The governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has hinted that a counter-secessionist groups may rise in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria if the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) does not call its members to order and stop the threats and killings.
Umahi who is also a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress gave the hint on Wednesday as a guest on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme monitored by Vantage News.
The governor, who also described the agitation for Biafra as “madness”, however maintained that elites in the South-East do not want secession rather, wants the zone to be treated fairly and equitably as other zones in the country.
The governor also vowed that the South-East zone won’t be turned to a killing field and grounded by secessionist agitators.
He said youths in the region, who shunned dialogue to make their grievances heard and resolved but chose the path of agitation to cause criminality, would be “isolated as criminals”.
Recall that On Tuesday, the Senate Minority Leader, who represents the good people of Abia South in the red chamber, Enyinnaya Abaribe, had said that aside from IPOB and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, there are more than 30 separatist organisations in the South-East.
In his reaction on Wednesday on the television programme, Umahi said the two separatist groups he knows of are IPOB and MASSOB, adding that Abaribe spoke “from the point of his information”.
“The separatist groups, we know of IPOB, we know of MASSOB. MASSOB has never been violent and they are approachable and they tend to reason with us but this other people, IPOB, their command is never in the country and every one of them stays out and dishes out messages of bitterness and messages of threats and fear and killings and are not here with us to feel the pains.
“So, these are just the two groups that I can talk about but I fear that if IPOB does not call their people to order and stop these threats and killings and all that, other groups will rise up to counter it but there is no way South-East would be grounded, there is no way South-East will be sitting at home while other parts of the country will be doing businesses whereas we are the people that should be moving because we earn our living by moving.”
Furthermore, Umahi said the sit-at-home declared by IPOB to protest the detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services since June 2021, won’t be obeyed by South easterners if there is enough security presence in the zone.
“We are chief security officers in our various states and we understand what is happening; we know that it is our people that are killing our people and they started killing security men, they started burning houses, they started stopping people from moving freely and we started shouting,” the governor said.
On the sit-at-home order by IPOB on Mondays which has significantly paralysed economic activities in the zone, Umahi said, “People are not sitting at home out of obedience or compliance; people are sitting at home out of fear for their lives.
“If you have a policeman to everybody, nobody is going to obey any sit-at-home, nobody is going to obey that. We are going to do what we have been doing to safeguard the lives of our people because we’ve got the confidence of our people and that you cannot have Biafra by the way they are going about it.”
The governor also described the agitation for secession by IPOB and MASSOB as “madness”.
“Meanwhile, every elite in South-East is not desirous of Biafra, we don’t want Biafra; we want to be treated equally like other regions in Nigeria.
“So, this idea of Biafra, Biafra is madness and we have said, ‘No’, we don’t want Biafra,” Umahi stated.
The governor lamented that IPOB and other separatists in the South-East are being given a push by “pretentious agitations” in the South-West and other parts of the country.
“If we go our separate ways, South-East people will lose a lot because, we’ve invested a lot in every part of this nation. It is not to our advantage to leave our investment and walk away,”
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