Leaders in the South East have faulted the notion that they have been unbothered about the agitation for secession by some youths in the region.
Amid the continuous call for a breakaway from Nigeria by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the leaders said they have risen to the occasion at various times in the past and recently.
Ebonyi State Governor and the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi, briefed reporters at the end of a meeting of governors, ministers, as well as religious and traditional leaders in the region on Saturday in Enugu State.
“The impression that South East leaders are silent over some of our youths’ agitation for secession is not correct; South East Governors, Ohanaeze President, National Assembly members, notable leaders had come out publicly many times in the past to speak against such agitations,” he said.
The governor added, “We condemn in totality, the activities of violent secessionist groups in the South East and elsewhere, we firmly proclaim that we do not support them, they do not speak for South East.
“In order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation, South East leaders have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow elders speak to address such fears.”
He explained that arising from a meeting held on Friday last week with a presidential team led by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi, they hold a further discussion to articulate their position.
Governor Umahi affirmed that the people of the South East were committed to one united Nigeria under a platform of justice, equity of rights, fairness, love, and respect for one another.
According to him, the leaders have noted the threats by some groups against the people of the South East and will protect them and everyone from other regions.
The governor, however, pleaded with leaders of other regions to protect the Igbo people living in their regions.
He also called on members of the National Assembly from the region to support the creation of state police in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“We condemn the killing of security agencies, burning of strategic infrastructure, and killing of civilians in South East and other regions. We request our security agencies to please discharge their duties within the rules of engagement and the law.
“Meeting directed our governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo to liaise with indigenes from the northern part of Nigeria and indigenes of other regions of the nation Nigeria to assure them of their people’s safety in South East,” Governor Umahi briefed.