Biafra agitation affecting South-East’s economy- Orji Kalu
A former governor of Abia, Dr Orji Kalu, says the agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra is adversely affecting the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the South-East. Kalu spoke on Tuesday in Abuja, at a joint press conference with members of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), after a closed meeting with the group.
He said that he opened up consultations with the group following recent developments in the country, threats and counter threats. The former governor said that Nnamdi Kanu was not the only one talking about Biafra, adding that he had access to all of them and would continue talking to them. “It is an issue of great concern to the region; the young people on the street do not know the damage the Biafra agitation does to the GDP of the region.
“ The GDP of the area has gone down grossly; I am an entrepreneur and I know it. “Cameroon, Chad, Niger and others used to buy goods from Aba, now how many of them still go there? “We resolved this issue when I was the governor of Abia; I resolved it with Ralph Uwazulike and he listened; we will speak with Nnamdi Kanu and he will listen.’’ Kalu said that the diversity and demography of Nigeria was its strength.
According to him, every part of the country has something to offer for its development, anybody who thinks otherwise is making mistake. Kalu urged the group to support the call for restructuring as it did not mean breaking up the country. “Nigeria needs to restructure economically and other wise. Many states cannot pay salaries.
“We need to put more money on capital projects,I recommend 25 per cent for recurrent and 75 per cent for capital. “If the federal and state governments had invested in agriculture, the North should be making about 150 billion dollars from agriculture yearly. “This is the only country that traverses from Atlantic Ocean to Sahara desert; some people are asking God to give them just one; we have to keep the country united,’’ he said.
He thanked Shettima Yerima, the Chairman of CNG for coming for the meeting, adding that there would be further consultations in order to reach a common ground. Kalu assured southerners living in the North that they were safe and Nigeria was also safe. On his part, Yerima said that he had been engaging with Kalu via telephone since the quit notice issue came up. Yerima, who is also the Chairman of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, said Kalu had shown a lot of concern and was worried that the unity of Nigeria was being threatened.
“We have had series of meetings with a lot of prominent Nigerians and we want the unity of Nigeria. “We identify with Kalu because he believes in the unity of Nigeria, going by his antecedents; we have assured him of our commitment to one Nigeria and our meeting was fruitful. “We strongly believe that Nigeria is one and it is for us. “We held meeting with Northern governors and we promised to make a statement and this is part of the process. “Be rest assured that there is no cause for alarm; we assure everybody who believes in Nigeria of their safety,’’ he said.
Yerima said that the coalition would engage in further consultations before taking a final position.