May 20, 2021
By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
South East Governors have appealed to agitators for self-determination in the region to halt hostilities and allow them negotiate solutions to age-long grievances with the Federal Government within six months.
Chairman of the Southeast Governors’ Forum, Dave Umahi, who demanded for understanding and time from the agitators, also said only those who want the current state of insecurity and killings to persist would oppose the recent ban on open grazing by governors of southern states.
Ebonyi Governor Umahi spoke on Thursday while featuring on the regular Ministerial Press Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential villa, Abuja.
The Southeast has for years been a hotbed of separatist activities with the Movement for the Actualisation of Biafra (MASOB) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leading the charge against the Federal Government.
The Governor noted past governments failed to properly deal with the issue of marginalisation, giving rise to MASSOB and IPOB).
He said: “I have offered along with governors to our youths, present your demands in prints and hand over to us.
“There’s no region in this country today that you know does not have one thing or the other against the federal government, but we cannot sit down to discuss and that’s what you have demanded from our youths whether banned or unbanned in so far as you are from southeast.
“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 child of necessity,” Umahi said: “Now, the ESN is also a product of IPOB.
“You can see how this has multiplied but the point remains that from the onset of matter, the past governments did not address the matter properly because when your children cry for any reason, you have to find out what is the problem, what are the reasons and you fix it.
“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.”