The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are opposing the decision to name the second River Niger Bridge after President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement issued on Monday by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, the organization stated that it opposes naming the bridge after Buhari “because he came to power and completely sidelined its people.”
The organization said that under Buhari’s watch, security personnel murdered South-East youths with reckless abandon.
According to IPOB, the bridge should be named after “Achuzie Bridge” or any other distinguished Igbo patriot, and that no Igboman has been named after any major achievement in the North.
The group said, “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 group also debunked the allegation by the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, that IPOB disturbed the construction of the second Niger Bridge.
It said, “This is another lie from the pit of hell. We want to challenge Fashola to substantiate his claims. Did IPOB in any way physically 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 if not for IPOB that has ensured security in the 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.”
It also stated that “sycophants” in the Buhari administration derive joy in calling IPOB names to deceive the President.
The statement read in part, “South East has more credible names and more important persons who the Federal Government can name the second Niger bridge after. We have a galaxy of accomplished Africans like Chief Chinua Achebe, Chu Okongwu, Cyprain Ekwensi, Alexander Ekwueme, Chief Michael Okpara, Dr. Akanu Ibiam, Mbonu Ojike, Chief Kenneth Dike, Eni Njoku, Dora Akunyili, Dr Sam Mbakwe, Achuzie, Phillips Efiong and the living legend Chief Amaechi Mbazuruike
“All these names mentioned above are eminently qualified for second Niger Bridge to be named after them. The Second Niger Bridge was awarded in 1979 by the Shehu Shagari regime and since then, no administration found it worthy to execute it but IPOB agitation for self-determination pushed this APC administration to reluctantly embark on its construction using the funds past Nigerian politicians looted and starched away in Europe.
“We are aware of the condition given by a certain European country that they will only release stolen funds starched away in their country if the funds will be channeled towards the construction of the Second Niger Bridge. This is what compelled the Nigerian government to embark on the Bridge project not out of love for the Igbo people of Biafra. We reject naming the bridge after Buhari when we have other better names.”