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In the past few weeks, the once peaceful and lively commercial region of the Southeast has transformed into a terror zone. No day passes by where the story of murder, kidnap, arson, and civilian intimidation by terror groups of Unknown Gunmen is not told. 
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The rise in the terrorization of the region cannot be divorced from the issues of the Biafran Question, ethnic marginalization at the federal level, and regional infrastructural neglect by the federal government. Also, the question of the 2023 presidency in which the two main political parties of All Progressive Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have planned to screen out the Igbo from the process have further exacerbated the insecurity plaguing the southeast.  However, the most predominant factor for this crisis is the Biafran resurgence and the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu. The resurgence which began as a peaceful movement in 1999 has metamorphosed into a violent militant group in recent times. The administration of President Buhari and how he has dealt with the IPOB with military might has only worsened the situation. 
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The problem plaguing the South East is like a multi-hydra-headed beast. First, since the end of the civil war, in which the region attempted to pull out of the federation with its foiled Republic of Biafra, the region has not produced the president of the nation. Aside from this, there is no single federal presence in the region – no military, police, and other security bases, nor is there a working port in the region. This and other factors have created both perceived and actual socio-political marginalization. This has provoked members of the region, especially its youths to seek a country apart from the rest of Nigeria called Biafra. Third, no one apart from the South East is willing to zone the presidency to the South East, an act that has confirmed the perceived marginalization among the people. If any of the above issues are not addressed, peace will not return to the region. The first attempt to end the crisis is to stretch out an olive to the aggrieved resurgence groups in the South East by listening to their complaints. Their complaints are well-founded and of course, be addressed.
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Secondly, the only way to eliminate every feeling of marginalization is to zone the presidency to the South East. Other regions have had a fair share of the presidency, save for the South East. Should the presidency come to the South East, a great deal of the zone’s insecurity will be largely ameliorated?  Thirdly, the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, the most popular freedom fighter in the region will ease the tension and begin a gradual path to lasting peace. The Nigerian government must learn from the South African and Mandela’s example. The tension in South Africa was a result of the racial and colour divide in which the Blacks were oppressed. The result was constant crises and open confrontations with the local and state securities. Until the foundation problems of apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela were secured, South Africa knew no peace. Finally, the question of restructuring cannot be delayed any longer. Restructuring in the sense would mean semi-independence granted to every region in the country. Furthermore, the best way to address local problems is by resorting to the establishment of regional security operatives. Although each region established its regional security outfit, it is no more than a vigilante group. Featured Image Source: Punch Newspapers
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This article was first published on 26th May 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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