Southeast leaders in a meeting on Sunday warn the agitators for Biafra Republic that they don’t have their support ion their agitation.
The Igbo leaders have distanced themselves from the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other pro-Biafra groups, saying the generality of the people of the geo-political zone wants to remain as part of a united, not a balkanized Nigeria.
Those at the meeting are: Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Imo Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku; Anambra Deputy Governor, Nkem Okeke; former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe; former governor of Ebonyi State, Senator Sam Egwu; former Governor of Imo State, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim, former governor of old Anambra State, Senator Jim Nwobodo and president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor and his predecessor, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Labour and Productivity Minister Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Uche Ogah; former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; elder statesman, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma and Bishop Callistus Onaga of Enugu Anglican and Catholic Dioceses; Southeast CAN Chairman, Bishop Emmanuel Ede and Former INEC chairman, Maurice Iwu, Allison Madueke, Mark Wabara, Senators Julius Ucha and Obinna Ogba as well as traditional rulers.
The Igbo leaders, condemned the resort to violence by the secession agitators and killing of Police and military operatives, attacking and burning of Police stations.
At the end of the four-hour meeting held in Enugu, Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum, read a communique titled: “Agitation; engagement with other regions; those of our people in the North, South East, South-South and South West; IPOB, MASSOB, Youths and Market people, Okada and Keke; Diaspora; Advocacy; and Diplomatic engagement with Foreign Missions.”
The meeting advocated that the Southeast Governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo should liaise with Northerners and other Nigerians living in the Southeast to come out openly to assure their people and Nigerians that they are safe and well protected while living in the area.
According to Umahi the meeting at Enugu by the Igbo leaders was a follow up to the one between Igbo leaders and a presidential delegation led by Defense Minister Bashir Magashi and on June 11, 2021, on the security challenges confronting the region in particular and Nigeria in general.
The communiqué reads: “We the Southeast leaders condemn in totality the violent secessionist agitations in the Southeast. We firmly proclaim that we do not support them. They do not speak for Southeast.
“The impression that South East leaders are silent over the agitations of our youths for secession is not correct.
“South East Governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo President and our National Assembly members, our Ministers and our leadership from Southeast, notable leaders from Southeast had come out publicly many times in the past to speak against such agitations.
“In order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation we found ourselves, Southeast leaders have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow the elders of Southeast to address their fears.
“Meeting directed our Governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo to liaise with indigenes from Northern part of Nigeria and other indigenes of other regions that are living in the Southeast to come out openly to assure their people and Nigerians that they are very safe and well protected while living in the Southeast.
“The meeting also set up a committee under Ohanaeze to articulate and address all burning issues to further meet amongst ourselves and further meet with the presidential team.
“We the Igbo reaffirm commitment to one united Nigeria under the platform of justice, equality of rights, fairness, love and respect for one another.”
The communiqué also noted the threats by some groups in some other regions against the people of Southeast even as the leaders firmly promised to protect everyone either from the Southeast or anywhere living in the Southeast.
“We plead with the leaders of other regions to please note the threats against our people and protect them.
“We condemn the killing of security agents, burning of security infrastructure and killing of civilians in Southeast and even other regions. We request the security agencies to discharge their duties within the rules of engagement under the rule of law.”