…Buhari holds closed-door meeting with Northern govs
…Jonathan sues for peace, asks Council of State to intervene
…Senate to meet security chiefs
…Army can’t declare us terrorists— IPOB
…No hiding place for IPOB members in Anambra—Obiano
By Chioma Gabriel, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Dirisu Yakubu & Dennis Agbo
UMUAHIA—The Abia State Police Commissioner, Anthony Ogbizi, has said that with the proscription of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, by governors in the South-East and its declaration as a terrorist group by Defence Headquarters, arrested IPOB members would be tried as terrorists and anybody found with Biafra materials would be arrested and prosecuted.
This came as President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, held a closed-door meeting with some northern governors before departing for New York where he will be attending the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA.
This is even as former President Goodluck Jonathan has called for peaceful coexistence among the different ethnic nationalities.
In a related development, President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said the Senate would meet with security chiefs to chart a path for resolution of contentious issues engendering tension in the South-East.
IPOB members to be tried for murder
Ogbizi disclosed this at a media briefing where he paraded seven of the suspected members of IPOB at Ariaria police station in Aba.
The Police said they have arrested 59 suspected members of IPOB, in Abia State. They also confirmed the death of an officer after an attack by members of the now outlawed group.
He said the suspects would be prosecuted under the anti-terrorism act to ensure they were properly dealt with.
While restating what the army had earlier said, Ogbizi said IPOB had shown itself to be a “terrorist group,” which must be dealt with as such.
Ogbizi said the army recovered several exhibits, including the coat of arms of Biafra from the suspects, adding: “As I am talking to you now, information reaching me said they have started gathering at Nnamdi Kanu’s house.”
Ogbizi called on citizens to volunteer information on the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB and denied the rumours circulating in the state that security agents arrested Kanu’s father.
Buhari holds closed-door meeting with Northern govs
The governors that were in closed-door meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja were Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.
It was gathered that the meeting may not be unconnected with the alleged skirmishes in some parts of the north where people from a section of the country were reportedly being attacked and their shops burnt as a reprisal attack to the recent development in the South-East.
Special Adviser to Governor Tambuwal on Media, Mallam Imam Liman, confirmed the meeting on his Facebook page, yesterday, in Abuja.
…departs to New York
Besides, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, also confirmed the departure of President Buhari to New York, through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Adesina on his Facebook page posted: “President Buhari departs Abuja to New York for 72nd Session of the United Nation General Assembly on Sept. 17, 2017.”
The president, who was accompanied by the governors of Zamfara, Ebonyi and Ondo States as well as key cabinet ministers, would transit through London on his way back to the country.
Buhari would also join other world leaders at the reception to be hosted by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres.
He is also being expected to hold a bilateral meeting with the UN scribe as well as a lunch meeting with President Donald Trump of the United States of America, along with other world leaders.
Jonathan sues for peace
The former president stated this on his Facebook wall, yesterday, in reaction to the deployment of military personnel to Abia state to quell the violent agitation by members of IPOB.
Worried by the sad turn of events, Jonathan called on well-meaning Nigerians to live in peace among themselves even as he called on the Council of States to wade into the crisis in the interest of the nation.
He said: “The reports I have received about recent developments in the country lead me to appeal to all men of goodwill to use whatever influence they have to push for peaceful coexistence and restraint on all sides. Perhaps, it is time for the Council of States to intervene and offer its wise counsel.
“Irrespective of whatever provocation, Nigerians must never turn on each other. Even in the face of difficult circumstances, we must have faith that God in his infinite wisdom will guide us to finding a way out that is fair and just to all concerned.”
Senate to meet security chiefs
According to Saraki, the meeting would address the tension in the South-east and the skirmishes in Plateau.
Saraki said in a statement, yesterday, in Abuja that security agencies, political and religious leaders must work for the promotion of dialogue as a means of tackling agitations, to ensure peace in the country.
In the statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, he urged all Nigerians to maintain peace and avoid statements or actions capable of aggravating the tension in parts of the country.
The president of the senate said that the crises in the country were not unconnected to the economic challenges being faced by citizens.
Army, S-East govs can’t declare us terrorist group—IPOB
Following its declaration as a terrorist group, IPOB has described as illegal and unconstitutional the declaration by the Nigerian Army that it is a terrorist group.
IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, said the Nigerian Army lacked the constitutional power to declare any group as a terrorist group, saying it will ignore the declaration by the Army and any other group and continue its agitation for Biafra restoration.
It said: “We in IPOB condemn the illegal declaration made by Nigerian army labelling the peaceful freedom fighting organisation as IPOB as a terrorist organisation. We found the statement by Nigerian Army a laughable gesture. We will continue doing what we are doing which is peaceful agitation for Biafra freedom.”
Also, yesterday, South East Revival Group, SERG, said it was wrong for the Nigerian military to declare IPOB as a terror group in a bid to justify an unwarranted invasion of Nnamdi Kanu’s home.
While calling on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw troops from Igboland to allow the leaders to conclude their dialogue with the young people engaged in self-determination, the group condemned the leaders in the region for their hasty ban on the activities of the IPOB at a time its efforts towards resolving the current security challenges in South Eastern Nigeria were yielding fruits.
The SERG in a statement by its National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, urged the Federal Government to be mindful of the danger inherent in retaining the deployed troops in the region as it has been misunderstood by the agitators, saying that the IPOB should be engaged in dialogue as the government did with the Arewa youths after their quit notice to Igbo in the north.
It said: “For us, there is no alternative to dialogue. Proper communication and enlightenment remain important tools to ensuring harmony in the country at this time as every part of the country is feeling marginalised in one way or the other.
“We imagine what would have happened if troops were deployed to the north after the eviction notice to the Igbo in the 19 northern states despite call for their arrest by some citizens.
“The Nigerian government gave the leaders in the region the opportunity to exhaust all possible dialogue windows for the resolution of the issue, even at a time the Arewa youths adamantly insisted that the Igbos in the north must go.
“Why the hasty deployment of troops to South-East and invasion of Nnamdi Kanu’s home town, under the guise of a military training exercise, at a time dialogue with the youths and consultations were on-going?”
No hiding place for IPOB members in Anambra —Obiano
Also yesterday, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, said his government has aligned itself completely with the decisions of the South-East governors in the proscription of the activities of IPOB.
The governor who spoke in a statement by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Tony Nnacheta, said there would be no hiding place for mischief makers and anyone who would wish to distort the prevailing peace in the state.
Obiano maintained that he would implement the decisions of the South-East governors to the letter in Anambra State.
He enjoined the people of the state to be vigilant, adding that the security and welfare of the people the area were paramount to his government.
The governor said maximum security cover would be provided for places of worship of all faiths; for housing settlements of non-indigenes, motor parks and all other public places to guarantee the peace and safety of all.
The statement read in part, “Sequel to the decision of the South East Governors forum which met on the 15th of September , 2017, at Enugu, where amongst other decisions, was the proscription of the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra, the Government of Anambra State wishes to state as follows: Government aligns itself with the clarion call from the South East Governors advising all persons with grievances and anxiety to transmit their position through prescribed channels of elected representatives to the forum.
“Government is also firmly in support of the restructuring agenda as announced by the Governors Forum and encourages Ndi Anambra to articulate their thoughts to follow through on this issue.
“The safety of Ndi Anambra and all residents in Anambra, the security of their lives, properties and environment are cardinal priorities of the Willie Obiano Administration which has ensured that everyone goes about freely within our environment without let or hindrance.”