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General News of Wednesday, 11 January 2023


2023: What I’ll to do with Biafra agitation, banditry if elected – Sowore

Omoyele Sowore Omoyele Sowore

The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, has said he would adopt “selective approaches” to address security challenges and concerns in various parts of Nigeria.

Mr Sowore spoke when he appeared as a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, Tuesday.

The outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is leading the agitation for an independent state of Biafra which it wants carved out from the South-east and some parts of South-south Nigeria.

IPOB and similar pro-Biafra groups have been linked to the unrest in the two regions.

Niger Delta militants have been accused of being behind recurring attacks on crude oil pipelines in the South-south.

In the North-West and some parts of the northeast, bandits have been on rampage – abducting, robbing and killing several residents in the two regions.

Similarly, a group known as Ilana Omo Oodua has been agitating for an independent Yoruba nation in the South-west. One person was killed, on Monday, when the group clashed with some security agencies in Lagos State.

Mr Sowore said, if elected Nigeria’s president in 2023, he would evolve different approaches that will address such “peculiar security challenges and concerns” across the country.

“As the president of Nigeria, I will look at all these areas and bring out what will fit their own peculiar security challenges. For the South-east (Biafra agitation), it will be dialogue. For the bandits, it will be stick (force). For the militants, it will be further dialogue and how to fix their environments and issues making these militants come together,” he said.

Mr Sowore said Nigeria has been battling security challenges because of injustice meted out to some regions of the country.

“If you had done justice to the South-east after the civil war, for instance, nobody will be agitating for Biafra,” he said.

The AAC candidate said that the lack of socio-economic justice in Nigeria which has resulted in multidimensional poverty was responsible for the “dislocations” being witnessed in the country.

“Mostly importantly, without solving the socio-economic problems of our people, we can’t get the kind of security that we need.”

He suggested that the vandalisation of crude oil pipelines and crude oil theft by suspected militants in the south-south region were responsible for the declining oil production in the country.

The federal government in August awarded a pipeline surveillance contract reportedly worth N48 billion per year (N4 billion per month) to Government Ekpemupolo, who is popularly known as Tompolo, to check massive oil theft in the region.

But Mr Sowore criticised the initiative, arguing that there was no country that ceded the security of her oil pipelines to “an individual” and still claim to be a nation.

“Nobody takes us seriously when they wake up one day and hear that we just gave a contract to a guy to take care of our territorial waters,” he stated.