Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 16:08 UK

Gaddafi says Nigeria should split into several states

Muammur Gaddafi, file image
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.

'Peaceful secession'

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.

What do you think of Col Gaddafi's opinion that Nigeria should follow in the former Yugoslavia's footsteps?

Thanks for your comments. Please read a selection below:

Colonel Gaddafi may speak as he want. But we Africans should not listen to him because he forgot himself and live in hypothetical world. In addition he doesn't represent Africans and their views in any standard. On the one hand he calls the union of Africans under his heir and on the other hand he comments the separation of Nigeria into many states. He has no firm beliefs. I do not know whom gave him the status of King of Africa. We Africans no longer have kings specially the likes of Gaddafi. I advise him one thing. Let the Nigerians solve their problems by themselves and if you want to create problems go to your own Arab states.
Tsegaye Mebratu, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Gaddafi needs education and we offer him various forms of it with these kinds of forums and blogs.
Jegede, Jos, Nigeria

Why should Gaddafi detect to the Nigerians on how they should handle their internal affairs?? At least there is democracy in Nigeria unlike Libya where nobody can question what this man does. Shame on him!! Nigerians!!! your have the capacity to sort out your issues. We will support you all the way. God bless you.
Kalung, Lusaka, Zambia

@ Chetam Obilo: I share your comments bro.... Any leader that stays in power for 40 years is useless and his comments should be disregarded However, Gaddafi is entitled to his own opinion. Nigeria needs strong leaders, Leaders who will take the country to the next level. This is only what can save the nation! I hope the country does not break up.
Wale, Amsterdam Holland

I completely agree with Gee Baba of Cranston, US of A that if Nigeria cannot be broken down into these said states then it should have a decentralized government. Where all states will control its resources. I see no reason why the crude oil should belong to everybody and the solid minerals belonging to individuals in the place were it is deposited. Even mad people make sense sometimes.
Kings, Lagos, Nigeria

@ Stella Almeida. Honestly u've spoken well, is true He is the only out-spoken leader for the division of Nigeria. The world powers are only protecting their self interest in Nigeria's oil. God will surely bless Col. Gaddafi for his thought.
Anita Akpabio, Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

Let's not rush with 2 many comments {contra or pro}. We might ruin the show! Gaddafi is an actor - we are only in the middle of his latest script. Mo is coming!
Sam Phodogoma, Lilongwe, Malawi

I must say I am quite impressed with the way a vast majority of Nigerians have defended the unity of our nation in response to Col. Gaddafi's misinformed call. Without being cynical, the truth is the unity of Nigeria as a nation has been tested over the years and I for one will continue to believe in it, however, I think it is time we all set aside our religious difference and ethnic loyalties and kick out all corrupt and selfish people who have colonised our political system. My take is this, Gaddafi already knows what is coming, and a united strong and virile Nigeria is a threat to any country in the world, I am sure America and the west are watching this space..LONG LIVE NIGERIA, GOD BLESS AFRICA!
Abimbola A, Manchester, UK

Damn right, a very sensible and desirable call. Gaddafi may have gotten the intricate details wrong, but in principle, it is right. The split will not be North, South, Ijaw, it is more than this. I see a USSR/Eastern Block split. On my current count, 5, may be 6 independent nations. Those who benefit under the current status wish to maintain that status quo in order to continue to benefit, at the same time holding other parts in contempt and in a second class citizenry. We have had enough marginalisation, about time it happened, and it will, painful as it may be, but necessary.
Uwem, UK

He might be handsomely right in his thinking. However he is knocking his idea of a United state of Africa to the darkest corner. Unity is a unit of development and represents a serious society. Dividing it is not the best solution possible in Nigeria.
Mulungana George, Kampala, Uganda.

I advise nigerians to do like most of us arabs and ignore gaddafi's utterances. He has no right to interfere in other peoples' and other nations' internal affairs. It's up to the Nigerian people to decide how to rule their country. Kaddafi should concern himself with the affairs of his own country.
SALIM, London

He's fond of exploiting our weakness, remember his friendship wit late General Sani Abacha. He's threaten by our unity. He sees Nigeria as an obstacle to his dreams. Sorry Gaddafi we will disappoint u.
Anthony Kene, Lagos, Nigeria

A cursory assessment of comments made by contributors to this forum on the latest Gaddafi opinion on Nigeria's separation shows that: (1) most contributors aggressively opposed to his opinion seem to write from Abuja + northern parts of Nigeria, and the horn of Africa; (2) most contributors who seem to side with his comments appear to write from southern parts of Nigeria; (3) and 'tread softly softly' comments from names showing origins from the Mano river union area of West Africa, and some from parts of UK. Interesting.
Yinka Akinyoade, Leiden, Holland

