By Chioma Gabriel, Emeka Mamah, Ugochukwu Alaribe & Dennis Agbo
ENUGU—AS the October 1 deadline for quit notice extended to the Igbo residing in parts of Northern Nigeria by Arewa youths draws nearer, the South East Governors have reassured Ndigbo in every part of Nigeria that they are on top of the situation and should not panic or feel threatened.
This is as Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State yesterday said that any form of war will cost the Igbo N3 trillion both in properties and assets, adding that Igbos are being deceived by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, that they will drive away Nigeria and give the people Biafra.
The Governors said they were determined to ensure that the lives and property of every Igbo in Nigeria are protected.
They also resolved to take the Independent Power plant in Aba, Abia state, Geometric power, as model for power integration in the zone.
The resolutions were parts of the outcome of the meeting of South East Governors’ Forum that took place in Enugu, yesterday.
The Governors also noted that the forum has thrown it’s weight behind the scheduled November 18 governorship election in Anambra state to ensure that the election is conducted peacefully and successfully.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ebonyi state, Chief David Umahi, who addressed newsmen after the meeting also said they resolved to establish five Gas plants in the zone, emulating Shell BP model in Abia State.
Umahi said: “The Geometric power company made a presentation to us on Aba power plant and we commend them very highly for bringing the project up to 99 percent. Of course, they have completed the project, they are just renovating some of the injection stations of the plant and we have adopted that power plant as a model for our regional integration.
“We commend them and we throw our weight behind the success of that project.
“In the same vein, we commend the Shell and her partner in the Gas project at Asa, Abia State and we as Governors of the South East states have proposed to build five mega industrial clusters, one in each state and we have signified interest to benefit from this Asa Gas project and so we have set up a committee to liaise with all the stakeholders in this respect, and I can assure you that this will assist the South East very highly.
“We have also as a people at South East Governors Forum, thrown our weight behind November 2017 governorship election in Anambra State, and appeal to all stakeholders to ensure that we have a very peaceful election in Anambra State.”
Okorocha warns against another civil war
Okorocha spoke even as two Igbo groups, the Igbo Peoples Congress and the Igbo Aborigines have written to the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS; African Union, AU and the United Nations, UN, over the spewing of hate songs and speech from unknwon sources in the North and which is spreading like wild fire in the entire North.
Speaking when he gave 16 newly-recognized traditional rulers in the state their respective Staff of Office and Certificates of Recognition, Okorocha regretted that even when the cloud is gathering storm over IPOB activities, those who should be talking like traditional rulers, leaders and pastors have chosen to keep mute.
The governor also hinted at the event that pensioners in the state will be paid their arrears in full next week,, stating that his administration would continue to work and take steps that would ensure that pensioners in the state are paid as at and when due.
His words: “The cloud is gathering storm, nobody is talking. Even our traditional rulers, pastors and leaders, are keeping quiet. This is bad for our people. If you will remember vividly, during the civil war, it was a similar story. That was how it all started. At that time, we believed that the Ohafia warriors will be able to fight and eliminate the North.
“Now we are being deceived that IPOB will drive away Nigeria and give us Biafra. Our pastors, men of God and some leaders in the rural areas are not speaking out against this action and the song of war is coming gradually like a desert encroachment. We fought the war and it was believed that the Igbo will learn from it but they still went ahead, developing the resources of other regions.
“There are five million Igbos living outside the shores of Igbo land. Any form of war will cause them over three trillion naira loss in properties and assets. No sane person will spread the message of war because it does not benefit the Igbo in any way. I urge you traditional rulers to speak against it and educate our people on the true state of things. Igbo need to build a bridge of unity across the nation.”
Igbo groups write ECOWAS, AU, UN
The Igbo Peoples Congress and the Igbo Aborigines in their letters called on ECOWAS, AU and UN to intervene in the Igbo situation now before it is too late as it happened in Rwanda in 1994.
They called on the Federal Government, InterPol and Northern leaders to get to the root of the matter.
“This is how it started in the 60s and before one knew it, it had snowballed into the genocide against Easterners between May and October, 1966 and the horrendous civil war that followed,” they said.
The groups however called on Ndigbo, Easterners and Southerners in the North to remain vigilant while Middle Beltans should also be wary.
They noted that no other race is more pan-Nigerian than Igbos and those now paying lips service to Nigeria unity were the same people whose forebears at every point before independence sought to secede from Nigeria unless the nation was built on their own terms and who, even after the July 29, 1966 putsch shouted and insisted on ‘Arabah’ (secession) until the British advised them against it.
The groups’ position were signed by Pastor Okey Colbert for the Igbo Peoples Congress and Mazi Chidi Obisike for the Igbo Aborigines.
Anti-Igbo song, wake-up call to Ndigbo — Group
Meantime, a pro-Biafra group, Biafra Liberation Council, BLC, has said the anti-Igbo message being circulated in the North is a wake-up to Ndigbo living in other parts of Nigeria.
The group stated the hate song points to the inevitable crisis which would cause implosion among the component units of the federation, and urged Ndigbo not to be caught unawares.
In a statement signed by the Admin Secretary of BLC, Austin-Mary Ndukwu, the group warned those fanning the embers of hatred against Ndigbo that the Rwanda genocide, which took place in 1994 started through hate messages between the Tutsis and Hutus ethnic groups and assured that Ndigbo would never be intimidated by the hate messages.