From PAUL OSUYI, Asaba

Supreme Council of Elders of the secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has advocated the abrogation of the present states and local government structure.

The elders rather called for zonal/regional arrangement as also demanded by Niger Delta, Yoruba and Middle Belt groups, which the elders said, makes for proper indigenous identification, as existed and reflected in the 1960 Independence Constitution.

They said the restructuring will involve a referendum organized and conducted under the watch of the United Nations to allow for the rights of ethnic nationalities and identify the true demographic structure of the country.

The call for regional structure was one of the 13-point communiqué issued at the end of the council’s retreat which held Uturu in Abia State.

The communiqué which was made available to Saturday Sun in Asaba, Delta State was signed by the chairman of IPOB Council of Elders, Chief Joseph Achuzia and secretary, Prof. Chidi Osuagwu.

According to the communiqué, the elders want the “suspension of the present Military Ordinance foisted upon the totality of the people of this country in place of the Constitution put in place in 1963 at the assumption of a Republican status. That Constitution was suspended by the military. We now want that Constitution reinstated as a first step towards further discussions.”

While demanding the unconditional release of Biafra self determination persons allegedly being detained as prisoners of conscience, they called for the devolution of the present security arrangement such that security issues should be left in the hands of ethnic groups and communities.

“The restructuring of the present security arrangement vesting power on central authority is unacceptable. It should henceforth devolve on regions to take responsibility of the security and growth of their people to avoid over concentration of power on one ethnic group taking over power at the centre as is now the case.

“We demand the dismantling of the military road blocks as this makes travelling hazardous, inconveniencing in the South-East and South-South regions,” it stated.

It added that all “laws skewed against the Middle Belt and all southerners based on religious preferences in a secular state like ours must be abrogated forthwith, and any attack on any individual or group must be deemed as an attack against us.

“The land use decree that uprooted indigenous people from their lands for the expropriation of others must be abrogated immediately.

“We demand full compensation for the poverty and loss of lives the Federal Government imposed on the people since the Nigerian/Biafra war.

“We demand that Nigeria should obey the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS protocols on human and people’s rights to which they are signatories.”