From Fred Itua, Abuja
There was confusion yesterday as women from the 19 Northern states stormed Abuja and dared secession agitators in the Southeast to either stand for a united Nigeria or leave the country in peace.
The women who were over 200 and came in hired commercial buses held a protest at the Unity Fountain, which has since been shut to any anti-government protests, making many to believe that their action was sponsored.
Over 15 security agents comprising the police, Department of State Services, among others, were on ground to give them security cover while the protest lasted.
Coordinator, Amalgamation of Northern Women Associations in Nigeria, Hajia Hadiza Adamu, who addressed newsmen on behalf of the protesters, called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the leadership of the National Assembly, to call for a referendum in the country.
She said that any group or nationality desirous of seceding, should be allowed to exercise their human rights.
She, therefore, pointed out the Southeast, insisting that they must decide where to stand to avoid another civil war
Her words: “We therefore, unanimously call on President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader and father of the country and the leadership of the National Assembly, President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawal, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila to immediately call for a referendum in the country, let people choose to live in peace in Nigeria or leave, any other group or nationality that wants to secede, exercise their rights of self-determination like the Southeast has been agitated for decades to be allowed to leave Nigeria peacefully, without resorting to a second civil war.
“Today, the Igbo nation has turned the entire Southeast to almost a war zone, northerners irrespective of their tribes are no longer safe, states’ infrastructure are no longer safe, service personnel from police to army are not safe, INEC offices and other symbols of democracy in the country are being destroyed on daily basis, our husbands that go to do business in Southeast no longer return home safe, our political leaders who travel to the Southeast on national assignments are assassinated in broad daylight.
“Commuters in the Southeast are often forced out of vehicles to be profiled and if they are northerners, they are usually executed there and then. It is in the light of the above that we are saying enough is enough and let Mr President allow for a referendum that will make Igbo realize their long-term dream of being a Biafra nation. No more killing of northerners, no more killing of police officers, no more profiling of northerners and attacking their businesses. Let Igbo have their independent nation away from the rest of Nigeria.”
But incidentally, there is no provision for a referendum in the 1999 Constitution, as amended just as in the ongoing Constitution review exercise, there is no accommodation for a referendum.