South-East Governors, yesterday, said they were committed to the security and welfare of Ndigbo and would stop at nothing to ensure that the geopolitical zone was secured against banditry and invasion of killer herdsmen.
The governors gave the assurance in response to the Igbo Union, an organization of citizens and residents of Igbo extraction registered in the State of California, United States of America, which accused them of “insensitivity to the threat and terrorisation of the Igbo by suspected Fulani herdsmen roaming Igbo villages with their cattle and Ak-47 rifles.”
In a statement endorsed by the Director, Media and Communication, South East Governors’ Forum secretariat, Michael Ike Udah, the governors said that there were pointers to the fact that they remain committed to the welfare of Ndigbo.
“The truth of the matter is that the South East governors are as committed to the welfare of Ndigbo and other law-abiding Nigerians as ever. There are very clear pointers to this fact.
“On May 24, 2020 (just last month), the South East governors rose from a meeting and openly expressed their displeasure with the procedure adopted by the Inspector-General of Police on Community Policing.
“This made the police boss to quickly convene a meeting with them where both parties amicably resolved their grievances and agreed to work together for the good of the South East region and Nigeria.
“The South East governors are working to have a regional security network. Each individual state in the region has got its own security outfit – Forest Guards in Enugu, Neighbourhood Watch in Ebonyi and Anambra Vigilante Group (AVG) in Anambra. The scenario is the same in Imo and Abia States.
“The governors are working to harmonize the operations of these security agencies. There are some legislative and logistical issues involved here, and they will be sorted out over time.
“The South East governors are quite conscious of the need to balance the interests of Ndigbo with those of other Nigerians within the Nigerian federation”, they said.
The governors said that they were in constant consultation with relevant stakeholders in the region and the country including the federal government, Ohanaeze Ndigbo leadership and others.
“They are in constant dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as their counterparts in other geo-political zones/regions in our country. It is necessary to add here that such dialogue is also extended to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the umbrella Igbo socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, South East National Assembly Caucus, etc.
“South East Traditional Rulers’ Council is not left out by the South East Governors who operate under the aegis of the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF).
“The same thing applies to other Igbo stake-holding groups: Igbo Leaders of Thought, Igbo Clergy; South East Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; South East Security Committee, South East Consultative Committee on Health, etc.
“The South East Governors’ Forum is pained each time Ndigbo are killed, raped, manhandled or appear to have been short-changed. In this particular instance, their hearts go out to the family of Mazi Ozoemena Iriaka, Umuekpu-Agwa community, Oguta Local Government Area, Imo State Government and Ndigbo in general. May his soul find solace in the bosom of our Lord, Amen!
“One can re-assure South Easterners that our governors constantly engage appropriate ministries, agencies and departments with a view to ensuring that the Igbo man and woman are not deliberately short-changed in the Nigerian federation.
“In doing this, they adopt due process and observe all necessary protocols. They are as Igbo as any other Igbo anywhere in the world. However, it is important to note that security matters are delicate matters, and should be treated as such.
“Not all security questions are answered publicly. Fortunately, the doors of South East Governors are open through the South East Governors’ Forum Secretariat,” the statement added.