Gaddafi replies FG, says Nigeria should split along ethnic lines

THE PUNCH Newspaper

Libyan leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, has again stirred the hornet’s nest by calling for the splitting of Nigeria.

Unlike March 16, 2010, when he advised that Nigeria be split into two along religious lines (Islam and Christianity), this time, he wants the division to be along ethnic lines.

The Federal Government recalled Nigeria’s Ambassador, Mr. Muhammed Ibrahim, from Tripoli following the March 16 call insinuating that Libya might be sponsoring the violence in Jos, Plateau State.

Gaddafi’s earlier comment followed the violent clashes between Muslim and Christian youths in which hundreds of people were killed in Jos.

The Federal Government had decried his position, saying his comments were insensitive and irresponsible and “diminished his status and credibility.”

In what may be his reaction to the hue and cry that trailed his first call, the Libyan leader repeated the idea of dismantling the country, but this time suggested not two but several independent states for its multiple ethnic groups.

“The partition into Christian and Muslim states will not resolve Nigeria‘s problems because there are other peoples claiming independence despite the issue of religion,” the Libyan official news agency JANA quoted Gaddafi as saying on Monday.

He compared Nigeria to the former Yugoslavia, which collapsed after the end of the Soviet Union and split into several independent states, sparking conflicts in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and then Kosovo.

“Nigeria ... resembles the Yugoslav union which included several peoples, like Nigeria, and then these people gained independence and the Yugoslav union was ended in peace,” Gaddafi said.

“The model that fits Nigeria is the Yugoslav one,” he added.

Gaddafi was chairman of the African Union until recently and has adopted the title ”King of African Kings,” but the veteran Libyan leader has a mixed reputation on the continent.

Praised by some African leaders as a generous benefactor and champion of development, he stands accused by others of financing rebellions and fomenting instability, often to counter the interests of the United States and its allies.

Gaddafi had described the Jos violence as a “deep conflict of a religious nature” caused by a federal state, “which was made and imposed by the British in spite of the people‘s resistance to it.”


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