Posted by News Express | 30 April 2013 | 5,107 times
Traditional rulers from Igbo land have taken their people’s grievances to Nigeria’s seat of power and demanded action from President Goodluck Jonathan.
Yesterday in Aso Rock Villa, the royal fathers led by Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya, Obi of Obinugwu and Chairman of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, tabled four grievances before President Jonathan, an adopted political son of Ndigbo.
They are the activities of Boko Haram Islamic insurgents which have killed many Igbos in the north and forced many more to flee from the zone; the killing of Igbos in parts of the country; the slow pace of rehabilitation work on roads in the South-East and threats to lives by the erosion ravaging the zone. The royal fathers pleaded for the President’s intervention while also stressing the need for a constitutional role for traditional rulers in the country.
Responding, President Jonathan thanked the royal fathers and Ndigbo for supporting him. “President Jonathan expressed personal pain and sadness at the loss of lives and property due to the activities of Boko Haram, but assured the delegation that Government was working hard to bring the security challenges to an end, pointing to the police helicopters and equipment he commissioned earlier in the day as part of the Administration’s efforts to enhance the security agencies,” according to Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), Dr. Reuben Abati, in a statement on the visit.
Abati said that Jonathan disclosed that the Federal Government was negotiating for a $400 million (about N62 billion) special fund from the World Bank to tackle the menace of erosion in the South East.
Jonathan’s words: “We are getting $400m, a special fund from the World Bank, to tackle the erosion in the South East. This is apart from the line votes in the budget for checking erosion.”
On the issue of roads, the President said that federal roads in the country were receiving necessary attention. He however delved into aviation issues by commenting on his administration’s ongoing upgrading of the Enugu Airport, saying that it would handle international flights after its transformation.
As for the request for a constitutional role for traditional rulers in the country, President Jonathan said: ‘I believe in an advisory role for traditional rulers. This was one of my campaign promises, and I am consulting with the National Assembly on this.”
•Photo, courtesy State House, shows President Jonathan with the Igbo royal fathers . . . yesterday at Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
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