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Tell Nigerian Leaders Threatening The Igbo To Stop : Umahi To Magashi, Defence Minister |The Republican News

South East Governors Forum

  by Kenechukwu Ofomah

Ebube Agu Security Outfit is the only recognized security outfit in the Southeast region and no other has the mandate to speak for the region.

The clarification was made by the Chairman, Southeast Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr Dave Umahi on Friday after a closed door Southeast Security Council Meeting, held at Enugu.

The Federal Government delegation led by the Minister for Defence, Retired Major-General Bashir Magashi, also included Heads of the various security agencies, including the Chief of Army Staff, Major-General Farouk Yahaya.

Addressing newsmen after the meeting which lasted for hours, Governor Umahi, condemned exchange of inflammatory comments, killing of innocent citizens, attacks on security operatives, as well as destruction of public infrastructures in the Southeast region.

He restated the ban on open grazing in the region, which is fueling insecurity across the nation, including the Southeast region.

“In resolving any conflict, the nature and causes of the conflict must be identified and discussed. This meeting discussed the issues of insecurity and I must commend the Federal Government delegation for the commitment they have shown. Our stakeholders are excited and satisfied with such sincere commitment which I believe, is a new dawn not only in the Southeast but the entire Nigeria. We discussed issue of ban on open grazing and the delegation has agreed on our position on the ban,” he said.

Umahi revealed that the meeting also agreed that the Southeast governors articulate the grievances of Ndigbo as identified by Ohaneze Ndigbo, especially as it affects marginalization of the region.

He expressed belief that if the numerous agitations are addressed, it will go a long way to douse the tension in the region and encourage the people to continue to believe in the Nigerian project.

“Ndigbo are committed to one united Nigeria, where fairness, equity and justice thrive. There is need for the various zones to advise leaders of this country to mind their utterances so as not to speak the country into violence. Those who dish out hate speeches, or threats of succession do not speak for Southeast. Southeast people are not for secession and we condemn the wanton killing of security agents and attacks on security formations. This is not what we are known for,” the Southeast governors’ Chairman posited.

He made it clear that Ebubeagu is the only local security outfit recognized in the region, adding that the position of the region, which is in line with that of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, will be articulated at a meeting scheduled for the 19th of June.

Responding, the leader of the Federal Government delegation, Retired Major-General Bashir Magashi, said the Buhari-led administration is committed to addressing instability and other forms of criminality bedeviling the nation and the region in particular, and thanked SouthEast leaders for efforts in that regard.

The Minister, who promised to bring the issue of marginalisation reechoed in the meeting to the attention of the President, enjoined stakeholders in the region to encourage Community Policing as the Southwest did with the Amotekun regional security outfit.

“We have listened to the government, the traditional institution, and the religious leaders and we agreed to commit ourselves to addressing the issue of insecurity in the country. We have seen the commitment of the Southeast governors to the unity and stability of the country and I am giving them the assurance that the commitment will be raised to the President.

“We have discussed the Herders complaint, marginalization of the zone, issue of community policing among other things and we believe we can work together to bring back peace and stability in the region and the entire country,” he said (The Chronicle)

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South East Governors Reject Eastern Security Network By IPOB, Calls it Distraction | The Republican News

David Umahi

■ Coronavirus: Umahi directs aggressive awareness campaign in 140 communities

By Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki

Chairman of South Governor’s Forum and Governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi, yesterday said the region does not need the security outfit recently launched by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) ,Nnamdi Kanu, to protect the zone.

Kanu recently launched Eastern Security Network(ESN) to protect the zone from Fulani herdsmen and other security challenges, saying the outfit became imperative because of the failure of the governors and leaders of the zone to take proactive measures towards the protection of lives and property of the people.

But Umahi on Friday insisted that the region remains the safest in the entire nation and does not need Kanu’s outfit.

Umahi who stated this while briefing journalists in his office in Abakaliki urged the people to disregard the purported security outfit, noting that the governors and leaders of the region were doing everything within their powers to protect the lives and property of the citizens and that of those from other regions living in the area.

He expressed worry that some youths from the region allowed themselves to be engaged for the destruction of lives and property, vowing that leaders of the zone will resist the outfit.

“Our region remains the safest and nobody can controvert this. And so, our brother said he has formed security outfit for the southeast. It is very laughable and should be totally ignored.

“I commend very highly the Southeast Governors. It is only in the Southeast that the leaders are being castigated openly. It is the duty of the Governors to protect the lives of the citizens and also the citizens of other regions living in their states that are not from Southeast. I want them to ignore the side distractions.

“We are doing a lot in education of our people, payment of salaries, infrastructure development and most especially the security of our people. No Governor will come openly to tell you A to Z what he is doing about security. But I want it to be debated whether Southeast is not the safest in the country.

“We need to warn that our youths should desist from being engaged for the destruction of lives and property. During the #EndSARS, this happened in all the states of the Southeast. The Governors of Southeast will no longer tolerate that. We continue to keep our eyes on the ball to ensure that anybody living under our care is protected”, he said.

