In 6 months, we’ll solve your grievances – S’East govs tell IPOB, angry youths

Obinwannem News In 6 months, we'll solve your grievances - S'East govs tell IPOB, angry youths

South-East governors have appealed to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and others agitating the injustice, killings and marginalization of the region, to submit their grievances, which he said would be resolved through dialogue by the Federal Government.

This was disclosed by the Ebonyi State governor Dave Umahi, who doubles as the chairman of South-East Governors Forum, on Thursday, in a press briefing organized by the presidential communications team at the presidential villa, Abuja.

Umahi said so much effort had been made to reaching out to people, and addressing this issues, which had yielded results. He said some bad boys involved, were providing information.

Nonetheless, he noted that the agitations could be resolved through dialogue; offering a period of six months to salvage the damage, vowing that the South-East governors would join the agitation, if after six months their grievances were not resolved.

The press briefing partly reads thus:

“.. and so, the situation in the South East right now is a situation in which non violent approach of IPOB at the beginning has been hijacked by bandits, by cultists, by criminals. Why do I say this? A lot of violence that happen in South East now, the IPOB people will come and say we are not violent, we are not the people killing the security agents, if you get any of such you have to decisively deal with such people. So it’s very confusing. Who and who are behind this insecurity in South East?

“What I will not deceive myself is to agree with anybody to say that foreign mercenaries have infiltrated southeast. It’s war propaganda. We are the ones killing ourselves; we are the ones burning down our police stations. And so, we don’t deceive ourselves if we want the problem to be solved.

“Are there rightful agitations? Yes? Has it turned violent? Yes, it’s been hijacked and that is the truth about the situation in the South East today. And so, the governors of South East appear to be unpopular with a very small section of the South East. Why? Because we refused to toe their own way of doing things and their way of doing things is war and we don’t want to secede, we want to belong to Nigeria, a fair Nigeria where justice, equity and freedom are the platform upon which we exist as the people and for each of the regions.

“And so we don’t want the herders to be killed because we also have our people scattered in all the regions and we don’t want the herders to violate the cultural values and laws of the land. So, it is peace that the South East governors have been preaching. And Ebube Agu that is frightening some people especially politicians in South East is nothing but a translation of our vigilante which we have always had and which is backed up by law.

“But, Ebube Agu is a kind of regional security cooperation; it is a change of name. In my state, we have signed our Ebube Agu into law and it has come to stay. And it is to protect the people. Once you are not a criminal, you are safe in my state but no matter what name you bear whether you are banned or unbanned and you are causing trouble in South East, Ebube Agu will address that together with security agencies.

“And so, I have offered along with governors to our youths to present your demands in prints and hand over to us. There’s no region in this country today, that does not have one thing or the other against the federal government. But we cannot sit down to discuss and that’s what we are demanding from our youth whether banned or unbanned so far you’re from southeast.

“Let us see your demands, let us see your grievances and give us six months to engage the federal government to address all these because we believe in dialogue. I believe that we can sit down as a people to discuss and find our differences and we can learn differences and also we can together discuss how we can strengthen our operation as a people.

“Let’s go back to our traditional method of relationship. We will no longer allow you to take your cattle from one local government to the other. And the implication is that these foreign herders also come as mobile herders with AK-47 and so, that is the source of conflicts.

“So, anyone that is saying that there should be no ban is on the other hand saying that these killings should continue and that is what has birthed the ESN. Whether we support it as governors or we don’t, the people tend to support it because of the foreign herders pretending that they are rearing cattle and they are killing people.

“In my village, a white man handling construction was kidnapped. So, what the southern governors are saying is, let’s return to our traditional kind of relationship. I don’t support cattle to move from one state to the other. Let us encourage the federal government, let’s treat this cattle rearing as a business. Take money from federation account and develop ranches, there are designated ranches in the north.

Speaking on an alternative to open grazing, he said: “The northern governors are willing but are being frustrated. I know once you develop these ranches in the north, a lot of movement will stop in the south. We want to live in peace, we want to live as brothers and sisters. And if the right hand will cause you to sin, cut it off. It is the same thing as saying, let the cattle moving from one point to the other be stopped.

“Nobody is saying the herders should not be in the southeast but it should be treated as a business. When people go to other areas, they buy a land, they rent a shop, that is how business is done. You don’t enter people’s land without their knowledge. It is not done anywhere.

“I don’t think there is any South East person that enters any region and sets up a business without proper permission. So, that is the truth about the open grazing thing. I think people misunderstand it. They don’t really understand what we mean.”

Ijeoma Njoku reporting Obinwannem News | May 21, 2021

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