South-East leaders disown secessionist agitators, reaffirm commitment to ‘one Nigeria’

South-East leaders disown secessionist agitators, reaffirm commitment to ‘one Nigeria’

Saturday, June 19, 2021 10:24 pm

FILE: South East Governors at a meeting

FILE: South East Governors at a meeting

By Nicholas Obisike

South-East Governors and Leaders of Thought have reaffirmed the commitment of the region to the corporate existence of the country while disowning secessionist agitations like the one by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

The leaders spoke on Saturday in Enugu after a meeting attended by political leaders, socio-cultural organisations, the clergy and the traditional institution.

The Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum, Gov Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, who addressed newsmen after the meeting,, however, said that Nigeria’s unity must be based on love, mutual respect and equality of rights irrespective of one’s religion, ethnic group, political inclination and creed.

He also condemned the killing of civilians in the zone by security agencies.

The governor said that the various secessionist groups from the region were not speaking for the people of the area.

He said that the leaders from the zone had set up a committee to engage the agitators to allow elders of the region to address their fears.

“We have come out publicly on many occasions to speak against such agitations,” he said.

requested security agencies in the zone to them to respect the rights and privileges of all those leaving in the zone.

Umahi urged them to discharge their duties within the law and in accordance with their rules of engagement.

Umahi said that the meeting was in fulfillment of the June 11 agreement they had with a Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Defense, retired Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi.

“Consequent upon that, we scheduled our own meeting today to discuss and articulate our positions.

“This is to enable us not only engage the presidential team but also engage our people over all burning issues,” he said.

The governor said that leaders from the region had noted with concern threats against the Igbo people by some groups in other regions.

“The meeting pleaded with leaders of other regions to note such threats to our people, address it and protect our people,” he said.

He said that governors from the South-East had assured people from other ethnic nationalities of their safety in the region in spite of the prevailing circumstances.

The leaders condemned the killing of security personnel and burning of government infrastructure in the region.

He called on national assembly members from the region to support the creation of state police in the ongoing efforts to amend the constitution.

The governor said that the meeting endorsed the South-East Joint Security Unit code named ” EbubeAgu’ and requested the personnel to work with statutory security agencies.

Those present at the meeting include Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, Deputy Governors of Anambra, Mr Nkem Okeke and IMO counterpart, Prof Placid Njoku.

Others present were Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah and President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor.

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