The Libyan leader is not mad at all. He was simply thinking aloud. I just hope he doesn't come back next week to tell us that he has made, yet, another mistake. In any case, I agree with him.
Chibesa, London

Does he think 9ja na Libya? Don't blame him he's just a old fool with a liquid brain. One 9ja for life.
Terry Musa Johnson, Kaduna, Nigeria

The making of truth is always a fairy tale 2 tell. Right or wrong Gaddafi has spoken the truth only he lacks precision and explicity in his analysis. I will not only lend my support to his assertions but also give a dividing formula.
Akolade Kazeem, Lagos, Nigeria

I don't think Gaddafi should be blame for his silly comments, each times he comes to Nigeria he his treated like a king and told all sort of things, while Nigerians living in his country are killed and roasted like goat we don't do anything about it. Time will tell.
Folarin Oluwubushayo, Lagos, Nigeria

Being from the former Yugoslavia I can tell Col. Gaddafi that his idea of "peacefully" splitting up a multi-ethnic country is utter nonsense. Nigeria is a country with 250 ethnic groups dividing such a country into arbitrary "ethnically clean" units would involve the use of genocide and ethnic cleansing (as we saw in Bosnia and Kosovo) and then following that we would end up with warring factions fighting over resources using any means at their disposal (including terrorism). Instead of peace we would get war followed by more war and instability. And what would happen to Africa's other multi-ethnic states such as Congo, Sudan, South Africa, etc? Following Gaddafi's dangerous ideas would lead to the deaths of millions and the fracturing of Africa into hundreds of economically unsustainable mini-states that would indefinitely be at war with each other over resources and political power. The only solution for multi-ethnic and multi-religious states is to form a democratic government that respects the rights of all people and responds to their needs regardless of their ethnicity or religion. The United States, Canada, and Switzerland are two excellent examples of how multi-ethnic and multi-religious states can flourish if the right political decisions are made by a country's leaders. Diversity should be seen as a gift to humanity and not a curse. Throughout history those who have seen diversity as a curse (ex. Hitler, Milosevic, Stalin) have committed horrendous crimes against humanity which have only brought death, destruction, and misery upon mankind.
FairPlay, Seattle, USA

Gaddafi was dropped as a child.
Arman, Abu Dhabi, UAE

I advise Gaddafi to be mute. We Nigerians don't need advice from fools on how to run our country. If we need fools advice, we have a lot of intelligent fools in Nigeria
John Walex, Makurdi, Nigeria

It's obvious that Gaddafi is still living in the past. What the world needs in this 21st century is unity not division. We either learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Uchenna Eke, Enugu, Nigeria

Gaddafi certainly has a good time winding everyone up with invariably daft comments. I don't think any particular faith or tribe has a monopoly on corruption. There is an unbelievable amount of corruption there and I say that as a man who's lived in the Middle East and knows what it is to live in a society where corruption is the norm. Perhaps a drive to eliminate corruption and get the population at large better looked after would be a better answer than simply changing the label.
Karim, London, UK

@alexander mcgill. BINGO, you summed it up nicely. How is dividing antagonistic regions into separate states going to create peace? What happens after independence when these two (or more) antagonistic nations have to be neighbours? Why not ask India and Pakistan what happens next. And as far as Yugoslavia, well we all know how that experiment in dividing people turned out. Multi-ethnic nations are capable of existing. If we look at the US you have a nation of immigrants, people who come from all over the world to live, work, and take power democratically amongst each other. This is not rocket science people. Human beings CAN learn to live with each other, despite conflicts that arise from time to time. [fact file: other nations that have multiethnic and/or multi-religious make up: Switzerland, Belgium, Malaysia, Russia, India, China, US, South Africa, Australia, etc.]
Hanna, Awassa, Ethiopia

Those who are calling Gaddafi a mad man are simply short-sighted. The truth is there - Nigerians do not believe in Nigeria. Even in a foreign land, when you ask a Nigerian where he comes from, his response will either be 'I am a Yoruba or I am an Igbo man etc. In Nigeria, a tribe is well defined as a nation than Nigeria.
David M Adekunle, Ogun, Nigeria

Now that this 'Mad Dog' has become the lap dog of the western powers. He thinks the affairs of other African Nations. as well as those of Pan Arabia are is exclusive barking turf... Can anyone tell me where Nationalism, tribalism, or any other modern 'ism' has brought viability. The dude..... much good is 'green book' has done for Libya. maybe that would be the new constitution of his Afro-Arabian Kingdom. what a clown.
Ibrahim, london

