South-South, South-East Governors Demand Increased Revenue Allocation

Governors of the South-East and South-South states in a request during its meeting on Sunday night at the Government House, Uyo in Akwa Ibom state, called for the increment of the monthly Federation Allocation to states  to reflect the rise in oil prices and production.

In attendance at the meeting were: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, Enugu State Governor,  Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickso, Anambra State Deputy Governor , Dr Nkem Okeke, Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel and Deputy Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ivra Esu.

In an opening remark at the meeting, Interim Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel said: “While our collective resolve for an indivisible Nigeria remains a cherish response, we wish  to appeal to the Federal Government to demonstrate transparency  in the area of allocation of resources to different parts  of the country.

“It is indeed worrisome that allocations from the Federation Accounts do not seem to reflect  the increase of crude oil production and improve  in oil prices.

“If our people suffered on account of the slump in global oil prices, the rise in the oil prices should not only improve allocations to the states to enable the governors  meet  the expectations of their people, it will also help the  states  to develop in the areas  that  the Federal Government has been unable to reach out to the states. ”

He said as long as the two regions consolidate on her cooperation, it will enhance their  bargaining power in the country.

He said those who appear threatened by what the cooperation  can achieve, have been secretly  working to create division in the forum.

The Forum Chairman expressed happiness  that there is a great commitment  to overcome the challenges of disunity that affected  cooperation in the past.

The forum chairman stated: “May I use  this opportunity to register my profound appreciation to Your Excellencies for reaching  a landmark decision that the two regions should henceforth go in one direction that will be beneficial  to the political future of the people of both regions.

“This  decision is heartwarming and holds the hope for the political security of our people within the Nigerian entity.”

He added: “Facts indicate that the formation  of this body was long overdue.  That it has finally come is a testimony of a renewed strategy  that is a template with global best practices.

“The cooperation we are rapidly building, the forthrightness we are exuding in our collective challenges, is reassuring.  I am confident that  our people  will be better for it.In our previous meetings, we identified  some of problems which includes, the dearth of infrastructure in both regions, the rising tides of agitation in different parts of the country, the call for restructuring and issues of security. ”

 

Wise Men Still Come From The East, By Femi Adesina

…the region must start playing astute politics. It must leave the shadows for light. It must sustain the hand of fellowship it has extended to the rest of the country, as shown in the warm reception for the president in Ebonyi and Anambra states. Wise men abound in that region, I say again.

At his incarnation, wise men gifted in astronomy came from the East, all the way to Bethlehem, in the south of Jerusalem, to worship Jesus Christ. They are today known as the Magi, who gave the newborn gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

There is a lot to say on the significance of each gift item, but that is not the purpose of the writing today. Maybe, another day, as the need arises. What we need from that nativity story is that the wise men came all the way from the East, following a star that led them to Bethlehem. In our country Nigeria, we have the geo-political zone called the South-east, and wise men still come from there. In plenty numbers. This week, it was brought out in bold relief.

President Muhammadu Buhari was in two states of the South-East on Tuesday and Wednesday, and what a delightsome, myth-shattering visit it has become. It is one visit that has torpedoed the negative narrative deliberately conjured by some mischief makers over the years, that President Buhari does not like people from the East, and neither do the people like him.

Now, that assertion is fiction, pure apocryphal, conjured and concocted by some people to serve narrow political ends. In his first shot at the presidency in 2003, who was Buhari’s running mate? Dr. Chuba Okadigbo. Where did he come from? Ogbunike, town of the famous cave, in the South-East. And in 2007, candidate Buhari looked towards the East again. He picked Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, a former speaker of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic, as running mate. And in 2011, I remember very clearly. Buhari was on the march again, and needed a running mate. Socio-political leadership of the South-East forbade any of its sons from being running mate to anyone. Their candidate, they said, was Goodluck Jonathan, who then was completing the term of Umaru Yar’Adua. So, Buhari looked westward, and picked the cleric, Tunde Bakare. But did he demonstrate any animus towards the East? Not at all.