Speaking on the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Umahi directed strict enforcement of the coronavirus protocols to contain the current wave of the disease in all parts of the country.

“I am directing that church services should not last more than two hours. I am directing that we should step up our testing. Before the end of January, we must have accomplished the presidential taskforce target of 450 people tested in each of the 13 LGAs. I have suspended large gathering of people in Ebonyi State. We have directed that wearing of nose mask is very compulsory in all public places and in our homes,” he said.

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Umahi Leaving PDP To Join APC After Informing Secondus, Others |The Republican News

Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi

Olusola Fabiyi

 The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.null

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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Rivers State Will Continue To Be Home To The Igbo —Nyesom Wike |The Republican News

Gov. Wike addressing South East Governors and leaders

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the state will continue to be home to people of the Igbo Ethnic Nationality.

Governor Wike gave the assurance during a meeting with South-East Governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo and the Igbo community in the state at Government House, Port Harcourt on Sunday.

The governor said in the wake of the Oyigbo crisis, people peddled the rumour that he is chasing Igbos out of Rivers State which is not true because the state has an enduring relationship with the Igbos.

South East Governors Chairman, Gov. Dave Umahi responding to Wike’s address

“Tell your people, Rivers people will continue to live together with Igbos. Don’t allow your sons to tell you lies. Igbos are innovative and hardworking. There can’t be Nigeria without Igbos. Nobody should take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean you must allow criminals to spoil your name.

“If I hate Igbos, I won’t appoint your son into my state cabinet two times. But you have to obey rules. Don’t allow criminals to dictate to you”.

The Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has warned Igbos to be weary of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) because the outlawed group is trying to instigate another civil war.

He said they were in Rivers State to ascertain the veracity of the news circulating in the social media over alleged killing of Igbo people living in the State. According to him, their findings has proved otherwise.

Umahi after listening to Governor Wike’s narration of the atrocious activities of IPOB in Oyigbo that culminated in the imposition of curfew in the entire Local Government, warned Igbos to be wary of IPOB as the group was bent on instigating another civil war that will result in the murder of Igbo people.

The governor said he finds it nauseating that IPOB could go to Benue and Rivers State to foist its flag and claim the territories belong to the Igbo people. According to him, Igbo leadership are opposed to this stance by IPOB.

Umahi, who revealed that he has huge investment in Rivers State, urged Igbos living in the State to respect the Government and people of Rivers State in order for them to continue to live and do business in the State peaceful. According to him, Ndi-Igbos cannot support any form of criminality.

Gov.Nyesom Wike chatting with Gov. Dave Umahi

Also speaking, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo said the meeting has reinforced the existing affinity between Igbos and the people of Niger Delta.

He described Governor Wike as a champion of restructuring of Nigeria and a man who loves justice.

He explained that the leadership of Igbos cannot remain aloof while some misguided few who did not experience the brutal reality of the last civil war continue to fan the ember of disunity.

Nwodo, said he was elated to hear from Igbo leaders that under the leadership of Governor Wike Igbo businesses have continued to thrive.

Former Rivers State governor, Dr Peter Odili, lauded the Igbo leaders for the peace initiative and decision to visit Governor Wike.

He stated that every governor desires peace to govern and Governor Wike is no exception. He stressed that the people of the State endorse every measure taken by Governor Wike to ensure lasting peace in the State.

Present at the meeting were the Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu. Other dignitaries are: Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; former Governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia; the chairman of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, among others.

KELVIN EBIRI
Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor.
November 08, 2020.

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Umahi: ‘I Rented 2,000 Persons To Cheer Buhari In Abakaliki If Not APC’ll Be Booed

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye , Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

 

The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, has disclosed how he rented 2,000 persons to beef up the crowd that came to cheer President Muhammadu Buhari at the Abakiliki Township Stadium. He said he did that to save the president from seeing empty seats because his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not on ground in the state.

He has also debunked allegations that he is paying any amount he likes to workers in the state saying that if he is doing that, he would have long been exposed in the media.

Umahi was reacting to APC gubernatorial candidate, Sonni Ogbuoji’s allegation at the presidential campaign rally at the Abakaliki Township Stadium, that Ebonyi workers have had to endure poor pay, no gratuity for retired workers and even some of them have been reduced to mere slaves that do not deserve any form of promotion.

Speaking to journalists shortly after seeing off President Muhammadu Buhari to his helicopter on his way to Calabar, Umahi denied that the 5,200 workers he inherited had been reduced to 3,200. He said rather than do that, he released the sum of N4 billion to the workers to access soft loans to help them to do any form of agricultural business of their choice. He added that he even had to allow them to use Fridays to engage in any business they prefer that would help them generate additional income.