What about Sudan , Iraq and may be Egypt. What he may suggest to them similar? Similar to his idea, Sudan may be divided to 3 countries, Iraq to three countries and Egypt to two countries. I don't think he agrees. Double Standard.
Kasm, Melbourne, Australia

A dead clock is usually correct two times a day! Maybe the 'Mad Man' should be taken seriously after all?
Chiz, Bauchi, Nigeria

We need a true federation where each unit will be challenged to be inventive. Right now, oil is the only binding the country and the ruling clique has appropriated it to itself, hence the abject poverty in the midst of plenty that has bred recurrent violence and mass killings mainly under the guise of religion. We are still better off as a country. That is the point Gaddafi misses.
Pius Mordi, Lagos, Nigeria

Gaddafi has been known for his unthoughtful pronunciation. He's getting old, and seeks relevance by making pronouncements that are bound to be divisive. While, I advice Nigerians to disregard him, we should also put our house in order. God bless Nigeria.
Femmy Dan, Washington DC

I am utterly flabbergasted for such an outrageous and nonsensical remarks from the Libyan leader. Gaddafi along with other African Presidents should expend their energy and use the bully pulpit to advocate for a united Africa. Nigeria's current predicament is due in large part to poor governance, greed and financial mismanagement by the country's bureaucrats over the less fortunate. Learn history and take a page from the US.
Landing Kassma, Westchest, OH

Gaddafi has surely a mental problem and needs to be helped out, he also wanted to divide Switzerland into different countries... he's sick!! He says such things only when he wants to "insult" a country he doesn't like: It's like two babies fighting!
Paolo Tartaglia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

it is amazing that african people are subjected to the whims of there so called leaders. so what is holding Nigeria together? what is holding any african country together including Libya. is it the existence of a national identity or economic interest? NO they are held together by violence and oppression. these people call gaddafi a "mad man" for suggesting what looks like the obvious solution. maybe he is wrong, but what we have in africa today is something that could not be tolerated. the nation-state system and the class of people that inherited the colonial state have reduced the people to the state of them not even knowing what is going on. survival is what on the people mind. and their leaders are the ones that put the money they get from any one willing to rape the land, ahead of the interest of the people. that is true whether democracy or not. the change that comes to africa must be total. get rid of the nation state. and the monsters that use it.
nabaddoon, ottawa, canada

Those vilifying Gaddafi for suggesting a break up of Nigeria to save lives have simply responded with empty rhetoric without any clues as to how to justify or stop the bleeding of Nigerians as the price of unity.
Robert Sanda, Alberta, Canada

I don't think Gaddafi is a mad man but a logical man if only on this issue. He is right on so many levels. Nigeria needs to be broken up into 3 or 4 states. If it cannot be broken down into these said states then it should have a decentralized government. Just like they have in the United states and elsewhere. That way the people would have a more direct control over their ideas and one region would not be neglected or given priority over the others.
Gee Baba, Cranston, US

Even if Nigeria is divided into 100 nations, Gaddafi can be rest assured he will never actualise his aim of Islamising Africa and becoming its maximum ruler. This guy should wake up, he's an Arab! He should stop deceiving himself - a pity even his Arab kin do not accept him. What a pity, his ultimate dream on planet earth, would remain just that, a dream!
John Ufot, Calabar, Nigeria

A toad does not jump in the daytime for nothing. I am beginning to think that we need to re-examine our national security and indeed whether Nigeria is truly a nation. Where does this dude derive his courage - making our business his business?
Danjuma Abubakar, Abuja, Nigeria

The recent crisis in Nigeria is not far from what can be referred to as "religious ignorance" where people claim to fight for their religion without understanding the real teachings of the religion. The question is "if we preach God as peaceful, then why do we fight". Gaddafi's suggestion is quite apt for resolution of the crisis. Every region thus, Muslim and Christian region should pilot their own affairs, have their own system of government, this will lure every member of a group back to its region thereby eliminating unnecessary killings.
Mbanefo Ebuka, Onitsha Nigeria

Col Gaddafi is only repeating what God had already done which the so called people refused to see. God uses water - river to create natural boundary. who is that blind that cannot see rivers showing the divide of the nations - the north; the west and the east. It is only a matter of time. They shall surely separate.
DANNY, Calabar

