South-east governors set to hold talks with IPOB

NEWS DIGEST – The governors of Nigeria’s South-east region may be preparing to hold talks with IPOB, going by the positions adopted by the governors and other leaders of the region during their Saturday’s meeting in Enugu.

IPOB is a pro-Biafra group which has been proscribed by the Nigerian government.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State as telling reporters that the leaders from the region had set up a committee to engage the “agitators” in the region to address their fears.

It is not clear if Mr Umahi specifically mentioned IPOB by name when he spoke with reporters.

But the governor may have very well referred to group when he said “agitators”, as IPOB is the main group agitating for the independent state of Biafra, for now.

This development signals a departure from the previous hardline posture against IPOB and its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Although Mr Umahi said secessionist groups from the region were not speaking for the people of the area, he made some remarks that seemed like the kind of thing IPOB and their supporters would like to hear.

The governor, for instance, said governors and other leaders of the region condemned the extrajudicial killings of civilians in the region by security agencies.

He also said that although the South-east remains committed to Nigeria’s corporate existence, but that such union must be based on love, mutual respect and equality of rights, irrespective of one’s religion, ethnic group, political inclination and creed.

The governor said that leaders from the region had noted with concern threats against the Igbo people by some groups in other regions.

“The meeting pleaded with leaders of other regions to note such threats to our people, address it and protect our people,” he said.

Those present at the Saturday’s meeting included Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu.

Anambra and Imo States were represented by the deputy governors, Nkem Okeke and Placid Njoku respectively.

Others were the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, and President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, George Obiozo.

Source: Premium Times