By Ewa Innocent, Abakaliki
The south east and Igbo speaking States in Nigeria have clearly declared that they are not for secession, as they believe strongly in the unity and oneness of the country.
The Chairman, south east governors forum, and governor of Ebonyi state, Engr. David Umahi disclosed this after an expanded security meeting of the south east leaders, held at government house, Enugu.
The governor, who said that the south east condemns in entirety the killings of security personnel and the innocent people of the south east, assured that the governors of the zone are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of the security agents, just as they are solidly behind them.
The forum urged the people of the south east to remain calm and continue to engage their youths by way of correcting them to be law abiding, as the leaders of the south east in their next meeting will articulate the demands of Ndigbo to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He thanked the federal government delegation led by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi for the uncommon commitment of the Federal Government to address the demands of Ndigbo.
His words,”I want to thank this powerful Federal Government delegation led by the Honourable Minister for Defence to the south east. Our people are excited about this commitment and we are very much satisfied with this visit. For me and the rest of us, this is a genuine commitment, it is a new dawn for southeast and entire Nigeria.
“We discussed the ban on open grazing and this delegation is also in support of open grazing ban, we also informed this delegation that each of the states of the south east has laws in this respect.
“We have also agreed to articulate all of our grievances and concerns and present them to the Federal Government and we are happy that there is a genuine willingness to address such issues.
“We are committed to one united Nigeria, a united Nigeria of equality, unity, justice and fairness.
“Those who dish out the threat of secession do not speak for the southeast and we do not support such agitations”, he said.
On the issue of Ebubeagu, Umahi announced that the Security outfit is the only recognized local Security outfit in the south east that speaks for Ndigbo in terms of protecting lives and property.
Earlier in his speech, the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magashi, had stated the commitment of the Federal Government to address the incessant herders/ farmers clashes, marginalisation and other issues of concern to the south east, assuring that the issue of marginalisation will be adequately addressed by the federal government, when articulated by the Igbo leaders.
He, however, called on the press to always report the country positively to douse the tension of challenges facing the country.
The Minister said issues discussed include, the instability and the criminality affecting the Country in general, stating that they were happy to discuss the ones peculiar to the south east, and agreed that such issues need to be addressed.
“We have agreed that there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. One, the herders’ conflict should be seen from the perspective of national interest.
“Second, we discussed the problem of marginalization which I think is well accepted and we will speak with Mr. President to listen to the grievances after the Governors must have articulated the demands of the region.
“We have agreed that south east leaders are committed to the unity and stability of this nation and we are giving them the assurance and confidence that this commitment will be relayed to the Federal Government through the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces”, he concluded.