Igbos Will Feel Less Marginalized If They Produce Next President – Ngige

 

 

Perceived feelings of marginalization in the Southeast will be largely assuaged if the region produces Nigeria’s next president.

This is the view of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

He, however, told Channels Television’s Ladi Akeredolu-Ale on the current affairs programme Newsnight that it is sad there is no provision in the 1999 constitution stating that the next election is to be zoned to the south.

Speaking further, Ngige said this is why he believes that the 1995 constitution produced by the late General Sani Abacha’s administration would have been better suited for Nigeria’s current situation.

READ ALSO: Open Grazing: Buhari Threatening To Override State Is Unacceptable – Clark

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.

 

“The people in the area have perceived that they are marginalized, that they are unappreciated, whether it was done by propaganda and brainwashing or not, that is now immaterial.

“So I agree with that proposal, unfortunately, the Nigerian constitution does not have that. This is where I quarrel with those who authored the 1999 Constitution.

“I still believe today, tomorrow, that the Abacha Constitution of 1995 that espouses rotational presidency into the six zones in Nigeria, a single five-year tenure in order to heal all the wounds; the wounds of civil war, and the wound of June 12.

“Now, that constitution would have been the best constitution for Nigerians to use for the next 30 years by which the six zones would have tested the presidency,” the minister stated.

We Don’t Want War In The Southeast – Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi

 

The Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has said that the Southeastern region does not want war but rather wants to be a part of a fair Nigeria.

The governor stated this on Thursday at a media briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team in the Statehouse in Abuja.

He said, in the Southeast, we don’t want war, we don’t want to secede, we want to be a part of a fair Nigeria where justice, equity, and freedom exist.

The governor explained the situation in the Southeast as a mixture of reality, fake news and war propaganda.

READ ALSO: ‘What Have You Done To Allow LGs Flourish?’ Malami Questions S/Govs Demand For Restructuring

He lamented over the increasing insecurity in the region which resonates the peaceful agitation for a better region by IPOB, MASSOB, and the eastern security network in the east was hijacked by bandits and escalated.

The Presidential Media Team and Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi

 

“Are there rightful agitations in the Southeast. Yes. Has it turned violent? Yes. It’s been hijacked”.

According to him, foreign herders have infiltrated the country and are causing mayhem. “Anyone who is against the ban on open grazing is saying the killings in the country should continue”.

He insisted that the establishment of security outfit, Ebube Agu which has been passed into law in Ebonyi state is empowered to arrest anyone found culpable of steering chaos.

The governor further points out that there are no grazing routes in the south that would enable cattle move freely without trespassing and encouraging open grazing is synonymous with enabling armed foreign herders to perpetrate killings in the country.

He called for funding on cattle ranches through the Federation Account.

Ebube Agu Not After IPOB – Umahi

Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi

 

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi has said that the newly created security outfit in the southeast, Ebube Agu, is not against the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

The governor stated this on Friday during the handing over of some vehicles to security agencies to aid their work of bringing safety to lives and property of the residents of the state in Abakaliki.

Governors from the South-East had on April 11 have established a security network as part of plans to checkmate the rising unrest in the region, stemming from an increase in criminal activities.

According to a communique put out by governors of the Southeast, the agency is to oversee and monitor the activities of vigilante groups in the region.

But Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum said the regional leaders did not float the security outfit because they were at loggerheads with the outlawed IPOB.

READ ALSO: ‘EBUBE AGU’: South-East Governors Establish New Outfit To Tackle Rising Unrest

“Ebube Agu is not after the Eastern Security Network (ESN) or after IPOB, no. Ebube Agu is meant to protect the people of Ebonyi State and her visitors,” he said.

“I have asked every citizen of Ebonyi State to protect themselves against any killing, no Ebonyi person should be killed again by anybody for any reason.

“We will not take the killing of any Ebonyi person lightly any longer. We have not deployed our Ebube Agu. The social media is saying we have deployed, we merely said this is the uniform we are preparing.”

Umahi said Nigerian youths were aggrieved, adding that leaders must find a way of engaging them in order to bring the current partial breakdown of law and order under control.

Nigeria Police Probe Killing Of 19 Herders In Southeast

The crest of the Nigeria Police Force crest is on a police officer’s uniform. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

 

Nigerian police are investigating the murder of a family of 19 Fulani herders in the southeast of the country, a spokesman said Thursday, in a region where separatist tensions are rising.

The victims, including children, were attacked in their settlement in Oyi area of Anambra state on Sunday by gunmen who shot them at close range before mutilating their bodies, police said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the killings, but long-standing rivalries between communities of Fulani herders and farmers over land and water have revived ethnic tensions in different regions.

The outlawed separatist movement, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which seeks an independent state for Igbo people, is also active in the region where the massacre took place.

“We are investigating the unfortunate incident to determine who are behind these gruesome murders of innocent people,” state police spokesman Tochukwu Ikenga told AFP.

