The Ebonyi State governor and chairman, South-East Governors Forum, Chief David Umahi, has said that the people of South-East region are against the Biafra agitation, rather they only seeks equal treatment as being done to other components of Nigeria and a sense of belonging.
Governor Umahi, who made the disclosure on Wednesday on during a television interview monitored by LEADERSHIP, said that marginalisation and inequality being suffered by the region was responsible for the resurgence of the Biafra agitation.
He stated that the agitation has snowballed into killings and other security challenges facing South-East.
According to him, “Before now, we have armed robbers, kidnappers and cultists but the state governments have been able to contain them.”
Governor Umahi noted that the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) came with hate speeches, adding that a country cannot be achieved through hate speeches the is dishing out.
“From hate speeches, they moved to threats of killings to actual killings and formation of militant group. So, that is where we are now. The people have started to ask, ‘if you are fighting to free us, why are you killing us?’ Because we are the ones killing ourselves.
“Any day anybody says sit-at-home, people are not sitting at home out of obedience but out of fear. If you have adequate security, then nobody is going to sit-at-home.
“So we are going to do what we have been doing to safeguard the lives of our people because we have gotten the confidence of our people that these groups (separatist groups) do not mean well for us and that you cannot have Biafra by the way you are going about it.
“Meanwhile, every elite in South-East is not desirous of Biafra, we don’t want Biafra, we want to be treated equally with other regions of Nigeria.
“So, this idea of Biafra is madness. And we have said no, we don’t want Biafra. And according to our leaders, it is because we were not being equally treated that gave rise to this loophole and some persons began to work on the people’s psyche and that led to formation of these agitation groups,” the governor said.
Umahi noted that from security reports, some of the killings in Anambra Stats are linked to the forthcoming governorship election.
He said some unpopular politicians and political parties were importing mercenaries to carry out the killings.
“IPOB is saying that there should be no election in Anambra State. If there is no election, we will go into constitutional crisis. Of course the National Assembly and Mr President are there to sort that out.
“Maybe some political parties that have seen that they were not going to win have been importing people to do the killings, these were some of the unconfirmed reports we got yesterday, though unconfirmed.
“IPOB is positioning themselves as killing machines because they are the ones saying there will be no election. So even if they are not the ones killing, they have taken responsibility for the killings.
“But it will be a slap on the federal government. So, I think the federal government should do everything possible to show that they are in charge and the election hold even if it means shifting it within the limits of INEC constitutional powers, and that election should hold,” Umahi stated.