Leaders and Governors in the Southeast part of Nigeria have refuted claims that they have been unbothered about the agitation for secession by some youths in the region.
The South leaders have come under heavy criticism for not making a categorical statement on the orgy of violence associated with members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
But the governors and various leaders of the region met on Saturday in Enugu State to lay out plans on curbing the current security crisis rocking the South East.
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, Ebonyi State Governor and the Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi, faulted the notion that the leaders have been unbothered about the threats of IPOB.
The leaders also appealed to their Northern counterparts and others to protect the Igbo resident in their zones.
He said: “The impression that Southeast leaders are silent over some of our youths’ agitation for secession is not correct; South-East Governors, Ohanaeze President, National Assembly members, notable leaders had come out publicly many times in the past to speak against such agitations.
“We condemn in totality, the activities of violent secessionist groups in the South East and elsewhere, we firmly proclaim that we do not support them, they do not speak for South East.
“In order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation, South-East leaders have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow elders speak to address such fears.
“While we firmly promise to protect everyone either from our region or other regions living in our places, we plead with other regions to please note the threat to our people and please address the threat to our people and protect them.
“We condemn the killing of security agents, burning of infrastructure facilitate and killing of civilians in South-East and even in other regions. We request our security agencies to discharge their duties with the rules of engagement and law.”
He added: “We request our nation Assembly members from South-East to please support state creation and state police in ongoing constitutional amendment.
“Meeting South-East leaders and Ohanaeze to liaise with Northern part of Nigeria and other indigenes that are living in South East to come out openly and assure their people and Nigeria that they are safe and well-protected while living in South East.
“The meeting endorsed South-East joint security outfit Ebubeagu and ask all the personnel of Ebubeagu to work with security agencies and respect right and privileges of all those living in South East and her visitors.”