Local media said the victims were the family head, nine women, six children, and three men.

Some cows and sheep belonging to the herders were killed while their houses and belongings were vandalised, the media reported.

Residents, as well as students of a nearby university, have leftover fears of reprisal attacks.

Ethnic clashes are not uncommon in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 250 ethnic and linguistic groups.

But tensions flared earlier this year in the mostly Yoruba-speaking southwest, with some local leaders blaming northern Fulani herders for an increase in crimes in their regions.

Several attacks have been carried out on Fulani settlements in Yoruba areas and the Igbo-speaking southeast by mobs from local communities.

Southeast Nigeria has also seen a surge in attacks targeting security forces that officials blame on IPOB. But the group has denied the charges.

Separatist calls for a state of Biafra in the south are a sensitive subject in Nigeria after a unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war.

There Are Plans To Incite War In South-East – Umahi

 

Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has raised an alarm over a plot by some persons to incite war in the southeast.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Umahi said bandits were committing crimes in the South-East of the country under the guise of the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Although he didn’t reveal names or identities of the individuals involved, he warned that governors of the region will not allow what he termed illegality to reign in the area.

“The problem of this country is that people will leave their problems and make your problem their problem. But what some of these people are doing is to incite the south-east into war and step aside, and we are not going to buy into that, we are not going to be deceived again,” he said.

READ ALSO: Bandits Committing Crimes Under The Guise Of ESN, Says Umahi

“Whether it inspires confidence or not, it does not matter to me. What matters to me is that our people will be satisfied with our efforts in protecting their lives and property. People must be very careful, and know that there are grand plans by people who have no interest in the south-east, to incite them into war and we are wiser than that.”

File photo of Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi

 

Governor Umahi said the regional security outfit, Ebube Agu, recently launched by the South-East governors was not formed in a hurry, adding that the only recognised security outfit in the region is Ebubeagu.

He explained that he and his other colleagues from Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Imo would fight insecurity within the ambit of the law.

While blaming some politicians for the insecurity in the region, he said: “Ebube Agu is to protect the lives of everyone in the South-East,” the governor stressed.

Recently, the eastern part of the country has come under intense attacks as gunmen assail residents, police formations and prisons, freeing thousands of inmates.

This forced the governors of the region to launch a security outfit to complement the efforts of the security agencies in the fight against crimes.

FEC Approves N654m To Monitor Illegal Frequencies In South East

 

The Federal Executive Council has approved the sum of N653,886,584 to procure and deploy a hybrid spectrum monitoring system that will cover the southern part of the country, most importantly the south-east.

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Issa Pantami, disclosed this on Wednesday, at the end of the 18th virtual Federal Executive Council meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari at State House in Abuja.

According to him, the investigation carried out in five geo-political zones, the north-east, north-west, north-central, south-west and south-south, revealed that out of the 320 frequencies discovered, 106 were illegal and based on the advice of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the illegal frequencies will be prosecuted.

 

 

Mr Pantami described the use of illegal frequencies in the country which according to him, has become very rampant, as worrisome.

He explained that the initial monitoring did not cover the southeastern part of the country, hence the need for the council’s approval.

South East Governors Ask Teachers To Undergo Compulsory COVID-19 Tests

A file photo of Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ forum and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi

 

The governors of the southeast have asked teachers in the country to undergo compulsory COVID-19 test.

The Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ forum and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, disclosed this at the Government House in Abakaliki, the state capital while briefing newsmen of the outcome of the virtual meeting of the forum on Sunday.

Umahi said the forum also reviewing the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region, adding that school infrastructures will be reviewed to support the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols pending when the Federal government decides on when it is safe to reopen schools.

While urging the Igbo people to continue to comply with the COVID-19 protocols, the governor said eastern states will commence COVID-19 testing on every household, targeting people of 65 years and above.

To Reopen Or Not

The South-East Governors’ decision comes as the debate on whether to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic continues.

On July 13, the federal government released guidelines for the safe reopening of school.

“Now is the time to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities,” Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said.

“As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities.”

Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, gives an update in Abuja on Monday, June 22, 2020.

 

However, schools have remained closed across the country as the pandemic rages on.

The federal government has relaxed restrictions to allow final year secondary school students prepare and sit for WAEC examinations, but many have voiced concerns on the health implications of such a move.

“For the avoidance of doubts, schools have not resumed,” Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said on July 2. “Only critical examination classes will be allowed to resume for those who need revision before examinations.

“As we have informed you, the Federal Ministry of Education will consult further with stakeholders before issuing guidelines that will lead to full resumption.

“We appeal to Nigerians to continue to show understanding and to ensure that their wards take full advantage of electronic platforms provided for learning.”

On Sunday, Nigeria reported 555 new cases of COVID-19, pushing the country’s total caseload past the 40,000-mark, according to the NCDC.

