A group, Igbo for a Progressive Nigeria (IPAN) has called on people in the South-East to ensure peace reigned in the zone rather than beating drums of war capable of dividing the country.
It said a united Nigeria with equal opportunities to all citizens was preferred to secession, pledging its continued support to a united Nigeria as a second war in Igboland would doom the area.
IPAN president, Lawrence Onuzulike, who stated these in a media chat in Awka, the Anambra state capital said the unity of Nigeria where the Igbo would have a sense of belonging was non-negotiable.
He said IPAN, which started less than two years ago, had been engaging with other Igbo groups to ensure that the Igbo would not go into war again.
He said, “This is our country. We are not like black Americans who are begging to be seen as Americans. This is our country, and we are proud of her. We are happy as a united country, but first we must be sure that all the rights accruing to people in other parts of the country also accrue to us.
“Our interest is how to develop Igbo land; how to galvanise our people to ensure that they bring back their resources for the development of Igbo land. We want an Igboland where all the companies owned by big Igbo businessmen would have their head offices in Igboland, and maintain branches in other places.
“The situation where people maintain head offices in other places and come to Awka road to open a small branch in one room is what we are against.
“First, let the ruling government provide equal opportunity for Igbo people in Nigeria, and second, let our brothers and sisters who are well-to-do make it a matter of policy to establish their businesses in Igbo land. In that way, we will develop our homeland.
By Praise Necherem.