The governor said: “You see, when they have nothing to accuse you of, they  come up with something. In the first place, the staff I met, I have never retired anyone of them and I don’t think two percent of the workforce has been retired. But I have said that there is no need to employ more people because the condition of those in service – not only in Ebonyi State but also, nationwide  – is not palatable. So you have to take care of those you have employed before you think of employing more people.

“That is why I made available N4 billion to the civil servants to take loans within a range they can pay back ; even if any of them has up to 25 years to stay in service, the loan will last for 25 years.

“I gave them Fridays free to go and do any agric business of their choice.. Because, I know there is no amount of money you will pay civil servants that will be enough for them; there is always nothing left after paying salaries for you as a governor to work with. Because, the essence of one being in government is to do something for the people; but when you use 100 percent of your earnings to pay salaries, then what are they working for? So, I devised a means whereby everyone should be doing something more useful and that is why we made available soft loan to them.

“If it’s true that I pay the civil servants anything I like, I will be on the pages of newspapers always; you know civil servants are not the type that will keep quiet. Ask them (APC members in the state) what is the GDP of the state like;; ask them the factors and indices that make up the GDP, they won’t know. I am a trained engineer and all my life I have been in business, employing thousands of people, and so I understand what governance and administration are all about.”

He described Ogbuoji as spent force who has nothing to campaign with.

The governor said as the Chairman of South East Governors Forum, he decided to organise 2,000 people to fill the stadium to welcome President Buhari  because he didn’t want him to feel he was not liked by the people of the state or the region, that has benefited from his administration’s projects.

Umahi said: “They have nothing to talk about but complaints. The last time Mr. President was here, they wrote a 15-page petition against me and Mr President said to me, don’t allow your frustration to overwhelm you. We have performed beyond human expectations and that is their problem; they have nothing to campaign with.

“When I was a deputy governor, they were all the people we helped. Then, and if you saw their venom against Mr. President when he was contesting in 2015, you would doubt the morality of human beings. So they have nothing to campaign about.”

On the allegation that he bamboozled the president, pretending to be his supporter while he was doing everything underneath to frustration his re-election bid, the governor said: “I don’t understand what they mean by support. We belong to two different political parties and so the support for Mr. President as a governor, is what we are doing.

We are not castigating Mr. President; rather, we are supporting him; that is our  support for him. We acknowledged publicly what he, Mr. President ,is doing for Ebonyi State, that is the support we are giving to him.

“Morally and ethically, I am not supposed to come out and start shouting while I’m still holding the ticket of PDP and saying ‘vote APC president.’  But there are many ways of giving support, as the chairman of South East Governors Forum; we have given Mr. President a very good landing opportunity in the South East and definitely he will have more votes that he had the other time.”

On the allegations that he initially denied the APC use of the Abakiliki Stadium, Umahi said: “The first time they wanted to use the stadium, But ;they had two factions of the party, and they were likely going to fight and destroy our property. So, I said no; they should clear with the Commissioner of Police and come up with one set of leadership so that they can use the stadium and I was going to give it to them free of charge.

“Today, not only did we give them the stadium which of course is important of  me it to give them when Mr. President is coming;, we renovated the stadium and painted the seats. We called them for a security council meeting; some of them came and we asked them what they want.

“ere Now, the crowd you saw there at the stadium, 2,000 of them were from me because I know they have nobody. But for it not to seem like Ebonyi people don’t love Mr. President, I had to make available 2,000 persons to come and cheer the president. That is why if you check the crowd, while they were castigating me unduly, the crowds were not clapping’, the people were not happy. But for the respect they have for Mr. President, they could have booed them. I had to do what I because L’m not into extreme politics; I’m into politics for development.”  (The Sun)

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Ebonyi State Government Supports Army’s Operation Python Dance |RN

Operation-python-dance 2

The Ebonyi State Government has declared support for the ongoing Nigerian Army exercise – “Egwu Eke’’, Python Dance II, in the South East zone.

Governor David Umahi declared the support when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He, however, urged the army to keep to its rules of engagement.

Represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwu, Umahi noted that there was a misconception of the exercise by some people in the region.

He said that the first phase of the exercise, which took place in the zone between November and December 2016, recorded success without any reported case of human rights abuse or molestation.

“We support the army; we support the exercise, but please dance by the rules of engagement; dance in the bush, not in the street,’’ the governor said.

On the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Umahi condemned the activities of the group, saying “we do not address perceived injustice through violence’’.

The governor said the state was enjoying relative peace in terms of security.

He called for army establishment of army formation in the border between Ebonyi and Cross River, to address recurring communal clashes in the area.

Earlier, the army chief restated that the exercise was designed to sharpen the skills of personnel to be able to deal with internal security issues.

Buratai stressed that Egwu Eke was carefully planned in the interest of the South East and not targeted at any group, saying that security was “key to development’’.

“We assure you that our troops will abide by rules of engagement and code of conduct,’’ he said.

He said that alongside the exercise, the army would render humanitarian services such as medical outreach and sanitation in various communities in the region and urged the people to show understanding. (NAN)

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