but if I want to benefit from it, I go to meet President Muhammadu Buhari ‘can I benefit from this oil?’ He will say ‘yes, provided you are an APC member’ ” he said.

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