South-East governors, on Saturday explained why it became necessary to proscribe the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB) led by Nnamdi Kanu.
The governors of the region had soon after the Nigerian Defence headquarters tagged the group a terrorist sect, placed a ban on their activities in the region.
Justifying the proscription order, Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, said that the activities of the group had gone out of hand, and that Kanu could no longer control the members.
Umahi, Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, spoke to journalists in Abakaliki, the state capital, after a meeting with some security chiefs in attendance.
He also said that the action was to douse tension and end loss of lives in the region, as IPoB had lost its mandate by causing mayhem.
“When you put a small fire, how far it can go cannot be controlled. The IPoB activities were gradually going out of control of Nnamdi Kanu. Soldiers were passing by when IPOB members started throwing stones and other objects at them and it sparked the clash between the group and the military.
“It is a shame that when this thing happened, a man called Charles Ogbu had to send the phone numbers of South-East governors, the Senate President among others to our people and all our people could do was to call to insult us, talk to us anyhow. These are people that never experienced war in their lives.
“Our focus is how to save lives of every Nigerian and we believe in a united Nigeria. Lives of people are involved and we must not play politics with that”, the governor explained.
He also enjoined security agencies to ensure the safety of non-indigenes in Ebonyi and other parts of the South-East.
“Anybody that wants to foment trouble must be crushed and I want security agencies to beef up security around non-indigenes in the state and to report to me of any problem because we must maintain the peace, he added.
According to him, the proscription of IPOB had achieved its desired result, as it had stopped the tension and killings in the South-East.
He also called on youths, especially from the region, to stop insulting elected leaders like President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors, and explained that Operation Python Dance had no ulterior motive.
The Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum said the military exercise was to check kidnapping, armed robbery and other social vices in the South-East.
The governor said Operation Python Dance II was not targeted at IPOB, and that no one including the military expected that there will be violence as the Egwu Eke I that was staged last year was largely successful.
Umami further announced the setting up of an investigative panel to look into the alleged killings arising from the clash between IPOB and the military in Abia.
He claimed that contrary to agitations by IPOB, majority of Igbo do not want secession from Nigeria but to be treated fairly, equitably and justly in the country.
He noted that such issues should not be a reason to talk about secession, maintaining that dialogue should be the best way to resolve and redress all differences.
Reports in some quarters claim that the IPOB leader Kanu and his top lieutenants have gone underground into hiding, even as they maintained, that IPOB is a non violent organization.
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