Dave Umahi – Governor of Ebonyi State has said counter – secessionist group will rise soon in the South-East, ENigeria Newspaper reports.
- •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
According to an interview monitored by ENigeria Newspaper, Dave Umahi, who is also the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, warned Wednesday that if the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, does not cease the threats and killings in the zone, counter-secessionist groups will rise in the region.
Mbazulike Amechi, a leading nationalist and the first republic’s Aviation Minister, blamed the region’s insecurity on South East governors, claiming 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 urged those responsible for the purported insecurity in the South East, particularly in Anambra State, to lay down their swords and let peace rule.
Dave Umahi also described the campaign for Biafra as “madness” in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise breakfast show, stating that the South-East elite do not desire separation but rather fair and equitable treatment of the region as other parts of the country.
He said that governors and leaders in the zone would not allow the South East to become a killing field, and that youngsters in the region who chose agitation over negotiation to have their complaints heard and resolved would be “ostracized as criminals.”
‘MASSOB not violent, IPOB dishes out messages of killings’
In response to Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe’s claim that there were more than 30 separatist organizations in the South-East besides IPOB and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Umahi stated the only two he knew of were IPOB and MASSOB.
Abaribe, he claimed, spoke “from the standpoint of his information.”
The governor claimed that MASSOB had never been violent, but that IPOB had always spread fear and murder throughout the zone.
“IPOB and MASSOB are two separatist movements that we are aware of.” MASSOB has never been violent, and they are approachable and willing to reason with us, whereas IPOB’s command is never in the nation, and each of their members stays out and sends out bitter messages, threats, fear, and killings, and they are not here to feel our sorrows.
“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 the South-East will be grounded, there is no way the South-East will be sitting at home while other parts of the country are doing business, whereas we are the people who earn our living by moving.”
‘IPOB sit-at-home won’t be obeyed if there’s one policeman to everyone,” Governor Umahi added.
He further said that if there is enough security presence in the zone, IPOB’s sit-at-home protest against the detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021, will not be obeyed by southeasterners.
The APC leader also denied that criminals from outside Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Abia, and Enugu are responsible for the record orgies in the South-East. Rampaging hoodlums have recently set fire to a number of police stations and offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, among other things, in the South-East. The violence and bloodshed have also claimed many lives.
“We are chief security officers in our various states, and we realize what is going on; we know that our people are killing our people, and they started killing security guys, burning houses, preventing people from traveling freely, and we started shouting,” the governor stated.
“People are not sitting at home out of obedience or compliance; people are sitting at home out of fear for their lives,” Umahi said of IPOB’s Monday sit-at-home edict, which has effectively halted commercial activity in the zone.
“Nobody is going to obey any sit-at-home, nobody is going to obey that if you have a policeman to everyone.” We’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing to protect our people’s lives because we’ve earned their trust and know that you can’t have Biafra the way they’re doing 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.”