South East Governors’ Forum, SEGF, summoned Igbo leaders yesterday to discuss the security implications of the agitations by members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in Enugu state.
The leaders agreed to set up a delegation of Igbo elders to meet President Muhammadu Buhari on the marginalisation of Igbos in the country.
They also agreed to talk with members of the MASSOB and IPOB groups in order to discourage them from having any more protests.
However, the two factions of Ohanaeze were not invited to the meeting because the governors reasoned that inviting any of them would mean legitimising such faction.
A four-point communique read by Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, at the end of the meeting on behalf of his colleagues read:
“We agreed that south-east governors should set up a committee to immediately address the impasse on Ohanaeze leadership. After a compassionate review of the recent MASSOB/IPOB agitations in the country, it was resolved that a committee be set up to dialogue with MASSOB,IPOB as well as the Federal Government with a view to finding a lasting solution to the issue.
“The elders also examined other issues including poor state of infrastructural facilities in the south-east, marginalization in federal appointments and other socio-economic issues that impact on the economic development of the south-east and resolved to support the decision of south-east governors to set up an economic council and urged them to interface with the Federal Government on remedial measures. A delegation of elders of the south-east was mandated to meet with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Governor Lawrence Ifeanyi Ugwanyi of Enugu State, said the meeting was a follow up to the earlier meeting of the South- East governors on November 17.
The meeting is a follow up to the meeting of the SEGF that we held last Tuesday, November 17, 2015, in this venue during which we reached the following resolutions on some issues affecting us as a zone; To appoint a high level Economic Advisory Committee to harness the economic potentials of the people of the South East working together. The governors are concerned about the poor state of the Federal Government roads in the zone namely the Enugu – Onitsha, Aba- Ikot Ekpene , Owerri – Port Harcourt, Enugu – Port Harcourt, among others which need urgent intervention by the Federal Government.
“On security, the issue of MASSOB/ IPOB, was discussed and they resolved to consult widely with Ohanaeze (Ndigbo), traditional rulers, development unions, clergy, and other stakeholders on how to ensure lasting peace in the zone. In furtherance to this, the South East Governors scheduled an emergency meeting of stakeholders on Sunday, November 22, 2015, (yesterday) at Enugu.
“Attendance to the emergency meeting includes all National Assembly members, all honourable ministers and other invited stakeholders from the zone. The governors advised MASSOB/IPOB to continue to toe the line of peace as this is the only way to ensure economic development of the zone. We are therefore, here to discuss matters arising from these resolutions and other issues that are of interest to the zone. We ask God to guide and direct our thoughts as we go through this function and I wish us all, happy and fruitful deliberations.