By Vincent Ujumadu – Awka
The South East Governors’ Forum, an umbrella body of the five governors in the South East geopolitical zone, reacted to alleged insensitivity of the governors over the threat to security in the zone by Fulani herdsmen, insisting that the governors were committed to the welfare of the people.
The allegation was made by Igbo Union, an organisation of Igbo residents in the State of California, United States of America, USA.
Specifically, the union was reacting to the alleged killing by herdsmen of one Mazi Ozoemena Iriaka, a 65-year-old man, who hailed from Umuekpu-Agwa community in Oguta local government area of Imo State.
In a letter to the governors, the union said such killings of Igbo citizens by Fulani Herdsmen had become routine and accused the governors of unsatisfactory response to the influx of Fulani militia into Igbo land which, it said, skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown.
But the Director of Media and Communication of the South East Governors’ Forum, Mr Mike Udah, who spoke on behalf of the governors, said they were working tirelessly to ensure the security of lives and property in the zone.
According to him, the governors have extended dialogue to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, the South East National Assembly Caucus, the South East Traditional Rulers’ Council, Igbo Leaders of Thought, the clergy; South East Chambers of Commerce and South East Consultative Committee on Health to find ways of ensuring sustained security in the zone.
Udah said: “The truth of the matter is that the South East governors are as committed to the welfare of Ndigbo and other law-abiding Nigerians as ever.
“There are very clear pointers to this fact. For instance, the governors have openly expressed their displeasure with the procedure adopted by the Inspector-General of Police on community policing. This made the Police boss to quickly convene a meeting with them where both parties amicably resolved their grievances and agreed to work together for the good of the South East region and Nigeria.
“They are also working to have a regional security network. Already, each individual state in the region has got its own security outfit and they are working to harmonize the operations of these security agencies.
“The South East Governors’ Forum is pained each time Ndigbo are killed, raped, manhandled or appear to have been short-changed. In this particular instance, their hearts go out to the family of Mazi Ozoemena Iriaka.
“One can re-assure South Easterners that our governors constantly engage appropriate Ministries, Agencies, and Departments with a view to ensuring that the Igbo man and woman are not deliberately shortchanged in the Nigerian Federation.
“In doing this, they adopt due process and observe all necessary protocols. They are as Igbo as any other Igbo anywhere in the world. However, it is important to note that security matters are delicate matters, and should be treated as such”
He, however, observed that there were some legislative and logistical issues to be sorted out, adding that the governors were in constant dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria, as well as their counterparts in other geo-political zones to ensure total security in the country.