PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has sent South-East members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in his hometown, Daura, Katsina State, to tell their kith and kin to abandon their agitation for Biafra Republic.
Playing host to the about 100 corps members posted to Daura, on Tuesday, in his private residence, he stressed the need for all to work together to build a unified Nigeria.
The president singled out the presence, in Daura, of NYSC members from South-South and South-East and lauded the vision of the administration of General Yakubu Gowon for setting up the scheme in 1973.
He said the scheme had creditably promoted national unity and cohesion by exposing young people to the uniqueness and cultural diversity of Nigeria.
“I asked for those from the other extreme of Nigeria, because I very much appreciate the NYSC scheme and whenever I see General Gowon, I always thank him for that,” he added.
Addressing the South-East corps members specifically, he said: “Tell your colleagues who want Biafra to forget about it.
“As a military commander, I walked from Degem, a border town between the North and the East, to the border between Cameroon and Nigeria.
“I walked on my foot for most of the 30 months we fought the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War, in which no fewer than two million Nigerians were killed.
“We were made by our leaders to go and fight Biafra, not because of money or oil, because oil was not critical factor then, but because of one Nigeria.
“So, if leadership at various levels failed, it was not the fault of the rest of Nigerians who have no quarrel with one another.
“So, please, tell your colleagues that we must be together to build this country. It is big enough for us and potentially big enough in terms of resources.
“Those who work hard will earn a respectable living. I have seen this country, I fought for this country and I will continue to work for the unity of this country.’’
President Buhari called on Nigerian youths to make Nigeria great again through pursuit of knowledge, patriotism and commitment to values that promote national unity.
He pledged his unalloyed commitment to the unity and prosperity of Nigeria.
Buhari urged them to remain focused in life, pursue their dreams and reject those fanning embers of discord and disintegration of Nigeria.
In his remarks, the Corps Liaison Officer in Daura, Mr Egbewumi Adebolu, thanked the president for the honour of receiving them and making their stay in Daura memorable.
He said the youths strongly believed in the programme of the president to reduce unemployment and create jobs for more Nigerians.
Adebolu thanked the president for his personal gifts of cows, bags of rice and cash to corps members in the community for Sallah celebration.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has said it is resolute in its stand for a Biafra Republic.
Speaking during a procession to mark its 17 years anniversary in Onitsha, Anambra North Zonal Leader of MASSOB, Mr Benjamin Omenka, urged members of the group to be patient.
According to him, the present call for restructuring by some segments of the country came about as a result of the fear for Biafra independence by those who have tied the country down.
“Let the whole world know that we are resolute in our stand for a Biafra Republic.
“It is not compulsory that we shall remain one indivisible nation, so they should allow us to go to our Promised Land”, he said, adding that the agitation would remain a peaceful one.
Anambra State police command had, on Tuesday arrested 14 members of MASSOB in Onitsha over alleged illegal procession.
The Assistant Superintendent of Police and the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state, Mrs Nkeiruka Nwode, made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen.
Nwode said the arrest was carried out in different parts of Onitsha during a procession by the group to mark the 17 years anniversary of the body.
The PPRO, who explained that the persons were arrested for illegal procession, noted that no life was lost as at the time of filing report.
However, MASSOB Religious Administrator, Reverend Apostle Ezichukwu, claimed that more than 50 members were arrested, 20 missing and one person was allegedly shot by the police.
Ezichukwu, who said the procession went peacefully, wondered why the police went ahead to arrest its members.
He alleged that the team of security personnel from the Army, Police, Navy and NSCDC was detaining MASSOB members at the Army Barracks, Onitsha, the state CID, Awka and other police stations.