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Regional Politics

Historic rivalry between east and west, north and south, oil states and non-oil states, Christian and Muslims communities, democrats and autocrats, soldiers and citizens have bedeviled Nigeria since its founding. The elements of traditional prejudice of the three major ethnic groups Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba continue to ignite enmity, distrust, and hatred. The three groups have remained incontestably hostile.

In August 2017 a Coalition of militant groups in the Niger Delta, under the auspices of the Reformed Egbesu Assembly, have called for the immediate division of the country into five republics. The groups named the republics as Arewa Islamic Republic, Biafra Republic, Republic of Niger Delta (RONDEL), Middle Belt Republic and Oduduwa Republic.

The militants said the call for the division of the country has become necessary in order to avert the possibility of violent agitations. Speaking in a statement by the General Officer Commanding, REF, Tony Alagbakereowei, who spoke on behalf of the group called on international organizations to call for referendum without further delay.

The coalition of Niger Delta militant groups said they would fight for a Niger Delta Republic if the Federal Government failed to embrace devolution of power and fiscal federalism. Speaking under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, they stated that they were prepared to mobilise other groups in the oil rich region to actualise a Niger Delta Republic.

Arewa is a Hausa language term meaning "northern" or "northerners". Its popular usage in contemporary Nigeria sometimes suggests a northern Nigerian regionalism or proto-nationalism. In post independence Nigeria, some use the word as a general term for Nigerian Hausaland: a contraction of "Arewacin Nijeriya" (Northern Nigeria). Much of the north was once politically united in the Northern Region, a federal division disbanded in 1967, and was previously home of the seven Hausa states, later the Sokoto Caliphate in the pre-colonial period, and the Northern Nigeria Protectorate under British colonial rule. Northern Nigeria regionalist groups, such as the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Arewa Media Forum based in Kaduna, and the related Arewa House and Arewa People's Congress are examples of this usage. These groups do not advocate independence from Nigeria, and focus on cultural unity of the so-called Hausa-Fulani community which forms the majority in the north of the nation.

Yoruba Liberation Command (YOLICOM), said in July 2017 it was in support of Nnamdi Kanus call for Biafra actualisation. It also said the Yoruba nation equally needs Oduduwa republic. A Yoruba group, Yoruba Liberation Command (YOLICOM) has said that it is too late for the restructuring of Nigeria, saying what the South-Western Yoruba region needs now is Oduduwa republic. The group, in a release at the World Press Conference held at International Press Centre, (IPC) Ogba, Lagos said Nigeria has failed to solve the challenges of peaceful co-existence and that politicians are rather in government for their selfish benefits. The group said it is in support of the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra for self actualization irrespective of whatever hate speech he has been accused of. It said it wants an end to marginalization of some regions in the country and sought for a relation with the Biafra nation by the Oduduwa republic.

Leader of the Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF), Benjamin Onwuka on 31 July 2017 declared a sovereign state of the Republic of Biafra. Onwuka said the republic, which will officially commence on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, was given the nod by former US president Barack Obama before leaving office. We have formed an interim government that will be in place till the next 30 days. The interim government will take off on August 1 and last till August 31, 2017, he said. America is behind the Biafra people because former President Barrack Obama already endorsed Biafra before he left office and President Donald Trump will not go against it considering that it has formed part of Americas foreign policy.... I am also calling on the avengers, the militants to come out from the creeks and join us to defend and protect Biafra. Im beckoning on Asari Dokubo, Tompolo, Ateke Tom to come out and join us. I am calling on all our boys in Biafra land to come out. Im not afraid, the US is with us.... This is not a laughing matter, Onwuka added, reacting to laughter by some journalist.

The Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers, Niger Delta Peoples Fighters, Niger Delta Warriors, Bakassi Freedom Fighters, Niger Delta Movement for Justice, Niger Delta Fighters Network and Niger Delta Freedom Mandate, said in a joint statement 09 June 2017 that they intend to declare an independent Niger Delta on October 1 with a view to freeing their people from what they called northern enslavement. We demand 100 per cent control of our resources. We demand that the Federal Government should hand over all oil blocs owned by northerners to Niger Delta indigenes. All the companies operating in such oil blocs/wells should vacate within three months.... We demand an independent and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta. We are tired of living with the North under Nigeria. We are tired of the Presidents sentiments against the Niger Delta people."

Just few days after the Niger Delta militants unveiled their currency note, Middle Belt of Nigeria also released own currency note. Major Gideon Gwaza Orkar appeared on the new banknote. He was a Nigerian army officer who staged a violent coup against the government of General Ibrahim Babangida in 1990. This was the third time Nigeria had been threatened by secessionists who come up with their own currency to show that they had no ties to Nigeria anymore.



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