In 2015, the man, easily the most colourful politician, greatest crowd puller of this season in Nigeria, threw his hat into the ring again. The East was still in bed with Jonathan, completely besotted, vowing to swim or sink with their brother, Ebele Azikiwe.

Buhari looked westward again, picked Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as running mate. A large part of the East was dug in, not minding to play what may be called ‘poor politics’ in the process. When the dust of the elections settled, Jonathan was holding the shorter end of the stick. Buhari coasted to the presidency, but the entire East had given him just about 180,000 votes, less than what some local councils gave in other parts of the country. To make matters worse, the East had refused to re-elect its own son, Dr. Chris Ngige, as senator. If Ngige had been given a mandate, he would have effortlessly emerged Senate President, and see what the region would have benefitted. But the large number opted for self-immolation, voted Ngige out, and later began to scream marginalisation. But if you ask me, it was a self-inflicted wound. The result of poor politics.

That was the background that some people twisted, and used to paint the scenario that President Buhari does not like the South-East.

But happily, there were voices of reason from the region, pre-2015 presidential election. The Ralph Obiohas, Chris Ngiges, Festus Odimegwus, Fr. Ejike Mbakas, Orji Uzor Kalus, Osita Okechukwus, J.C Ojukwus, and many others, had warned their people not to put their eggs in one basket. And they have turned out to be wise men, being joined today by thousands of other wise people.

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You know what the mistakes of 2015 did to Ndigbo? It consigned them to perpetual opposition politics, playing in the periphery. For such an illustrious and enterprising people, that was unfortunate, if not tragic. If they continued that way, there was no silver lining in the sky for the future. Nigeria is configured in a way that the person who builds the largest coalition is the one who can emerge president. The Igbo should naturally produce the president one day, that is what fairness demands. But how would that ever happen, if they continue to play poor politics? If you continue to swim in small pools, you stand the risk of being submerged in bigger waters. But now, things are changing. The wise men are making a difference.

Back to Ebonyi, the famed Salt of the Nation, where we arrived last Tuesday. Governor Dave Umahi is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and he is also Igbo. If he were to play narrow politics, he should have nothing to do with President Buhari. But the Ebonyi State helmsman has proven himself a wise man from the East. He has cultivated a good relationship with the president, and achieved the feat of being the first state in the South-East to host the president on a State Visit. President Buhari consented to the visit, thus showing him to be a pan-Nigerian leader, a true father of the nation. If overriding sentiments had prevailed, then the president would not have chosen a state controlled by the opposition PDP for his visit, and definitely, not a state in a ‘hostile region.’ But not President Buhari, who has always maintained that no part of the country would be treated unfairly under his watch.

Landing at Enugu airport, before proceeding to Abakaliki, capital of Ebonyi State, by chopper, was the first breath of fresh air. The airport was gaily decorated, with banners, billboards and posters of the president and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, who was also on hand to receive the president. He is also of the PDP, but a wise man from the East. You don’t play the politics that shuts you out of the national grid, lest you get sentenced to perpetual half current, or no current at all. The reception at Enugu airport, and, indeed, in all the places we visited, in Abakaliki and Awka, would make you relish and savour the aroma of brotherhood and national cohesion.

Emeka Ojukwu junior, son of Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who used the occasion to publicly join the APC, summed it all up, by pointing out that when his father came back from exile in the early 1980s, he did not join a regional party, but opted for a national one. He concluded: “It is time to stop operating in the periphery. It is time to leave the shadows for light.”

Before the visit, there had been attempts by those behind negative narratives, to frighten the president away. They forgot he was a General, and such people don’t scare easily. However, the reception and applause all round gave a true picture of what subsists in the country. This is a president widely and massively loved-in the North, the South, East and West.

