16 September 2017
By Ugwu Izuchukwu and Chukwudera Eze
Southeast governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and incumbent Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, on Friday, September 15, jointly banned the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in all the south eastern states in order to quell the present high tension capable of plunging the country into avoidable civil war.
This decision was taken in an emergency meeting held at the Enugu state government house.
The governors of the southeast states summoned the emergency meeting in order to deliberate on the recent clash between IPOB and Nigerian army in the region.
The meeting was attended by Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia state, Willie Obiano of Anambra state and the Imo state deputy governor, Eze Madumere.
The meeting also had in attendance Chief Nnia Nwodo, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, and Gen. Adamu Abubakar, the general officer commanding, 82 Division, Enugu.
While pronouncing the ban after a meeting that lasted for about two hours, Governor Umahi said: “All activities of IPOB are hereby proscribed. IPOB and all other aggrieved groups are advised to articulate their position on all national issues and submit to the committee of governors and National Assembly members from Southeast zone, through the chairman, southeast governors’ forum.”
From the emergency meeting, the south-east governors agreed to meet with some other key leaders and stakeholders of the zone to deliberate and map out a good plan on how to address the situation and challenges posed by Nnamdi Kanu in south-east.
Earlier, the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, had petitioned the European Union on the ongoing military operation in south-east region of Nigeria and had called for interventions.
Also, recently, the Nigerian military labeled IPOB as a terrorist group. The Defense Headquarters said they followed analysis by the military on the various activities of the IPOB and that DHQ and Armed Forces had profiled the IPOB as a terrorist organization.
Speaking during the meeting of south-east leaders, Governor Umahi of Ebonyi stated that he “South-east Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and National Assembly Members do hereby reinforce their commitment to a united and indivisible Nigeria.”
“We also reinforce our desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.”
The meeting also reiterated their earlier position that the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra must hold.
“Accordingly, we appeal to Mr. President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammad’s Buhari GCFR to please, withdraw the military in the South-east zone, while police perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order,” he added.
Mr. Umahi said the South-east governors have taken concrete steps to protect the lives and property of non-indigenes in the region.
He said that the governors were in touch with the Northern Governors Forum and that the latter assured them of the safety of all Igbos living in the north. He said the Igbo Governors plan to exchange visits with their northern counterparts.
“In keeping with our earlier position, we wish to assure Nigerians that full investigation is ongoing on all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the in the South-east zone within this period. The governors and the security agencies are in agreement that appropriate action be taken against anyone found culpable,” he said.