Posted by News Express | 6 January 2021 | 2,931 times
By CHARLES IWUOHA
South-East Governors and several major stakeholders on Tuesday shunned a bipartisan meeting of leaders of the zone hosted in Abia State by Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu.
The meeting notice was purportedly signed by National Assembly floor functionaries from the South-East led by Orji Uzor Kalu, former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and the five governors of the region.
The notice said the meeting would hold at Camp Neya, Igbere country home of Mr Kalu, from 12pm.
The conveners said the gathering was a bipartisan meeting with members of All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and other political parties expected to attend.
But Engr. Dave Umahi, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, told journalists on Tuesday that they were not involved in the meeting.
Umahi, who briefed the media after a virtual meeting of the governors, said the organisers used the names of the governors as conveners without their permission.
“Today 5th January, 2021, the South East Governors had their meeting and all the Governors were in attendance and the meeting resolved as follows:
“There was a bi-partisan meeting called today and the initiator went ahead to use the names of Governors without consulting them as part of the conveners of such a meeting.
“The Governors of South East frowns at such attitude and would want to disassociate themselves from such a meeting,” he said.
Umahi, who disclosed that all the five South-East Governors attended the virtual meeting which held almost at the same time the bipartisan meeting was slated to start, noted that the governors boycotted the Igbere meeting.
“If there should be such a meeting which they feel is very necessary, the Governors must be seen to be informed and be part and parcel of calling such a meeting. They strongly feels that Ohanaeze is in position to speak on such issues.
“So, they want to say that the Governors are not involved and they encouraged all their people to boycott such a meeting,” he said
On security, the governors expressed concern over killings and kidnappings which occurred in the last few days in the zone.
They recalled that two days ago, two policemen were killed in Imo State with their riffles stolen by bandits
He further revealed that there was a kidnap case along Enugu and Ebonyi border with the rescue of the victim by the Governors of the zone through divine intervention.
“We are very much worried, it is not those that are not from South east that are doing it, it is our own people that are doing it. They want to cause panic, they want to cause disunity in this country. We want the leaders of South East to rise above political sentiments to speak out and to condemn this act because should the security people act, the cry will go everywhere,” he said.
The governors condemned a viral video from Ebonyi State that claimed that herdsmen residing in the state were being attacked and chased out of the state by their host communities.
They described the video as falsehood and attempt to cause panic and disunity in the country.
“We are so much worried on the killings and kidnappings that are going on by our people in South East; killing our own people and then killing security agencies and the situation is being heightened by the activities of very desperate politicians. There are so many desperate politicians in all the political parties that are so desperate for power and they have aligned with some bandits in south east to destabilize the nation.
“For instance, two days ago in Ebonyi State, the Fulani settlement that decided to move Taraba State and retain some of the family members in Ebonyi and of cause, the man is still here and a politician as we have intelligent gathering went to put a voice and said that Igbo are chasing away the herdsmen from Ebonyi State. Such a video went very wide and was causing panic in other parts of the country and that is very much uncalled for.
“I want to public to discountenance this and the Governors’ forum condemn this and we will want the leaders of South East to rise up to speak against this kind of attitude and against messages that tend to divide us and put our people in danger outside south east. We want them to do this because the security agencies as they have informed us will not continue to fold their hands where they are being killed and their rifles collected from them,” said Umahi.
The Governor disclosed that the Governors of the zone will do everything possible to ensure that everybody residing in the region irrespective of ethnic affiliations were protected, said the Governors have expanded security committee in the zone to tighten security.
“We will do everything possible as Governors of South East to ensure that all our people are protected; the security agencies and all the people that from other regions that are living with us. We have agreed that the south east security committee will be expanded, we have agreed that this year we are going to have a common patrol.
“Our vehicles are going to be the same, the uniform will be the same and we will do this for our vigilante and we will continue to work with the people of South East to give them greater protection.”
He said the Governors will meet in Owerri, Imo state capital on 9th of this month to further discussion on their quick responses and actions to secure the lives and properties of the people work for greater unity of the country.
On Ohanaeze, the Governors commended Chief Nnia Nwodo for the way he has been leading Ndigbo despite the challenges he has been encountering as the President General of the Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation.
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