Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State.

•Says S-East elite don’t want secession but fair, equitable treatment of the zone
•Dismisses insinuations that killers were brought in from outside S-East to kill •Contends deployment of more security agents’ll nullify IPoB’s sit-at-home order
•Mbazulike Amechi blames S-East govs for disunity

By Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Ebonyi State governor and Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Dave Umahi, warned yesterday that counter-secessionist groups will rise in the South-East if the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, does not stop the threats and killings in the zone.

This came as foremost nationalist and first republic Aviation Minister, Mbazulike Amechi, blamed South East governors for the insecurity in the region, alleging that “South East governors are not holding their mandates well; they are not acting as true Igbo leaders and don’t seem to know that; pointing out that they could not finance the EbubeAgu they formed and are not serious.” He also appealed to those behind the alleged insecurity in South East and Anambra State in particular to sheath their sword and allow peace to reign.

READ ALSO:South-East governors move to end IPOB’s ‘sit-at-home’

Speaking in an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, Umahi also described the agitation for Biafra as “madness”, arguing that South-East elite do not want secession but fair and equitable treatment of the South East as other zones in the country.

He said governors and leaders of the zone would not allow the South East become a killing field, adding that the youths in the region who shunned dialogue to make their grievances heard and resolved but chose the path of agitation to cause criminality, would be “isolated as criminals”.

‘MASSOB not violent, IPOB dishes out messages of killings’

On the claim by Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, that aside from IPOB and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, there were more than 30 other separatist organisations in the South-East, Umahi said the two separatist groups he knew  of were IPOB and MASSOB.

According to him, Abaribe spoke “from the point of his information”.

The governor stated that MASSOB had never been violent but that IPOB had always dished out messages of fear and killings in the zone.

“The separatist groups we know  of  is IPOB, we know of MASSOB. MASSOB has never been violent and they are approachable and they tend to reason with us but this other people, IPOB, their command is never in the country and every one of them stays out and dishes out messages of bitterness and messages of threats and fear and killings and are not here with us to feel the pains.

“So, these are just the two groups that I can talk about but I fear that if IPOB does not call their people to order and stop these threats and killings and all that, other groups will rise up to counter it but there is no way South-East would be grounded, there is no way South-East will be sitting at home while other parts of the country will be doing businesses whereas we are the people that should be moving because we earn our living by moving.

‘IPOB sit-at-home won’t be obeyed if there’s one policeman to everyone,” Governor Umahi added.

He also said the sit-at-home declared by IPOB to protest the detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who had been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021, won’t be obeyed by southeasterners if there is enough security presence in the zone.

The All Progressives Congress chieftain also said it was not true that criminals from outside Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Abia and Enugu are the ones perpetrating the unprecedented orgies in the South-East. Scores of police stations, offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, amongst others have been burnt by rampaging hoodlums in the South-East of late. Many lives have also been lost to the violence and bloodletting.

“We are chief security officers in our various states and we understand what is happening; we know that it is our people that are killing our people and they started killing security men, they started burning houses, they started stopping people from moving freely and we started shouting,” the governor said.

On the sit-at-home order by IPOB on Mondays which has significantly paralysed economic activities in the zone, Umahi said, “People are not sitting at home out of obedience or compliance; people are sitting at home out of fear for their lives.

“If you have a policeman to everybody, nobody is going to obey any sit-at-home, nobody is going to obey that. We are going to do what we have been doing to safeguard the lives of our people because we’ve got the confidence of our people and that you cannot have Biafra by the way they are going about it.”

‘Agitation for Biafra madness, S-East elite don’t want secession’

The governor also described the agitation for secession by IPOB and MASSOB as “madness.

“Meanwhile, every elite in South-East is not desirous of Biafra, we don’t want Biafra; we want to be treated equally like other regions in Nigeria.

“So, this idea of Biafra, Biafra is madness and we have said, ‘No’, we don’t want Biafra,” Umahi stated.

The governor lamented that IPOB and other separatists in the South-East are being given a push by “pretentious agitations” in the South-West and other parts of the country.

“If we go our separate ways, South-East people will lose a lot because, we’ve invested a lot in every part of this nation. It is not to our advantage to leave our investment and walk away,” he stated.

Mbazulike Amechi blames S-East govs for disunity

Addressing newsmen in his house in Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area, Anambra State, Amechi appealled to whoever may be responsible for the senseless killings and destructions to  drop their weapons because peace is never won with guns.

According to the elder statesman, “I am personally worried by the high level of violence and killings  particularly in Anambra State.

“Infact, the people behind the violence in the South East and Anambra State in particular should honour me and even come and join hands in planning the funeral of my wife and not to engage in violence.

“I want them to honour and accept my appeal as a father who wants the best for them. I know they will  honour me by accepting my appeal.

“As true sons and daughters of Africa who have  inherent respect for the elders, I ask you, whoever you are, to put a stop to this violence and let me bury my wife in peace and for the Anambra State election to be held. If you scare away voters and only 5000 voters cast their votes, INEC will pronounce the winner and he will be sworn in to rule you for the next four years whether you like it or not.”

Amechi who also used the opportunity to deny what he described as “a bunch of falsehood” some people put on the internet as a statement from him  about government killing the Igbo  said he has not spoken to any journalist since the demise of his wife.

“My attention has been drawn to a bunch of falsehood which somebody put on the internet as a statement by Mbazulike Amechi  saying something about government killing the Igbos. The coward did not identify himself or state the medium or where I made the statement.

“Since my wife died in July this year, I have reclined into the customary solitude of my people until after her funeral and burial  which is scheduled to take place on October 28, 2021.I did not speak to any press or media or individual as carried in the internet and the language used is not my choice of words.

“As a matter of fact, before the rubbish statement credited to me came out in the media, I had initiated a move to bring about real and lasting peace and reconciliation and if all concerned respond and cooperate, true peace and reconciliation are just around the corner.

“I am doing this as a political father of the nation and in fulfilment of a role which God expects me to play for sparing my life this long. I appeal to whoever may be responsible for these senseless killings and destructions to  drop their weapons because  peace  is not won with the guns.”

On the alleged lackadaisical attitude of South East Governors to be united in finding solution to the insecurity in South East, Anambra and Imo States, Amechi described the situation as pathetic and unfortunate.

According to him, “Anambra State Governor has his days in office numbered and  so, the man is about is run out his second term in office. Other South East Governors should leave him with his attitude and let the result of the forthcoming governorships election decide. Let the electorate decide whether that kind of governor is what they want to have this time or they want a change.

“The other South East Governors, I have always  said that they are not holding their mandates well, they are not acting as true Igbo leaders, they are leaders but they don’t seem to know that. Look at the Ebubeagu they formed, they  cannot even finance it, they are not serious.

“Whether they are afraid or cowardly or something like that, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know  what is holding them, they don’t seem to know  the  strength of the power given to them to serve the people.  All I know is that the the South East Governors should buckle up. As for the one that his tenure is running out, let him go  away with his remaining  few  months.”

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