A former minister of education under the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Prof Jerry Anthony Agada has warned the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, led by Nnamdi Kanu against claiming Benue as part of the supposed Biafra Republic.
Agada warned Kanu and his fellow agitators to stay off Benue in their own interest.
The former minister urged the agitators to stop misleading Nigerians by immediately removing Benue state from the map of their supposed Biafra.
Kanu had claimed that he rejected Biafra because the Nigerian government failed to add Benue and Rivers to his territory.
Speaking with newsmen in Makurdi on Sunday, Prof Agada, who is Board Chairman, Civil Service Commission, Benue State, maintained that Idoma people in particular and Benue state in general, had nothing in common with the Biafra agitations.
According to him, before the civil war, there was nothing like Biafra and even during the war, no part of Benue or Idoma land was captured by the Igbo soldiers hence the claim was misplaced and misleading.
Prof Agada said, “when the Nigeria soldiers came to Idoma land in 1967, they were stationed at Saint Joseph Primary school Orokam, my home town in Ogbadibo local government area, which is close to the boundary between the then northern region and Eastern region.
“So during crisis, Nigeria troops started pushing up the Igbos in Obolo-afor and Nsukka in the eastern region. Nowhere was captured by eastern troops in Benue which is in the northern region.
“No place was ceded to Igbos at the time, so why should the IPOB mislead the people with the map they are now flaunting claiming Idoma land and Benue is part of them?
“Those of us who stayed in Orokam where the war started, did not feel the impact of Igbo soldiers moving to Idoma areas or heard that Igbo troops captured any part of Idoma communities where IPOB is today laying claim to be part of their territory.
”Until the war ended in 1970, there was no claim that our kingdom then was captured by the then secessionists. The only thing we heard was that B26 airplanes came to drop bomb in Otukpo which was later captured and destroyed by the Nigeria soldiers.
“So IPOB should keep Benue and Idoma region out of their agenda, we have never been part of them in anyway.”
Prof. Agada cautioned the IPOB agitators to leave the people of the area and indeed the entire Benue state out of their Biafra arrangement stressing that “they should not coax people who do not share in their ideology and belief.”