The Nigerian playwright and lawyer, Fred Agbeyegbe has said that there is no difference between the quest for Biafra propagated by the Igbo people and the quest for resources control which is championed by the people of the Niger Delta as both have suffered in the country.
Agbeyegbe said this during the in his opening remarks during the 17th edition of the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) in honour of Ken Saro Wiwa at Freedom Park in Lagos on Friday, November 13.
The octogenarian said that Saro Wiwa who was hanged by the military government of General Sani Abacha in 1995 was concerned about the degradation of the Niger Delta land and died fighting for that cause.
He said that the quest for an independent state of Biafra championed by some Igbo people was due to the marginalisation and treatment from the Yoruba and Hausa people. He quoted a statement attributed to the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in which he said that “the northern bourgeoisie and the Yoruba bourgeoisie have conspired to keep the Igbo out of the scheme of things. They have been defeated in war, rendered paupers by monetary policy fiat, their properties declared abandoned and confiscated, kept out of strategic public sector appointments, and denied of public services. The rest of the country forced them to remain in Nigeria and has continued to deny them equity.”
Agbeyegbe said that the treatment the Igbo have received from Nigeria is similar to the way the people of the oil rich Niger Delta has been denied the right to control their resources.
The playwright proposed that each ethnic nationality must control its resources, grow at its own pace, speak for itself and decide whether they still want to remain in Nigeria or not.