Not only is Govenor Dave Umahi a wise man from the East, the royal fathers in his state are of the same mind. They gave President Buhari the traditional title of Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi, meaning Trustworthy Friend of Ebonyis. Commendable.

Also joining the train of wisdom, are the traditional rulers of South-East, as a body. They gave the president the title Ochioha Ndigbo, meaning Leader of Igbo People. I tell you, this is the way to build a cohesive nation, promote brotherliness, and guarantee fairness and equity, rather than the poor politics of the past. More than at any other time, the wise men from the East have given a handshake across the Niger, and only the future will show the positive impact of that initiative.

Former Ebonyi State governor, Sam Egwu, immediate past governor, Martin Elechi, former Senate president, Anyim Pius Anyim, former culture minister, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, former senator, Julius Ucha, and many others, were part of the healing process in the East. Ogbuewu said President Buhari, by the visit, had proven that he was not truly for some people, but for all Nigerians. Egwu, on his part, disclosed that Gov. Umahi had charged those of them currently in the National Assembly from Ebonyi, to always give support to policies of the federal government, despite belonging to different political parties. That’s the way to go.

The traditional rulers of the South-East, through their leader, Eze Eberechi Dick, commended the president for fighting insecurity, for fighting corruption, promoting agriculture, and generally bringing hope of a better future.

“You are a great leader. We love you so much. We are solidly behind you,” the monarch said.

Trust the president to throw in a wisecrack. After being decorated with the paraphernalia of chieftaincy, he said:”I will tell my personal photographer to frame the picture, and I will put it in my sitting room in Daura, where I will eventually end up.” That’s a man who knows the transience of power and official positions. East or West, home is the best. Daura would always be home.

When the president entered the township stadium in Abakaliki, the applause was inspiring. One was tempted to ask, is this not in the South-East, where they say they don’t like Buhari? The same thing was to repeat itself in Awka, when the president entered the Alex Ekwueme Square, where the campaign for Anambra governorship, holding this Saturday, was being concluded. It was applause all the way, signposting the fact that the East was ready to jettison poor politics, and return to the mainstream. It was a roll call of who is who in Nigerian politics from the South-East, who have now teamed up with the All Progressives Congress (APC). Emeka Ojukwu junior, son of Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who used the occasion to publicly join the APC, summed it all up, by pointing out that when his father came back from exile in the early 1980s, he did not join a regional party, but opted for a national one. He concluded: “It is time to stop operating in the periphery. It is time to leave the shadows for light.” Home truth for all Nigerians, and for Ndigbo particularly, if you ask me.

There is no way you can tell the Igbos not to aspire for presidency of Nigeria at a time in future. It will be contrary to fairness and justice. But then, the region must start playing astute politics. It must leave the shadows for light. It must sustain the hand of fellowship it has extended to the rest of the country, as shown in the warm reception for the president in Ebonyi and Anambra states. Wise men abound in that region, I say again.

During the reception in Ebonyi, Govenor Umahi announced a gift of 2,000 bags of rice, 2,000 tubers of yam, and a white horse to the president. I saw the Enyioma 1 of Ebonyi open his mouth in amazement. While thanking his host for the gift, he promised to send the cargo to Daura, his hometown, for the people to share. Trust me, I told Mohammed Sarki Abba, the president’s senior aide, seated beside me: “I’ll ask Mr. President for 50 of those bags of rice, before you send them to Daura. I’ll then distribute them to my own friends in the name of Ochioha Ndigbo.”

And that’s exactly what I’ll do. The Enyioma 1 would surely oblige. Lol.

Femi Adesina is special adviser on media and publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari.

17 Southern Governors To Meet Tomorrow

Twelve years after a similar gathering was held under the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, 17 governors from the South West, South East and South South are to meet in Lagos on Monday to discuss latest national issues and forge stronger relations.

A statement by the Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), Mr Tunji Bello, said the meeting would be co-hosted by the Governors of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode and Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom.