Gaddafi is not a mad man but Nigerians not seeing any truth in what he said. The reality is is we have ethnic mistrust for one another even as we speak. This ethnic mad, cuts across everything in Nigeria religion, economics, political life of the people. Even in the last Yar'Adua issue, some Nigerians requested for a break. I have more respect for him than before his statement. He is the only one bold enough to tell our leaders the truth. Remember, if we continue in the same trend, what Gaddafi said will come to past. As a Nigerian u do not need a prophet
T.Oyee, Dallas

Gaddafi like making headlines. Am so glad he could not bribe his way to second term in office as African Union head. His regime is repressive certainly cannot divide Nigeria with his comments we have come a long way and our differences have united us thus far. Nigeria with its number is greater than Libya. Here in Canada they refused him entry when he wanted to come and visit after the meeting in the US.
Terry, Canada

Rantings of a MAD MAN.
Na'allah Bako, Abuja, Nigeria

I now know that Col Gaddafi is an honest man who wants justice for the millions of Nigerians neglected, suffering, in-abject poverty, sick and without hope. He is the only leader of a country that has honestly spoken openly for the division of Nigeria. Unlike the other World powers who is only protecting their self interest in Nigerian oil. Thank you Gaddafi and God Bless Libya.
Stella Almeida, London

Gaddafi is entitled to his own opinion which to my way of thinking is based on ignorance as it concerned Nigeria. This is the same man advocating a United states of Africa but when a part of Africa is in crisis, all he could come up with is divide the Nation. no wonder some people said he's a Mad-Man and unfortunately he's doing his best to prove them right. Nigerians are not new to communal crisis, though this is not something to be excused, i assure you that peace will come to Nigeria because the real tussle is extra-religious. there seems to be some people somewhere who are beneficiary of this carnage and until those idiots in Aso Rock come to life and muster enough guts to bring them to book, we are yet to see the end to this crisis. The problem with Nigeria is basically corruption and bad governance which secession of the different units can not resolve. As for Gaddafi, I see no reason why any sane man/woman will give attention to a man who knew nothing nor has any interest about Nigeria and her crisis. Nigeria will get it right, quote me anywhere.
Calin, Abuja, Nigeria

In the context of current global trends, Col. Gaddafi has no basis offering advice to Nigeria. The example of the European Union and integration is something to emulate if unity with diversity is to be achieved especially for Nigeria. What is required is the political will and commitment by every Nigerian to learn to coexist with one another, and do more to root out corrupt, unqualified and inept people at the helm of affairs. Nigerians can use their diversity as a source of great strength to rebuild a strong and productive Nation.
Rev. Martin Dama, Jos, Nigeria

Gaddafi has been known to be consistent inconsistent in his utterances. He speaks in a manner as the words come to his mind, as a baby who cannot control his bladder. He is far from being a legal illocution or adviser in a sensitive issue like that of Nigeria. His aspiration is to be the president of the United States of Africa. Having ruled his country for 40 years, he is never contented, as he seeks for more power and authority every day. Today he calls for Jihad against none Muslim nations, and his son ad other members of his family are about the law; tomorrow he tries to retract some of his utterances. What a man is Gaddafi! Indeed is a parody of a leader.4o years, he is never contented, as he seeks for more power and authority every day. Today he he calls for Jihad against none Muslim nations, and his son ad other members of his family are about the law. What a man is Gaddafi! Indeed is a parody of a leader.
John Oyewole, Rho (Milan), Italy

Dividing Nigeria into various independent states is desirable, but unviable. As a Nigerian who understands the nation, I know that dividing Nigeria in this manner will solve one problem, only to introduce a myriad others. Cross-cultural tension will transform to cross-border wars, everyone would like to have a piece of the oil, and in the end, the whole thing might go to waste. Oil represents one of the major reasons that Nigeria is still together as one state, those who 'own' it do not have the means to exploit it, those who exploit it cannot let it go. Until oil has run out, there will always be one Nigeria. Otherwise we're asking for serious social unrest.
Joseph, Melbourne, Australia

We must enjoy the Gaddafi Show, trash talk entertainment, equivalent to Jerry Springer Show of the US while it lasts. If we didn't have him as a leader in Africa, it's considered having a meal w/o the proper spices. He likes to stir things up. One time he wants a United States of Africa and another time, when he's high on petroleum, he wants to divide up one of the strongest country of Africa into pieces like Yugoslavia. What do you call a person of this nature? hypocrite???
Fasil, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Is Gaddafi the first person to say this? No he is not, majority of Nigerians want a separate state even those who are hiding under the umbrella of politics. For peace sake let people go their separate ways.
Joe, London

@ Ben. every country in the world is an artificial creation, so what you are saying is in effect creating two rival territories each despising the other will some how lead to peace? it did not work in Yugoslavia and it wont work in Nigeria. We in the west have laid waste to enough of Africa. lets leave it alone.
alexander mcgill, glasgow, scotland

