Members of the South East Governors’ Forum have condemned the activities of secessionist groups in the region and other parts of the country.
They distanced themselves from the agitations of such groups and frowned on the violence that ensued which led to the loss of lives and destruction of properties.
In a bid to tackle the security challenges and restore peace in the region, the governors went beyond their political differences and met on Saturday in Enugu State.
“We condemn in totality, the activities of violent secessionist groups in the South East and elsewhere; we firmly proclaim that we do not support them, they do not speak for South East,” said the Chairman of the Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, at the end of the meeting.
He added, “The impression that South-East leaders are silent over some of our youths’ agitations for secession is not correct.
“South-East Governors, Ohanaeze President, National Assembly members, notable leaders had come out publicly many times in the past to speak against such agitations. In order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation, South-East leaders have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow elders speak to address such fears.”
The governors noted threats by some groups against the people of the region and promised to protect everyone – from the South East and other regions.
They, however, pleaded with leaders of other regions to protect the Igbos living in their regions.
The forum also condemned the killing of security agencies, burning of strategic infrastructure, and killing of civilians in the South East and other regions.
They appealed to the security agencies to discharge their duties within the rules of engagement and the law, as well as urged the members of the National Assembly from the South East to support the creation of state police in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“We, the Igbos do reaffirm our commitment to one united Nigeria under a platform of justice, equity of rights, fairness, love, and respect for one another.
“The meeting endorsed our 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,” Governor Umahi said while reading the communique issued at the end of the meeting.
Also at the meeting were the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah; and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim, as well as religious and traditional leaders, among others.