“Much as we have no problem with you leaving Nigeria to become an independent country, we do not want you to drag us with you into your agitation.”

That is the message the Itsekiri people in oil rich Delta state are sending to Ndigbo.

The group has disowned itself from calls for a referendum and warned against the inclusion of their land in the proposed secessionists’ map.

“As Major General Phillip Effiong said on 14th January 1970 that the Republic of Biafra ceased to exist so we the Itsekiri wish it to be eternally for the peace and development of our great Nation,” the group said in a statement on Friday.

Mr. Edward Ekpoko and Mr. A.S. Mene, representing Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT), said the ethnic group is in support of the unity of Nigeria.

“Itsekiri homeland of Warri is not part of that enterprise. We recall with pains the day the defunct Biafra Army invaded Warri and Benin in the then Midwestern Region on the 9th of August 1967 and say never again will the Itsekiri tolerate such an invasion.

“The Itsekiri Ethnic Nationality is committed to the unity of Nigeria and will do all it can to promote and protect it as one and indivisible country,” the group said in the statement.