Governors of the South-east zone rose from an emergency meeting in Enugu yesterday and proscribed all activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the region, even as they appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the military from the zone.
In an eleven-point communique issued at the end of the meeting in which they reviewed the prevailing security situation in the zone and its attendant consequences, the governors insisted that they would no longer tolerate the separatist group.
They asked IPOB and all other aggrieved groups to articulate their position on all national issues and submit to the Committee of Governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and National Assembly members from the zone through the chairman of the South-east Governors’ Forum, David Umahi of Ebonyi State.
In the Communique which was read by Umahi, the governors also noted that the entire zone including the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and National Assembly members reinforced their commitment to a united and indivisible Nigeria.
“All governors of the south-east zone are to ensure compliance in their respective states,” Umahi said.
They insisted that police be allowed to perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order.
The governors also reinforced their desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.
They also reiterated their earlier position that the November 18, 2017 gubernatorial election in Anambra State must hold contrary to the order by the now proscribed IPOB.
The governors noted that they had taken concrete steps to protect lives and property of both indigenes and non-indigenes in the zone, adding that they are in touch with the Northern Governors Forum, who they said have equally assured them of the safety of “all our people living in the north and we have also planned for exchange of visits between the governors to reinforce the confidence of Nigerians in this respect”.
They reassured Nigerians that full investigation on all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the zone within the last couple of days have commenced, adding that they are in agreement with the security agencies that appropriate action be taken against anyone found culpable.
The governors therefore advised all residents of the zone to be law abiding and go about their normal businesses as government of each of the states remained committed to protecting everybody.
Those who attended the meeting were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Dave Umahi of Ebonyi state and chairman of the forum, and Prince Eze Madumere, Deputy Governor of Imo State.
Others include the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo; former Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State and Vice President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof Chigozie Ogbu and Prof Joy Ezeilo representing the Human Rights Community.
Umahi said the leadership of IPOB was invited to the meeting but could not attend.