Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as well agitators of the Yoruba Nation are no different from terrorists.
Gbajabiamila made the bold statement at plenary on Wednesday amid the rising tension in the call for Nigeria’s separation.
The entire South-East has been on lockdown following the sit-home-order issued by IPOB in their bid to protest separation and demand legal recognition as an independent nation.
Yoruba nation agitators, on their part, on Tuesday started a one million-man freedom march staged at the headquarters of the United Nations, demanding the body’s intervention in their pursuit of a referendum for separation.
Gbajabiamila in his opening remarks while addressing the green chamber upon their resumption back to plenaries after months of recess, said given “time and space,” the separatist movements in the south will drag Nigeria towards the path of destruction.
According to him, the groups are posing new threats to the national security of Nigeria.
Thus, he said the chamber will have to prioritise national security bills to “defeat” enemies of the country.
“Insecurity remains an overwhelming threat to all our nation’s people and a hindrance that further delays the attainment of the critical development objectives necessary to put our country on the path to peaceful prosperity,” he said.
“Thus far, we have rightly focused our national security concerns on the machinations of extremist insurgents who seek to remake our world in the image of their discredited theocracy and bandits who maraud and terrorise whole regions for profit.
“We must now add to these concerns an emerging threat that presents the same clear and present danger. In the South of Nigeria, East and West, miscreants and criminals masquerading as separationist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the state.
“These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the state, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP. Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction.”
He said the government will no longer take “reactionary in our approach” to allow criminal elements to destroy the country.
“This is the time to convene our best efforts to articulate a political, economic, military and policing strategy to address both the manifestations and root causes of this emerging threat,” he said.
“Let nobody be under the impression that there is a political opportunity in exploiting this moment. This is a time for statesmen to act beyond the petty considerations of politics, to do the hard things and achieve greatness.”