Bello said the Governors would also be expected to adopt a common position on the issues of armed robbery, kidnapping, devolution of powers and issue of fiscal federalism which have all gained prominence of late.

“The 2017 Lagos summit of the 17 Southern Governors representing the South South, South West and South East zones is expected to come up with a communiqué after the deliberation. It is noteworthy to recall that the inaugural meeting of the Southern Governors took place in Lagos in 2001 under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”

The statement added that the predominance of views is that if the Southern States speak with one voice, they are bound to attract weighty and credible listenership.

Governors from the South East and South-South Zones have been meeting intermittently. The latest was on October 9 in Owerri where they rejected calls for the breakup of the country while rallying support for its continued existence as an indivisible entity.

It said that the bond between the South-East and South-South zones was much more than political party considerations.

Just In: Buhari Meets South-East Leaders In Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with leaders from South-east region of the country at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The detail of the meeting yet unknown but it is not unconnected with spate of violence in the region especially kidnapping and proscribed IPOB.

Those attending the meeting include state governors from the zone, ministers as well as the leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Governors in attendance include those of Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi States. Imo State is being represented by the deputy governor.

Details later…..

S’East Governors To Rehabilitate IPOB Members

South East Governors has spoken about plans that were underway to empower and rehabilitate members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in their respective states into a meaningful venture.

South- East Governors’ Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi stated this in Ishielu Local government area of the state during the celebration of the state’s peace day.

He noted that the governors had reached a resolution bearing in mind that some of the youth were misled into joining the outlawed IPOB group.

He said Ebonyi state would soon commence the rehabilitation and empowerment exercise for the youth who were misled into joining IPOB in the state.

Besides, the governor, who disclosed that South-East Governors had been commended and condemned since they announced the proscription of IPOB, said that they had no apologies for their action as they would still do the same if such situation presents itself again.

Umahi said: “As governors, we have said that some of these youths were misled into doing this group. We agreed that they must be re-absorbed and reintegrated back into the society and rehabilitate them to get something doing with their hands.

“I will ask the for Youths Empowerment to open a register where some of these youths who were misled into joining this group will come and enter their names. By my words, we must rehabilitate them into the meaningful venture in Ebonyi state.

“On the issue of proscribing IPOB, people were sending us text messages, some were commending us, some were condemning us, and some were praising us while some abused us. But our people must know something: agitation does not mean insulting the leaders of AlaIgbo. “It is not about insulting the sitting President. It is not about insulting other tribes.

You can’t achieve anything from that. You cannot. It is the peace that a house is built. And I think that the issue of agitation when you make your point, it should not degenerate into self-help. “As governors, we make all efforts to see that there is real peace.

So, we sat as governors to proscribe IPOB. We did that to save 12 million lives of Igbo that are living in Northern Nigeria and other parts of the country. And we have no apologies for saving the lives of not only Igbo but other ethnic groups that are within the South-East. “If the opportunity comes again, we will be unrepentant to do same.

“It is not about having ministers and all that. It is about giving the South- East additional state. It is about creating more local government areas to be like others. Other ones come and go but these are very important things that will help us develop.”

IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu Flees Into Hiding

Following the declaration the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group by the Nigerian military, the organisation’s founder, Nnamdi Kanu, and top leaders of his group appear to have gone into hiding following their sudden disappearance from Kanu’s country home in Afaraukwu and other usually frequented places.

Reports suggest that Kanu and others were advised to go underground after the declaration and the organisation’s open rejection by Governors in the South East.

According to The Punch, an IPOB member said, “We have to apply wisdom to whatever we are doing. We have realised that there is a grand conspiracy against Kanu and other top leaders of our group.

“Just imagine barely few hours after the Nigerian military declared members of IPOB and other pro-Biafran groups as terrorists, our own governors came up with their own outright ban of our activities.