Now Col Gaddafi is right for saying Nigeria should be divided into several state, to be candid this country will not stand together for long neither did we want to stay together, only the leaders who enjoy our oil wealth want the country undivided.
wole oworisa, lagos, nigeria

Am surprised that Gaddafi could afford to be honest, despite being a Muslim, Nigeria is the making of the British, sadly it's still maintained by those who are milking the State dry, there is no common interest, love between, the South, East, West or North, all you have is common hatred and distrust, Gaddafi is my hero now.
oluremi olaitan, ibadan, nigeria

The call by the Libyan leader for the division of Nigeria into two or any other number is wrong. How can he reconcile this call with his previous call for a United States of Africa? If a simple conflict in a single nation can not be settled how possible can all Africans unite under a single rule? I believe old-age is causing the Libyan leader to lose his sense of directions in reasoning. His cognitive skill is declining on a daily basis. As an African, I believe all Africans need to respect and honour one another irrespective of religious beliefs. This should not serve as a line of division.
Chief Dadee, Banjul, The Gambia

Col Gaddafi's outrageous statements indicate that he fails to understand the socio political and cultural dimensions of African states such as Nigeria. For somebody who has been calling for African unity, he should be promoting Nigerian unity with a common and shared identity. His meddling in the in the internal affairs of a sovereign country is a clear violation under international law. This calls for suspension of Libya in the AU and the complaint registered at the UN.
Edwin, UK

Gaddafi is not a mad man, his words are right and welcomed. Gaddafi i Amechi ask you to keep on saying the truth. Also remember to do justice in your country as well.
Frank Amechi, Abidjan

Gaddafi is a joke ... do not take him serious. I feel bad for Libyan citizens who are stuck with this fool.
N Nnabuihe, Warri, Nigeria

Gaddafi has hit the nail on the head. The only people that want Nigeria to continue as it is are beneficiaries of corruption and Northern domination. People like "mad man" Senate President David Mark. This country built on false foundation is ripe for disintegration and dissolution. Let nature take its course and smother this genetically impaired entity
Chetam Obilo, Port Harcourt Nigeria

Gaddafi radical as he may sound sometimes is actually a champion of truth. He is not timid to say real issues and this has won him as much support and admiration as of those who call him all sorts of names and labels. I respect his approach which is the only practical solution to such crises. Col. Gaddafi you deserve my support on the Nigerian situation.
Aluma A B, Kampala

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is always controversial person. He thinks he knows the solution to every problem. They call him "mad Man" not without a reason. I wish he minds his business. Partitioning a country to tiny states will not solve the problem equality, rule of law, fairness and democratic right to every citizen will. Nigeria have more 250 ethnicities does Gaddafi think by creating 250 independent states out of one country is a solution is crazy to say the least.
Negasi Beyene, Washington DC

He is a fool and he has run out of sense......There is only going to be one Nigeria.
Rafiu Babatuunde, London, UK

President Reagan called him the "mad dog" of the Middle East, and that was more than 20 years ago. You can hardly blame him for making irresponsible comments, the man is simply that... mad.
Omar Orya, Sydney Australia

I am not sure if dividing the country is the best solution to Nigeria's problems. Nigeria is on the brink of becoming a failed State if urgent steps are not taken by the leadership of that country to solve the nations problems. The sharing of power between the Hausa in the North and the Yorubas, leaving the Igbos out of the deal is a recipe for disaster.
Foday Bangura, Woodbridge, Virgnia

Now that's what I call sense. Nigeria hasn't known any peace since independence because of the differences between the various ethnic groups. Secession would be the best - lives would be saved besides Nigeria is a European (British) construction. Almost all African states should do the same it will solve a lot of problems on the continent. Imagine if Rwanda had done that they wouldn't have been the genocide of 1994. Grand idea from Gaddafi for once.
T Ndemera, Leeds, UK

Gaddafi is simply stating the truth. Nigeria is exactly the same as the Former Yugoslavia and USSR. It is an artificial creation put together by the British for economic reasons. The longer we delay the harder and potentially more devastating the split will be. Let us face up to the truth and split peacefully and in a way where by the new states can retain economic and political links in a new loose union.
Ben, London

It's interesting how he just feels like he can say that out loud, that disappoints me! If he re-read his history books, the last time they tried to divide Nigeria , there was a bloody civil war. Nigeria can absolutely not afford another civil war. We are pushing to 170 million people - that would just be havoc!
Ese, Fort Worth, USA

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