GOVERNOR Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has accused the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) of placing a fatwa on some governors from across the southeast geo-political zone for not supporting their secessionist cause.
Over recent weeks, Ipob and the South East Governors Forum have been at loggerheads over the creation of the regional security outfit Ebubeagu. Earlier this month, the governors announced plans to launch Ebubeagu, modelled similarly to the Amotekun Corps in southwest Nigeria to provide security in the southeast geo-political zone.
However, Ipob, which has its own armed wing called the Eastern Security Network (ESN), enjoined youths and other people in the area to distance themselves from the security outfit. Ipob spokesman Emma Powerful, said that the formation of Ebubeagu was suspicious, alluding to the fact that it may be used to sabotage ESN.
In response, the South East Governors Forum has warned Ipob to refrain from interfering in its plans to float Ebubeagu or face dire consequences for obstructing the programme. Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, the chairman of the South East Governors Forum, said Ebubeagu was created primarily to protect lives and properties in the southeast and was set up in compliance with the constitution.
Warning Ipob that the ESN was an illegal entity, Governor Umahi said bandits were committing crimes in the southeast under the guise of ESN and insisted that governors of the region would not allow what he described as illegality to reign in the area. He added that leaders in the southeast would not allow criminals to have a field day in the area, stressing that Ebubeagu would tackle insecurity in Igboland.
Adding his voice to the condemnation of Ipob and ESN, Governor Ikpeazu accused opposition elements of sponsoring the recurring violence across the country for the purpose of discrediting the Buhari administration. Speaking during an interactive session with youths and women, Governor Ikpeazu said that although some of the issues being raised by Ipob leader Nnamdi Kanu are valid, his strategy leaves much to be desired.
Governor Ikpeazu added: “Some of those things which Nnamdi said are valid as some of us can see them and we cannot continue to hide behind a finger. But some of us do not subscribe to his style or strategy because I do not understand where he is going and how he is going and when he plans to pull the brakes and what he wants to achieve.
“If I have a way of conveying my views to the leadership of that group, what I will say is they should find a way to enter into conversation and let people know. “I am under their fatwa now and well as some of my brother governors. They say if you see them kill them.
“By the time the war in the kitchen ends, mama’s pot of soup would have spilled, there will be no plates to eat and everybody would be hungry and eventually it would not serve any good purpose. I don’t understand what they want to achieve and I don’t understand why they prefer to attack institutions of civil rule.”
Governor Hope Uzodinma, whose state, Imo, has come under attacks from gunmen and arsonists lately, added that the current spate of violence across the country is being sponsored by the opposition for the purpose of discrediting the government. He asked the security and intelligence agencies to expose the brains behind the spate of banditry by publishing their names.