“This definitely will give the soldiers and other security agencies the opportunity to arrest our leader and mount a deadly clampdown on all IPOB members. So, it is better to operate from a hideout for now.”

The newspaper also reports that Kanu’s younger brother has refused to give him away, saying “Only my brother can tell Nigerians where he is, I can’t. I don’t know why the Army should call IPOB a terrorist organisation, it is out of their desperation to arrest Nnamdi and frustrate the Biafran struggle. We have petitioned the United Nations and the European Union. The world knows that IPOB is a non-violent organisation, we don’t carry arms, we don’t kill, and we believe violence can never solve any problem.

“Nnamdi will soon disclose his current location and IPOB will also react to the proscription of the group by the South-East governors’ forum.”

Although Kanu’s pending case in court comes up later in October, security agencies including the Nigerian Police, the DSS and the military have the order to arrest Kanu on sight and the search for him is on.

EFCC Gives Account Of Looted Funds In S/East

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has announced the recovery of N553.77m from corrupt politicians in the South Eastern part of the country.
The Zonal Head of Operations of the commission, Mr Johnson Babalola, made this disclosure at a news briefing on Tuesday in Enugu.
Babalola said the news briefing was held to acquaint members of the public on the activities of the commission in the past seven months.
He said that the commission recovered N300m, N82.5m and N60m from politicians in Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu States respectively.
“We have recovered N300m out of N400m in Ebonyi. In Abia, we recovered N82.5m out of N450m while we got N60m in Enugu out of N450m.
“However, we are facing some challenges in Anambra and Imo but the commission is working on them,” he said.
“Within the period, we received a total of 503 petitions from Nigerians out of which 333 were approved for investigation while others not under our the purview of the EFCC were referred to sister agencies.
“We charged 88 of such cases to court and have so far obtained five convictions,” he said.
Babalola said that the judiciary had been of immense help in line with its constitutional mandate in spite of the antics of the suspects.
“Some of them have sued us for fundamental rights violations and enforcement but the judiciary has been cooperating with us.
“We have not been found to have impugned on the rights of others,” he said.
He said that the then executive members of the PDP in Abia were under investigation for their alleged complicity in the 2015 campaign fund fraud.
“Recovering stolen funds from politically exposed persons is not easy. The people we are dealing with take painstaking efforts to perfect the fraud.
“Some of the money had left the shores of this country and we have written the foreign countries from here,” he said.
“We have discovered some of the bogus projects used by the corrupt politicians to corner the stolen funds and very soon we shall come out with our findings,” Babalola said

Nnamdi Kanu: Why I Rejected Deal for Biafra With Only Five Igbo States

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), says he was made an offer in detention to secede with the five Igbo states but that he rejected the offer because it did not constitute the complete territory of Biafra.

“They gave me Biafra in prison with only the five Igbo states; I said no, I want Benue and Rivers states inclusive,” Mr. Kanu said, Wednesday while addressing leaders of an Igbo civil society coalition who visited him at his country home in Umuahia, Abia State.

The IPOB leader also said he was offered an oil block and mansions in Dubai to back out of the struggle for Biafra but that had also rejected the “Greek gift”.

He however did not disclose who made him the offers and how.

“Self actualization is not war. We are not for war. We are not talking of war but self actualization. Self determination is not war. Any elite that interprets self determination to be war does not understand English.

“Biafra is coming; there is nothing that can stop it, no matter the level of intimidation and blackmail. Some people are running around, saying why must it be Nnamdi Kanu, why not me. I am not an elite, I was born to restore Biafra,” he said.

The IPOB leader also took a swipe at Igbo elites and leaders for what he described as their anti-Biafra activities, blaming them for the deplorable state of roads in the South-east.

“They can’t buy us with money. If I can turn down oil block, turn down mansions in Dubai, what can they offer us? All the roads in Biafra land are in deplorable condition, yet we have elites who are just interested in their pockets,” Mr. Kanu said.

