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De-rank Abacha, Ijaw Activist Tells FG

An elder statesman and cleric, Rev. Sokari Soberekon has urged the federal government of Nigeria to remove the military rank of late Nigerian Head of State, General Sani Abacha over what he termed 'monumental corruption and abuse of office'.

Soberekon, a self-styled 'Senior Advocate of the Niger Delta (SAND) who claimed to have advocated for and convinced late former President Shehu Shagari in 1981 to approve oil derivation fund for the oil-producing states after late Obafemi Awolowo, former leader of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and late Governor Ambrose Ali of old Bendel State failed to achieve that at the Supreme Court, said that de-ranking Abacha will serve as a deterrent to retired , serving and future Generals in the Army rank and file.

Soberekon who commended President Buhari for honouring late Chief Moshood Abiola posthumously as a hero of democracy, said the looting of Nigeria's treasury by Abacha has been confirmed by a British Court, urged the British Government not to return the money to the Nigerian government but should give it to the British Red Cross to come with relief materials to save lives and alleviate poverty in the neglected oil producing areas, especially the Niger Delta region and other parts of Nigeria.

“The British government should give the money to the British Red Cross to get relief materials and alleviate poverty in under-developed and neglected oil producing areas like Oguta, Oloibiri, Bonny, Kalabari, Ogoni, Umuechem and other oil hosting communities in Nigeria”, said the cleric, adding that Oloibiri in Bayelsa State should be made capital of Nigeria.

“If they could make Calabar, Lagos and Abuja capitals, they can also make Oloibiri capital”, he argued.

While advising Governors of the Niger Delta region not to use their states' money to do federal projects however neglected their states may be, Soberekon called on President Buhari to restructure Nigeria to six geo-political zones which he said, would make Nigeria a great and united nation just as Great Britain has four kingdoms namely England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“No one can eat a loaf of bread decently without slicing it.  Just amend our constitution and restructure; it is nation-building. Former South African President, Dr. Nelson Mandela once said that the world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect.  The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence”, he said.