Less than one week after Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, dealt a blow on agitators of Biafra, the bid to actualise a sovereign state has suffered yet another set back.
Buratai had told proponents of separation that they will not achieve their aim in his lifetime.
“I want to call on all the agitators for separation and other acts of destabilisation to forget it, not in this era, not in this millennium… I think they have to wait till may be the next three or four millennia for them to do that. That is, may be the next generation of officers and men will allow them at all,” he had said at a programme in Abuja.
However, the French government, which threw its weight behind Biafra in the 1967 secession bid, has ruled out any support for the secession of any part of the country, particularly Biafra.
Denys Gauer, the country’s ambassador to Nigeria, told The Guardian that France would not in anyway work with any group agitating for the dismemberment of the nation.
“We are working with Nigeria and we are supporting it as the only country. This is absolutely clear and I don’t think there is any kind of future for Biafra. They are part of Nigeria and Nigeria has to remain as the only country,” he reportedly said.
Speaking against the backdrop of France’s previous support for Biafra during the civil war, Gauer said Nigeria has evolved since the civil war.
Gauer said France is working with Nigeria in its fight against insurgency, and that the fight against Boko Haram has brought the two countries together, more than before.
Reacting to the envoy’s comment, Uchenna Madu, Leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), said the struggle for Biafra “is real and cannot be stopped by any man created by God”.
“We in MASSOB do not believe what he said because that does not represent the position of France. France is a friend of Biafra and even during the Nigeria/Biafra war, they assisted us so much,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
“In this current agitation for Biafra, France has sympathy for us. We advise our people to disregard what he said.”