“All the roads in Biafra are bad. Apart from Okpara (late Michael Okpara), Mbonu Ojike and Sam Mbakwe, I have not seen any elite in Igbo land. Let them show us what they have done, no roads, no water, nothing. Because they are in Abuja, they are now elites, let them show us what they have done for the people as elites.”

Mr. Kanu, who is facing charges of treasonable felony at the Federal High Court in Abuja, has been at the vanguard of the call for an independent Biafra Republic from the Nigerian state.

In granting him bail in April after more than a year in detention, Justice Binta Nyako listed 12 conditions, including an order for Mr. Kanu to avoid being seen in a crowd of more than 10 people.

The court also instructed that Mr. Kanu desists from granting interviews or engaging in any form of rallies as part of his conditions for bail.

Since the IPOB leader was freed, he has not only addressed hundreds of his supporters but has also granted media interviews.

In a 16 minutes, 21 seconds video posted on Youtube, last month, Mr. Kanu who is seen speaking to a congregation of Biafran supporters, warned that elections will be boycotted in the South East states starting with the Anambra State gubernatorial elections scheduled for November 18 if the Federal Government fails to hold a referendum for the realisation of the state of Biafra.

Leaders in the South East have expressed concerns over the unrest and calls by IPOB for elections boycott in the region.

Continuation of Kanu’s trial has been adjourned to October 17 by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

October 1 Ultimatum: Arewa Youth Coalition, Ohaneze Meet In Abuja

The leadership of the youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and that of Arewa Youth Coalition has met in Abuja over the recent quit notice handed the Igbos living in various parts of the north to leave the region before October 1 this year.

It was gathered that as fallout of the meeting, the two bodies have set up a dialogue committee with a view to bringing the matter to an end.

Confirming the meeting, spokesperson of the Northern Youth Coalition, Abdulaziz Suleiman said, “We met today with the national leadership of the Ohanaeze Worldwide in Abuja and we had fruitful discussions.

“They assured that the biafra agitation is in most cases only symbolic to protest over perceived marginalization and we all agreed that a dialogue channel has been opened. We all reaffirmed our commitment to one united peaceful Nigeria.

“A joint committee was set up for fast action to bring this matter to an end. In the coming days, we hope to meet with the leaderships of MASSOB and IPOB”.

After a joint meeting tagged ‘Kaduna declaration’, the Northern Youth groups had given the Igbos till October 1 to leave North, an ultimatum which they said took immediate effect.

The youth groups said it was their reaction to the shutting down of major towns in the Southeast on May 30, 2017 by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in pursuit of their agitation for the Republic of biafra.

Represented by their leaders at the meeting were Arewa Citizens Action for Change, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Arewa Youth Development Foundation, Arewa Students Forum and Northern Emancipation Network among others, who vowed not to seat idle but rather to take their destiny in their hands.

South East Constitutes Economic Team

The South East Governors’ Forum has constituted economic team that will be saddled with the responsibility of fashioning economic policies for the zone.

The team would be inaugurated at the next meeting of the Forum on June 5.

Each state submitted two names to make up our economic team, the Chairman of the forum, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, told journalists on Enugu on Sunday.

The governor gave the names of members of the economic team as Dr Chukwuma Agu, Dr Eme Okoro, Mr Ifeatu Onejeme , Mr Mark Okoye and Prof. Benard Odo.

The others are Chief Dennis Ekuma-Nkama, Prof. Barth Nnaji, Prof Osita Ogbu, Mr Obinna Mbata, and Chief Iyke Njoku.

Umahi said that the power situation in the zone featured prominently in their meeting and described the situation in the zone as worrisome and wants urgent steps taken to remedy it.

He said that they were worried that the only independent power plant in state had not been injected into the system.

He said that the injection of power from Geometrix Power Plant in Aba in Abia state, would solve the power needs of the area.

The governor said the forum had taken necessary measures to ensure that the right things were done for entrepreneurs and investors in the area to get value for their businesses.

