Gaddafi says Nigeria should split into several states
*Nigeria has accused Col Gaddafi of “grandstanding”
Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi says Nigeria should be divided into several states along ethnic lines – comments which are bound to anger Nigeria’s government.
He said Nigeria should follow the model of Yugoslavia, after previously saying it should be divided into two – along the lines of India and Pakistan.
He recently said Nigeria should be split into a Muslim and a Christian country to end communal clashes.
That prompted a furious Nigeria to recall its ambassador to Tripoli.
Nigeria’s foreign ministry said Col Gaddafi’s initial comments were “irresponsible”.
“His theatrics and grandstanding at every auspicious occasion have become too numerous to recount,” said a foreign ministry statement.
A Nigerian senator called Col Gaddafi, until recently head of the African Union, a “mad man”.
Nigeria’s government has not yet commented on his latest comments.
The BBC’s Rana Jawad in Tripoli says the dispute appears to have become a tit-for-tat game.
In response to Nigeria’s condemnation, Col Gaddafi issued a statement to the state-run news agency, Jana.
“It became clear… that Nigeria does not consist of two parts,” he accepted, before adding:
“The Yoruba people in the west and south demand independence, while the Igbo people live in the east and south.
“It became clear that the Ijaw people demand independence and the [Hausa] people in the north call for the establishment of the [Hausa] state.”
In his original comments, Col Gaddafi said that Nigeria should be divided into two – comparing it to the partition of British India into Hindu-dominated India and Muslim Pakistan, which led to at least 200,000 deaths and possibly as many as one million.
But the Libyan leader now suggests Nigeria should follow in the footsteps of Yugoslavia.
He says the most bloody conflict in the former-Yugoslavia – in Bosnia – arose because that was a multi-ethnic state, while the other countries seceded “peacefully”.
An attempt by Nigeria’s Igbo people to gain independence in 1967 sparked a war which left more than one million people dead.
Hundreds have died this year in violence between rival Muslim and Christian groups around the city of Jos.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, with some 130 million people. It has more than 250 different ethnic groups, broadly divided into a largely Muslim north and mainly Christian south.
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