From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has responded to the allegation made by Minister of Works Raji Fashola claiming that the separatist group was responsible for the delay in completion of the second Niger bridge.
A statement on Tuesday to reporters by the group’s spokesperson Emma Powerful noted that IPOB should be commended for keeping the project safe from hoodlums who would hamper its progress.
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Powerful argued that if the project were to have been sited in the north, Boko Haram terrorists would have destroyed it.
The group also rejected the proposal of the Second Niger bridge being named after President Muhammadu Buhari, describing such a proposal as laughable. It said would prefer such Igbo names as the late Sam Mbakwe, Mbazuluike Amaechi, Dora Akunyili, Achuzie, or Chinua Achebe, among others, to be considered.
‘We wish to restate our position on this and reject naming the second Niger bridge after the name of a Fulani man who came to power and completely sidelined our people. Under his watch, our youths have been slaughtered by security agents with reckless abandon. Under his watch, terrorists masquerading as Fulani herdsmen have invaded our communities killing innocent men and women after destroying our farms with their cows,’ the statement read.
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‘These jihadists have raped our mothers and sisters and spread insecurity across our land. How can a man who supervised all these pains on our people be rewarded with immortalising his name among us?
‘IPOB is vehemently opposed to naming the Second Niger Bridge after Buhari. The Bridge should rather be called ACHUZIE BRIDGE or other accomplished Igbo Patriots. No Igboman has been named after any big project in the North.
‘Again, we want to debunk the allegation by Fashola that IPOB disturbed the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge. This is another lie from the pit of hell. We want to challenge Fashola to substantiate his claims. Did IPOB in any way physical interfere with the construction of the bridge by either directly or indirectly hindering any worker either foreign or local handling the project? Fashola should know that we don’t have his time. He should face his job and not dare us because he is too little to dance to our music.
‘Fashola and his co-travellers should know that if not for IPOB that has ensured security in South East, the workers of Julius Berger would have run away from the site a long time ago. If the second Niger Bridge is being done in the North, Boko Haram, Ansaru, ISWAP and the pampered bandits would have chased them away. That shows them that South East is more peaceful than the North,’ Powerful stated.