GOVERNORS from across the southeast geo-political zone have promised to address the ongoing restiveness in their region within the next six months by coming up with solutions to the plight of their youths who have resorted to violence of late.
Over recent weeks, violence has erupted across the southeast geo-political zone with police stations being burnt and correctional facilities attacked. With the crisis spiralling out of control, the South East Governors Forum has come under pressure to do something about the violence and yesterday, it said the matter which it associates with marginalisation, will be looked into immediately.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, the chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, said they will soon engage the federal government over the issue of marginalisation which has pitted the restive youths against the state governments. Among other things, he assured the agitating youth in the zone that all their grievances will be looked into with a view to resolving them within six months.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja Governor Umahi asked the youths who are bitter over the region’s marginalisation to give the state governors six months to dialogue with the federal government with a view to resolving their grievances. He added that past governments failed to properly deal with the issue of marginalisation, giving rise to the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra and later the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (Ipob).
Governor Umahi said: “And so, I have offered along with other governors to our youths, to present your demands in print and hand them over. There’s no region in this country today that does not have one thing or the other against the federal government but we can sit down to discuss it.
“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 I believe in dialogue. I believe that we can sit down as a people to discuss and find our differences and we can learn from our differences and also we can together discuss how we can strengthen our operation as a people.”
Describing Ipob as a product of past failures, Governor Umahi noted that although the people of the southeast have justifiable grievances, their agitation appeared to have been hijacked. He assured that despite all the crises in the zone, the South-east will not secede from the Nigerian nation.
“I think those people were so badly ignored and that should not have been and so, what is happening today with regards to Ipob in the southeast is not a product of this government per se but it is a product of national governments that didn’t address the matters from the outset. Then the Ipob people came and said we are not violent, we are not the people killing.”
His words: “You know our way of doing things but their way of doing things is war and we don’t want to secede, we want to belong to Nigeria. A fair Nigeria with justice, equity and freedom, which is the platform upon which we exist as the people.”