Governors and leaders from the southeastern part of the country say they will explore political solutions to resolve the intractable security challenges confronting the area.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi and chairman of the South-East Governors Forum stated this in a press statement issued in Abakaliki.
According to the statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday, the forum and leaders said they had identified some spokespersons allegedly speaking on behalf of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB.
They said they were strategically engaging some of the spokespersons.
“We as Southeast governors are committed to political solutions over the present situation and this will be achieved faster if all the illegal “sit-at-home’’ orders and violence by the various state agitators are stopped,’’ the statement said.
Mr Umahi assured that the Governors’ Forum, the socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Nd’igbo and the Conference of Southeast Bishops and Traditional Rulers were working hard to ensure adequate security in all parts of the zone.
“We thank Ohaneze Nd’igbo for the good job it did through its various committees in raising various solutions towards addressing all issues raised by our young children.
“South-East governors are studying their reports with the elders and leaders of the various Southeast states and very soon we will be meeting with the Federal Government on these issues.
“We are also looking at deploying political solutions in the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader, which we have already initiated,’’ the statement read.
“We are aware of the various illegal orders of “sit-at-home’’ by different groups of state agitators for our people of Southeast to sit at home every Monday and from Nov. 5 to Nov. 10.
“We have identified some of the spokespersons of some of these groups and we have been engaging them to stop all forms of violence and illegalities in the Southeast and allow our leaders to address all issues raised by them.
“We are working with security agencies, our local security outfits and our leaders to protect the lives of our people and to address all issues raised,’’ it added.
Mr Umahi commended religious leaders, the Conference of Bishops and Archbishops as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria for their interventions and mediations on the matter.
“We thank them for the good work. We will work with them to achieve the desired result for our people and for Nigeria,’’ the statement also read.
Mr Umahi pleaded with all security agencies deployed for the Nov.6 Anambra governorship election to secure the lives of the people in Anambra while operating within the rules of their engagements.
“We are aware that the insecurity in the Southeast has gone beyond IPOB. Cultists, armed robbers and kidnappers have recruited themselves and are using the name of IPOB to be killing innocent citizens. We will not allow this to continue,’’ the statement stressed.
The governor applauded the Federal Government and INEC for their determination to hold the Anambra election on Nov. 6.
“We will give them every support and shall help them to ensure a free, fair and violence-free election.
“We, therefore, ask our people to go out and vote for candidates of their choice as we have been assured of adequate security measures to secure their lives and property.
“We are confident that through our mediation, that of religious leaders, the Ohaneze Nd’igbo and traditional rulers, IPOB will see reasons to call off all “sit-at-home’’ orders including the one ordered for Nov. 5 to Nov. 10,’’ the statement read.