Former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu has declared that the Igbo have the full right to agitate for self-determination but not to kill security operatives.
Speaking to newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Kalu, however, slammed the youth for turning what should be a peaceful protest into a violent one involving killings and destruction of properties.
“Those boys are right, they have a right to demonstrate, but not violent demonstration, not killing soldiers because if I am a Commander-in-Chief, and you kill one of my soldiers, I will kill everybody. You cannot kill soldiers. You cannot kill police. You have a right to say no, we want our own Republic. The United Nations charter gives them the right to ask for self-determination. It is not a right of determination to go and destroy people’s properties, to go and destroy Nigerian Armed Forces, whether it is Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy or Nigerian Police. These are not the rights. They have the right to speak for self-determination. This is the full right,” Vanguard quoted Kalu to have said.
“If I am president, I will set up either traditional rulers and some political leaders to go and ask the boys what they really want, what is really their problem, what can be done to stop them from asking for this. This is how Boko Haram started killing members of Catholic Church, and as a Catholic, I spoke vehemently against it. I told you airport correspondents that they will finish killing the Catholic and will go and start killing everybody and it happened.
“When kidnapping just started, then I was governor, they were kidnapping white people and I spoke out. I said when they finished kidnapping white people and there were no more white man to kidnap, they would start kidnapping us and that is what is happening in the country today.
“So, I will advise the Federal Government. This is a federation, you need to manage the federation. Some people must ask for self-determination. It is the management of the people that matters. President Buhari, as a matter of fact, should set out traditional rulers, set out people, set out securities and intelligence agencies to intervene. They should be more intelligent than policemen or military people carrying guns. They should find a way and tell the boys that what they are doing is not the right thing to do. So, it is left for the Federal Government. This is the right time to nip the agitation in the bud, but not by force. It is a wrong strategy hearing people saying that we will quench it by force. We cannot quench anything by force because it is their right to ask for self-determination.
“But is it the right thing to do in a bigger country like ours? It is only a president that doesn’t know what he wants that will want a section of his country to go. I think negotiation is part of democracy. I have seen your Enugu-Port Harcourt, Aba-Umahia express road that have not been built, I will build it in two years, I have seen your Awka-Onitsha express way that is not built, I will build it in two years, I have seen that your Umuahia-Ohafia to Aruchukuwu to Cross River express way is not built, I will do it. I have seen that your Arondizuogu-Okigwe express way is not done, I will do it. I have seen your Enugu to Makurdi express way is bad, people are dying there every day, which was what I quarreled with the government over it in 2001.
“I said our roads are bad. Federal roads are very bad and they are taking it for granted. Check what I have said ten years ago, they are reccurring today and the government is still playing with it, people are still doing politics with it,” Kalu said.