 

Nnamdi Kanu Calls Off IPOB Election Boycott In Southeast

 

A pro-Biafran separatist group on Friday said it had lifted its call for a boycott of Nigeria’s presidential and parliamentary elections this weekend.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) wants independence for the Igbo people who are in the majority in southeast Nigeria and had urged its supporters not to vote on Saturday.

IPOB’s self-styled “supreme leader”, former London estate agent Nnamdi Kanu, has said the action was part of a wider call for a referendum on sovereignty.

But he tweeted late on Thursday that the boycott was lifted as all the group’s “preconditions and terms have been met, signed, sealed and delivered”.

Kanu, who is in his 40s, disappeared after an army raid on his home in Umuahia in September 2017. He re-emerged in Israel in October last year and is now in Britain.

READ ALSOINEC Reprints Voter Register, Relocates Office Gutted By Fire In Plateau

The IPOB high command confirmed the decision in a statement on Friday, but neither it nor Kanu gave further details, although it promised to publish more details at a later date.

That will likely fuel speculation of a deal between the group and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, who stood to lose out if voters stayed at home.

The five states in southeast Nigeria have just over 10 million registered voters and have long been a stronghold for the PDP.

The party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has chosen an Igbo politician, Peter Obi, as his running mate.

Abubakar, a former vice-president, has also said he is in favour of restructuring Nigeria’s federal system, by devolving more power from the centre.

The southeast has long complained it has been marginalised by successive governments and military regimes since the end of the civil war in 1970.

The conflict, which killed more than one million people, started after a unilateral declaration of an independent republic of Biafra in 1967.

No Igbo politician has held high office since 1983, when Alex Ekwueme was Shehu Shagari’s vice-president.

Shagari and Ekwueme were ousted in a coup led by army general Muhammadu Buhari, who has been civilian president since 2015.

Southeast Governors Meet In Enugu

Governors of the Southeast states and lawmakers in the Federal and State Houses of Assembly are currently meeting in Enugu, the Enugu state capital.

The meeting which is holding at the Enugu State Government House, also has the President General of the Ohaneze Indigbo, Chief John Nwodo, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Anambra Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke in attendance.

This is the first meeting of the southeast leaders since they announced the proscription of the activities of IPOB on September 15, 2017.

Today’s talks are expected to centre on the IPOB issues, their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this month, as well as the Anambra governorship election scheduled for November the 18th.

 

PHOTOS: Southeast Governors Forum Gets New Executives

The Southeast Governors Forum has sworn in executives into the forum.

The executives include Prof Otuanya Simon as Director General of the Forum,  Dr. Udah Michael Ikechukwu as Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Olandu as Director Finance and Administration, Engr. Chibuke Amechi as Director of Projects.

Earthquake Leaves At Least 21 Dead In Central Italy

earthquakeAt least 21 people including children have died in Central Italy after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck 76 kilometre, Southeast of the city of Perugia.

In Rome, reports say some buildings shook for 20 seconds and a family of four were found under rubble in the town of Accumoli. Several people remain trapped under the rubble.

“One person was pulled out of the rubble during the night,” said Mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci.
“There is a family of four under a collapsed house and sadly there are two small children among them.”

Some of the worst damage was in the town of Amatrice, where several people died and rescue efforts were under way to find survivors.

“The roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone. There are people under the rubble. There’s been a landslide and a bridge might collapse,” Mayor of Amatruice, Sergio Perozzi told BBC.

Italy’s civil protection has described the earthquake as “severe” and the united states geological survey also predicted that the damage could be significant, based on data from previous quakes.

In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the Aquila region, which was also felt in the Italian capital, left more than 300 dead.

APC Assures Nigerians Of Productive Leadership

APC-members organise prayer in kadunaThe National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr John Oyegun, has assured Nigerians that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would live up to expectations during the first 100 days in office.

Mr Oyegun, who was represented by National Vice Chairman of the APC in Southeast, Mr Emma Enukwu stated this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, during a south-east Solidarity Rally organised in honour of the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, and his Vice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

He insisted that the results generated from the south-east region during the last Presidential elections were not the true reflections and wishes of the people of the south-east, saying that the APC government will always ensure free and fair elections, portraying the wishes of the masses.

While addressing the crowd, the Ebonyi State Chairman of the party, Eze Nwachukwu, also commended the national and south-east leaders of the APC for their quest to change Nigeria.

Other National Officers, who spoke to Channels Television, said most of the people in the south-east do not believe in the course of the APC before now. It is obvious that with the event, the entire region has defected to the party, they said.

The event was graced by former Governor of old Abia State, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the National Organising Secretary of the party, Senator Osita Izunaso, National Auditor of the party, Chief George Moghalu and the Deputy National Financial Secretary,  Sunday Chukwu, amongst others.

At the event, new members of the party that defected from other political parties in the state were welcomed.