Southeast governors, others reject agitation for Biafra


Igbo leaders seek restructuring

Arewa Youths to reconsider quit notice

Political leaders in the Southeast have disowned the campaign for secession being championed by the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The secession calls gained momentum after Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged treason, was released from prison on bail.

The leaders were accused of keeping silent while the separatist group, joined by a faction of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB), shut down commercial activities in the Southeast on May 30.

Following this, a group of youths in the North gave the Igbo an October deadline to leave the region.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo held series of meetings with political and religious leaders as well as traditional rulers from the North and the Southeast. He declared at the end of the meetings that there was a consensus that Nigera would remain indivisible. He said all grievances would be addressed.

The Igbo leaders who met in Enugu yesterday said they resolved in favour of a united Nigeria “where peace, love, fairness, justice, equity and equal opportunity are paramount, regardless of creed, ethnicity, gender or political affiliation”.

They rejected the claim by MASSOB and IPOB that they speak for the zone.

At the meeting were the five Southeast governors, National Assembly members, led by Deputy Senatre President Ike Ekweremadu, apex Igbo socio-cultural Igbo organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo, religious leaders and other others.

The meeting ended in the wee hours of yesterday with a communique read by Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi, chairman of the Southeast Governors Forum. It condemned hate speeches and conducts emanating from any segment of Nigeria.

The Igbo leaders supported the restructuring of Nigeria on the basis of fairness and equity.

The communique states: ”We therefore call on the Federal Government and all Nigerian leaders to commence a process of dialogue among Nigerians on the modalities of achieving this pressing question within a reasonable time frame.

“Ndigbo support the report of the National Conference of 2014 and urge the Federal government to set up structures that will enable the implementation of same within a reasonable time.

“That the South East governors, members of the National Assembly from the South East and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo should henceforth constitute the official organs that will speak on behalf of Ndigbo on political matters.

“That the South East leaders in consultation with leaders from other parts of the country, will engage the Federal government on all areas of concerns to Ndigbo and to Nigeria as a whole.”

The leaders assured Ndigbo residing in other parts of the country of protection. Besides, they promised to ensure the safety of non-Igbo in the Southeast.

Also at the meeting were the Ohanaeze leadership, led by its President John Nwodo, former Senate Presidents Ken Nnamani and Adolphus Wabara, former Chief of General staff Commodore  Ebitu Ukiwe, former Ebonyi State Governor Sam Egwu; Minister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu; former Inspector General of Police Ogbonnaya Onovo and former Ohanaeze President Gary Enwo Igariwey.

There were also traditional rulers, including Obi of Onitsha Alfred Achebe; National Chairman of United Peoples Party (UPP), Chekwas Okorie, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, Bishop Maxwell Anikwenwa; Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe, Gilbert Nnaji, Chukwuka Utazi,  and Ben Obi as well as members of the House of Reps, among others.