Igbo leaders reinstate commitment to unity of Nigeria

From Maurice Okafor,Enugu

Igbo leaders comprising of the five state governors, political class, religeous and traditional rulers,budiness class etc, yesterday re stated their belief and commitment to work for unity and peaceful co existence of Nigeria as one nation.
They restated this commitment yesterday after a closed door  meeting with the federal government delegation led by the Minister of Defence, Retired Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, on the security challenges threatening the corporate existence of the nation,held at government house,Enugu.

Briefing news men after the clised door meting, the  Minister of defence  who was accompanied to the meeting by the minister of  Interior affairs and the Service Chiefs said that they were in Enugu for a consultative meeting with leaders of the South East zone on the issues of instability and criminality, at the instance of President Buhari. He disclosed that issues such as the farmers/ herders conflict  will be given the necessary attention and the menace must be curtailed through out the country for the sake of national interest. 
He said the claims of marginalising the Igbos from the msinstream of governance is equally noted and further discussion on that will be taken up by the presidency.

His words, “The problem of marginalization s well accepted and further discussion will continue after we have met with Mr. President to see their grievances and after the governors will articulate the grievances so that we can have further discussion on them”.   

The Minister further disclosed that the delegation endorsed the Community Policing Model of the South East governors, adding that it “should be encouraged because we have set precedence in the Amotekun in the Western part of the country”. His words: “We appreciate our discussions. We are most humbled and I think each one of us; the governors, the elders, the religious leaders were able to say one or two things. “We would put our heads together to see that peace and stability of this nation are brought back to normalcy in no distance time. “We are appealing to the media to report the positive side of government and encourage us to pursue legitimate ways in which we can bring peace and stability in this country”. Speaking  in his capacity as chairman of the SouthvEast governors forum,Chief Dave Umahi,the Ebonyi state governor assured that their commitment to peaceful co existence of Nigeria is not limited to the South East zone, but the entire country.

Governor Umahi stated,“Just on a very minor specifics for the emphasis of our people, we discussed the issue of ban on open grazing and of course this delegation is in support of this ban on open grazing and we also informed the delegation that each of the South East states has laws in this respect”.
He stated that the governors have agreed to articulate all the grievances and concerns of the people of the South East “as spelt out by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo”, saying: “We are happy that there is genuine willingness for further dialogue on such issues”. Governor  Umahi disclosed that Ebubeagu is the only recognized local security outfit in the South East, emphasizing that “no other security outfit is speaking for South East and this is the position of Ndigbo”. According to him, “We are committed to one united Nigeria; we have always mentioned this; all our leaders are committed to this and that is why we read it everywhere, a united Nigeria of fairness, equity and equality of freedom and this we have further expressed. “Those who dish out hate speeches from our region, threat of violence or secession do not speak for South East. I repeat, we the South East people are not for secession, we don’t support it; we don’t call for it. “We condemn the killings of security men and innocent people in the South East and the governors are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our people. We are supporting the security agencies. We finally appeal to our people to continue to engage our youths to eschew violence”. 

The South East leaders in the meeting included four of the five state governors,the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, represented Governor Willie Obiano, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Uchechukwu Ogah.

Others were President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Amb. Prof. George Obiozor, former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Ike Ekweramadu, Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Toby Okechukwu, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, former Governor of old Enugu State, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East among others. 

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