Biafra referendum: Yoruba, Efik nations join suit

From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Agitation for the Biafra referendum yesterday, gathered steam, as the Yoruba and Efik nations filed an application to be part of the suit.

Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), had in June 2021, sued the National Assembly, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, demanding the defendants to conduct a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra agitators.

However, the case was adjourned to January 20, 2022, after Justice Inyang Ekwo could not sit due to another official assignment.

While addressing newsmen, in Abuja, Counsel to CNG, Saffiyanu Gambo Idris, told newsmen that the case had been adjourned again, to March 14, 2022 because Justice Ekwo was absent.

“Since the last adjournment, the matter was adjourned to today for continuation for motion as they are people that have filed application to join the suit.

“We came here for the applications but it happened that the Judge is also not sitting today.

“But in between the time, there is a particular group, Ijaw group that have filed application for joinder in the matter. Now the matter is adjourned to the 14 of March, 2022,” he said.

Speaking on his decision to join the suit, Counsel to the Yoruba Nation, Timilehin Albert Odunwo, said, “we now deem it fit to join this suit on the ground that not only the Igbo that is interested in leaving this contraption called Nigeria, the Yoruba nation is also interested.

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“Therefore, any other call for referendum should cut across board of all tribes. Let every tribe have the right to determine whether to live in the country or to move out.

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“As you know, self determination is a very sacrosanct right of every citizen and tribe as it is recognized by the international community.

“Therefore, it is incumbent on the National Assembly, if our application is granted that let everybody decide whether to stay or leave. You cannot force an unwilling tribe on a willing nation. It will not work.”

Also, Lead Counsel to Old Calabar Province which is made up of Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, Sunday Uko Afiko said, “we do not want to sit at home while they barb our hair in our absence. So, we came all the way from Uyo to be part of this matter.

“But it is quite unfortunate that the court is not sitting. We hope that the next adjourn date which is 14th of March that the court would sit, we move our motion and be part of this case which has to decide the fate of everybody. We are not opposing the application.”

He continued, “We are saying that it should not just be the South Eastern states that should leave; everybody should be given the opportunity to decide whether they want to be part of Nigeria or not.

“We want to also be given the opportunity to decide our fate. Let there be a national referendum for everybody to vote.”

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