From Maurice Okafor, Enugu
Igbo leaders comprising the South East governors, serving political class, traditional rulers council, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, religious leaders etc on Saturday, dissociated themselves from any group calling for the dismemberment of the country and promised to set up committees to dialogue with the restive youths
The Igbo leaders equally cautioned other tribes that are using the opportunity of insecurity and crisis in the country to malign and threaten Ndigbo living in the various parts of the country, to stop forthwith. They promised to guarantee the security of lives and properties of other tribes of the country living in Igbo land.
The Igbo leaders said it is fallacy to think they are keeping quiet over demand for secession by some youths from the zone, stating they are not speaking for the Igbo nation. However, they have set up a committee to dialogue with the youths allegedly involved in such demands.
The meeting which was a follow up to their previous meeting with a delegation from the federal government led by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (Rtd.), over a week ago, was to articulate a common position ahead of their next meeting with the presidency.
The communiqué which was read by the chairman of South East governors forum, Chief Dave Umahi the Ebonyi state governor states,
“Today’s meeting set up Committees under Ohanaeze to articulate and address Igbo positions on all burning issues and to further meet among themselves and thereafter meet with the Presidential team:
The Igbo leaders reaffirmed their commitment to one united Nigeria under a platform of justice, equality of rights, fairness, love and respect for one another;
The leaders frowned at threat against Ndigbo pointing out that “we have noted threats by some groups against our people of South East, while we firmly promise to protect everyone either from other regions or ours, we plead with the leaders of other regions to protect our people living in their regions;
The Igbo leaders condemned the killing of security agencies, burning of strategic infrastructure and killing of civilians in South East and in other regions while requesting our security agencies to ‘please discharge their duties within the rules of engagement and the law’
They also requested members of the National Assembly from the South East to support State Police creation in the ongoing constitutional amendment;
The Leaders in the Meeting directed the Governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo to liaise with indigenes from northern part of Nigeria and indigenes of other regions to assure of their safety in the South East.
The meeting endorsed the South East joint security outfit — Ebubeagu and asked them to work with security agencies and to respect the rights and privileges of all those living in South East and our visitors;
The Committees set up included those on Agitation, Engagement with other regions, Those of our people in the North, South-East, South-South South-West, IPOB, MASSOB, Youths and Market people, Okada and Keke, Diaspora, Advocacy, Diplomatic engagement with Foreign Missions.
Dignitaries at the meeting included Governors Ugwuanyi and Umahi as well as the Deputies and Representatives of Imo, Abia and Anambra, Senators Ike Ekweremadu, Enyinnaya Abaribe and Rep. Member Toby Okechukwu, Chief Doctor Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Admiral Allison Madueke RTD., Bishops C.V.C Onaga, E.O Chukwuma, and many royal fathers and distinguished political leaders from the South East.