Umahi said they were not unmindful of the situation with the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, adding that there would be an interface with the management to find solution to their challenges.

“We shall interact with the management of EEDC and find out ways to improve power generation in the zone.

“We thank our governors for the interest in our people. We are at work and assure you of our commitment which is divine,” he said.

Umahi said that the South-East economic agenda was on course and the railway, power, commerce and seaport development feature prominently.

“We have taken some steps which have been referred to our economic team to do preliminary studies and make presentation in our next meeting.

“We also had an interface with the Bank of Agriculture which is very important to the agricultural programme of the zone.’’

He noted that the Anchor Borrowers’ programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria is handled by the bank.

NAN

South East Sues FG Over Neglect, Demands N1trn

Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, rights lawyer, has sued federal government on behalf of South East demanding N1 trillion for alleged neglect of the region.

He is demanding the money for himself and on behalf of the people of south east.

The constitutional lawyer is relying on section 42 of the 1999 constitution and asking for an injunction stopping government from further discrimination against the Igbo people,

The former President of Nigeria Bar Association is asking for the money which should be shared among the five states in the East.

He averred that there was currently a structural imbalance against the South East which has placed the people in political and economic disadvantage.

“Federal legislative representation, ministerial/political and judicial appointments, and revenue allocation contrary to Section 14(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which requires reflection of federal character in conduct of public affairs, and accordingly a violation of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, which prohibits discrimination against the applicant and the Group/Class represented based on Ethnic Grouping and place of origin.”

He is further demanding the creation of two more states in the South-East geo political zone to balance with the seven states in the North-West, and thereby bring to an end the discriminatory practices against the South-East geo political Zone in terms of legislative representation, political and judicial appointments and net federal allocation accruing to the geo-political zone.

The suit is also asking the Federal High Court for an order directing the Federal Government to forthwith, “prepare and send to the National Assembly for enactment, a bill to establish the South-East Development Commission (SEDC) and for ancillary matters, which body shall be charged with the execution of the said master plan and the general development of the South-East geo-political zone.”

Other grounds upon which the action was filed is the alleged abandonment of the Niger Bridge to collapse and failure to build the ‘Second Niger Bridge’ making the applicants feel isolated from other parts of 1st Respondent and causing them apprehension about disaster on crossing the existing bridge.

They cited the abandonment of federal roads, which are death traps and robbery baits and occasioning and constraining on the applicants’ grueling road journeys within the geo-political zone as another reason for the suit.

It is their contention that the failure to develop strategic new roads especially the Anam-Nzam federal road linking the South-East with the North-Central at Idah in Kogi State to give the applicants easy access to the northern part of Nigeria is discriminatory.

The grounds of the suit also include failure to exploit the Oil/Gas Reserves in Anambra Basin and stalling the applicants’ legitimate expectation from employment and derivation funds for development of the Applicant’s South-East Zone.

The applicants further cited the abandonment of the Enugu Colliery and depriving them legitimate expectation from employment and derivation funds for the development of the South-East zone as grounds of their action.

The suit further raised concern over the failure to have an operational international cargo airport at Owerri to aid trading, which causes the applicants to spend huge sums of money to support trading relatives to haul airborne goods by road from Lagos, with the attendant risks.

The failure to dredge the Lower Niger and establish a Port at Onitsha to aid trading which causes the applicants to spend huge sums of money to support trading relatives to haul seaborne goods by road from Port Harcourt or Lagos, with the attendant risks, has also prompted the action of the applicants.

They also alleged disparity in states structure, which puts the South-East zone behind every other geo-political zone in political and judicial appointments and representation at the National Assembly, as well as in revenue allocation.

Also, foisting low revenue allocation status on the South-East Zone as a result of failure to exploit Oil/Gas and Coal and as a result of the said structural imbalance is adduced as a ground for the suit.

The Sun