By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB( has vehemently opposed the naming of the second Niger Bridge in the commercial city of Onitsha after President Muhammadu Buhari, insisting there are better names to be picked from in the South-East.
The group suggested naming it ACHUZIE BRIDGE or after an accomplished Igbo patriots, saying that no Igboman has been named after any big project in the North.
According to IPOB, South East has more credible names and a galaxy of accomplished individuals which include, the author of Things Fall Apart, late Chief Chinua Achebe, late Chu Okongwu, a renowned economist, late Cyprain Ekwensi, late Alexander Ekwueme former Vice President of Nigeria and late Chief Michael Okpara.
Others are, former Premier of Eastern Region, late Dr. Akanu Ibiam, late Mbonu Ojike, late Chief Kenneth Dike, the first Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, late Professor Eni Njoku, the first Vice Chancellor of University of Lagos, late Dora Akunyili, late Dee Sam Mbakwe, late Achuzie, late Phillips Efiong and the living legend, Chief Amaechi Mbazuruike.
IPOB stressed that all the names mentioned are eminently qualified for second Niger Bridge to be named after.
The group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful said, “We wish to restate our position on this and reject naming the second Niger Bridge after the name of a Fulani man who came to power and completely sidelined our people.
“Under his watch, our youth have been slaughtered by security agents with reckless abandon. Under his watch, terrorists masquerading as Fulani herdsmen have invaded our communities killing innocent men and women after destroying our farms with their cows.
“These jihadists have raped our mothers and sisters, and spread insecurity across our land. How can a man who supervised all these pains on our people be rewarded with immortalising his name amongst us.”
The group debunked the allegation by Fashola that IPOB disturbed the construction of second Niger Bridge, describing it as “another lie from the pit of hell”.
While challenging Fashola to substantiate his claims, IPOB wondered if it in any way physically interfered with the construction of the bridge by either directly or indirectly hindering any worker either foreign or local handling the project.
It called on Fashola to face his job and not dare it, adding, “You are too little to dance to our music.
“Second Niger Bridge was awarded since 1979 by Shehu Shagari’s regime and since then, no administration found it worthy to execute it, but IPOB’s 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.
“We equally understand that all these sycophants in Buhari administration derive joy in calling IPOB names to deceive Buhari. We are not perturbed because they would end up in shame.
“We want to let them know that IPOB knows what is good for our people and we must continue going for what is good for our people.
“Fashola and his co-travellers should know that if not IPOB that has ensured security in South East, the workers of Julius Berger would have run away from the site long 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.
“The insecurity in the whole of South East is sponsored by Federal government which he Fashola is an integral part of. The armed forces know their sponsors and the brains behind the insecurity in the South East region.”