South-east govs ban IPOB, beg Buhari to withdraw soldiers from region

The South-east Governors Forum rose from its meeting on Friday wielding the big stick against the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB).

The Forum, in a move thought to hold the hope for dousing the tension, proscribed the organization in all the five states of the region.

They also appealed to President Muhammad Buhari to withdraw soldiers from the zone while the police carry out their constitutional duty of securing lives and property.

Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, announced decision after a meeting of the governors with the South-east leadership of the National Assembly and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Igbo socio-political organisation.

Umahi, who read a six-point communique after the meeting, said the five governors are to ensure compliance with the directive in their respective states.

“In view of the prevailing security situation in the South-East and its attendant consequences, the South-East Governors hereby resolved as follows:

“All the activities of IPOB are hereby proscribed. IPOB and all other aggrieved groups are advised to articulate their position on National issues and submit to the committee of Governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and National Assembly members from the South-East zone through the Chairman of South-East Governors Forum,” the communique stated.

According to Umahi, the “South-east Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and National Assembly Members do hereby reinforce their commitment to a united and indivisible Nigeria.”

“We also reinforce our desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.”

The meeting also reiterated their earlier position that the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra must hold.

“Accordingly, we appeal to Mr. President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to withdraw the military in the South-east zone, while police perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order,” he added.

Umahi said the South-east governors have taken concrete steps to protect the lives and property of non-indigenes in the region.

He said that the governors were in touch with the Northern Governors Forum and that the latter assured them of the safety of all Igbos living in the north. He said the Igbo governors plan to exchange visits with their northern counterparts.

“In keeping with our earlier position, we wish to assure Nigerians that full investigation is ongoing on all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the in the South-east zone within this period. The governors and the security agencies are in agreement that appropriate action be taken against anyone found culpable,” he said.

Earlier on Friday, the Nigerian military declared IPOB a “terrorist organisation” giving five reasons for its decision.

Friday’s meeting was also attended by Governors Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia) while Rochas Okorocha of Imo was represented by his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere.

Also in attendance were the Ohanaeze leadership led by Chigozie Ogbu, former deputy governor of Ebonyi State, who represented John Nwodo, the President General of Ohanaeze.

The National Assembly members led by Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and the GOC 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Adamu Abubakar, were also in attendance.

Clashes between IPOB members and the security officials have led to several injuries in Abia with a police station also burnt.

IPOB wants an independent country of Biafra and says it is a non-violent organisation, although its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, recently said the group may reconsider its non-violence stance.


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