By Ikeugonna Eleke
An Igbo group, Igbo for a Progressive Nigeria, IPAN, says it supports a united Nigeria that promotes equal rights for all citizens of the country.
The group said such arrangement would favour the Igbo more than a bid for secession.
President of the group, Mr Lawrence Onuzulike, who spoke with journalists in Awka, Anambra State, said the group would continue to work for the unity of Nigeria but more interested in ensuring that the Igbo got equal rights, treatment, privileges and share in the country.
He said the group which started in the diaspora less than two years ago, had been engaging with other Igbo groups to see the strength in Nigeria being a united country, but added that the country must guarantee equal rights for all of its citizens for all to be happy and remain willing to be united.
‘This (Nigeria) is our country. We are not like black Americans who are begging to be seen as Americans. This is our country, and we are proud of her. We are happy as a united country, but, first, we must be sure that all the rights accruing to people in other parts of the country also accrue to us.
‘Our interest is how to develop Igbo land, how to galvanize our people to ensure that they bring back their resources for the development of Igbo Land. We want an Igbo Land where all the companies owned by big Igbo businessmen would have their head offices in Igboland, and maintain branches in other places.
‘The situation where people maintain head offices in other places and come to Awka to open a small branch in one room is what we are against.
‘First, let the ruling government provide equal opportunity for Igbo people in Nigeria, and second, let our brothers and sisters who are well to do make it a matter of policy to establish their businesses in Igbo land. In that way, we will develop our homeland,’ Onwuzulike said.