Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi who also double as the
Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum has said that agitation against marginalization of the zone has been hijacked by criminals.
Ebonyi State Govrrnor said this when happeared on Channels TV’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily on Wednesday.
The governor was speaking about the security situation in the South-East, the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other issues, a day after governors of the region announced that a security outfit “Ebube Agu” will be established in the five states that make up the region before the end of the year.
“At the initial time, it was an issue of ‘look, we are being marginalised. A lot of people keyed into that,” Governor Umahi said of the initial agitations in the region.
“Then, along the line, it developed into violence. And then later, the same agitation has been hijacked by criminals, bandits and kidnappers.”
The Governor explained that the grievances of people in the region over the years had led to support for IPOB, which had said it was fighting against the marginalisation of the region.“A lot of people keyed in,” he said.
“If anybody had grievances with the centre (Federal Government), the person became a supporter of IPOB. If you sort anything at the federal level and you fail to get it, you become a supporter of IPOB.
Those in the diaspora that went for greener pastures and they failed to get such become very bitter with the Nigerian society. And so, followers kept growing.”
According to the governor, the situation worsened when the conflicts with herdsmen came up.
“They were a couple of killings in the South-East and the people were a bit helpless and felt the governors were not protecting them,” he said, adding that though the governors did a lot to ensure that there was peace between the herders and people, residents were not satisfied.
“You see, some uninformed elements felt that the only way to solve the problem between us and herdsmen was to ask them to leave the South-East.”
The preferred option for these elements, he explained, was not nationalistic because people from the South-East also live in the north.
“Then came the IPOB with ESN (Eastern Security Network), which is the militant aspect of IPOB, and they started to issue orders of threats,” the governor said.
So, along the line, the whole exercise has been hijacked. In the South-East, we no longer have kidnappers; everyone that commits one criminal act or the other claims to be IPOB.”
Governor Umahi accused some politicians, who he did not name, of capitalising on the situation.
These politicians, he said, “began to import killers from outside the South-East to advance their political interests”.
The governor, however, stressed that the people were beginning to understand the situation and support for IPOB is declining due to the actions of the group and the level of violence in the region.
He added that once the issues of leadership and development that led to cries of marginalisation were addressed to complement efforts being made by the governors to tackle the situation, security will improve in the region.
According to the governor, it is the failure of the Federal Government to treat the region equally that has led to agitations and calls for secessionist state, Biafra.
“This idea of Biafra, Biafra is madness,” he said, adding that most elites in the south east do not want Biafra.
“We don’t want Biafra. We only want to be treated equally like other regions in Nigeria,” Governor Umahi stressed.
Speaking of the sit-at-home order, which he says is mostly issued by people in diaspora, the governor lamented that the south-east people are complying only out of fear and not because they want to be obedient.
“If we had a policeman to everybody, nobody is going to obey any sit at home,” he said.
He, therefore, promised that governors from the region will continue doing what they can to safeguard the people because “we cannot have Biafra by the way they are going about it”.
El-Rufai Raises Alarm Over Presence Of Boko Haram, ISWAP In Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has raised an alarm about the activities of terrorist groups in the State.
Speaking during the presentation of the first quarter security report for 2022 to the state’s security council, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said members of the Ansaru and Boko Haram terrorists groups have infiltrated some parts of Birnin Gwari and Giwa local government areas.
Aruwan said the terrorists have been luring locals with gifts with a view to recruiting them into the criminal organisations.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed concern that the terrorists are moving from the North-East to the North-West with the intention of causing havoc.
He added that those who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound train were Boko Haram terrorists.
The Governor is also worried that the conduct of the 2023 general elections might be compromised in Kaduna state if the security challenges are not addressed.
Meanwhile, Aruwan said no fewer than 360 people have been killed by suspected terorrists in different parts of Kaduna State from January to April.
Kaduna central senatorial zone recorded the highest casualties with 214 deaths, the Commissioner said.
Aruwan further noted that 1,389 people were kidnapped by bandits in different attacks across Kaduna State during the period under review, including the 62 victims of the March 28 attack on a Abuja-Kaduna train.
Zamfara Govt Dethrones Two Emirs, District Head Accused Of Aiding Banditry
The Zamfara State government has dethroned two emirs and a district head over allegations of aiding the activities of bandits terrorising communities in the state.
Those affected by the government’s decision include the Emir of Zurmi, Abubakar Atiku, Emir of Dansadau, Hussaini Umar, as well as Sulaiman Ibrahim who used to be the District Head of Birnin Tsaba.
Mr Ibrahim Dosara, who is the Commissioner for Information in Zamfara, made the announcement on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the end of the State Executive Council meeting in Gusau, the state capital.
“The council has approved the deposition of Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and that of Dansadau, Alhaji Hussaini Umar,” he declared.
“The council also approved the immediate removal of the District Head of Birnin-Tsaba, Alhaji Sulaiman Ibrahim.”
According to the commissioner, the government has also ordered that all land titles issued by the affected traditional leaders be revoked.
“The State Executive Council has also directed the state Ministry of Justice to issue an executive order to back up the council resolution,” he added.
The deposition of the traditional leaders comes 10 months after they were suspended by the state government.
It also comes days after the submission of the reports of the committees set up by the state government to investigate the allegations against the affected traditional rulers.
“The council upheld the recommendation of a six-man white paper committee set up by the government to review the report of two separate committees earlier set up to investigate the involvement of the three traditional rulers in the activities of banditry in the state,” said a statement by Governor Bello Matawalle’s media aide, Zailani Bappa.
“The three impeached royal fathers were earlier suspended by the state government following wide allegations of serious involvement in the act of banditry in the state.
“The findings of the committees also revealed abuse of the Land Act in their domain and the government ordered the reversal to status quo involving the lands illegally allocated.”
Senate Passes Amended Terrorism Act, Criminalises Payment Of Kidnap Ransom
The Senate has prohibited the payment of ransoms to kidnappers in its bid to complement the Federal Government’s effort to tackle the disturbing spate of insecurity in the country.
Payment of kidnap ransom was criminalised by the lawmakers during Wednesday’s plenary in Abuja as they passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The prohibition by the lawmakers followed the receipt and consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters on the bill.
Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who chairs the committee, had moved that the lawmakers receive the report after which he presented it for consideration.
Thereafter, the lawmakers resolved into the committee of the whole to consider the report, clause by clause, and reverted to plenary to report progress.
This led to the reading of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for the third time and its subsequent passage.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, congratulated his colleagues on the passage of the bill which he said was very important.
“It is believed here in the Senate that this bill, by the time it is signed into Act by Mr President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and other associated vices,” he said.
“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security issues of Nigeria but even the economy of the country.
I believe that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon.”
According to Lawan, the fight against insecurity is not the sole purpose of a government and the contributions and support of the citizens are essential.
He explained that this was because the security agencies need critical information to tackle terrorism, kidnapping, and other threats to the nation’s security.
The Senate President stated that the security agencies were trying their best but needed to do more and achieve better results.
“With this, once again, I want to congratulate the Senate for this very important piece of legislation,” he concluded.
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