|S-EAST GOVERNORS—From left, Deputy Gov. of Anambra State,|
Dr. Nkem Okeke, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu, Abia State,
Rochas Okorocha, Imo State, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Enugu State
at the South East Governors Forum in Enugu State, yesterday.
The ethnic nationalities of the South-South geo-political zone, yesterday [Nov. 17], denounced demands for Biafra by Igbo in the South-East zone and called for an immediate cessation of pro-Biafra protests on their soil. This came as the South East Governors Forum, SEGF, summoned an emergency meeting of Igbo leaders to discuss the persisting protests by members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which have paralysed economic activities in the old Eastern region.
In a 10-point communique issued at Uyo at the end of a meeting held under the auspices of the Conference of Ethnic Nationalities of the South-South at Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, chaired by HRM, Obong (Dr) EU Ekidem, Ntisong Ibibio III, the Ntisong of Ibibio land, they dissociated the South-South zone from the “so-called Biafra.”
Representatives of Ibibio, Efik, Anang, Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Ikwerre, Oro, Isoko and several other nationalities attended the summit. Among them were the interim chair of the group, HRM Ekidem, Convener of the meeting and Secretary of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILoT, Delta state, Barrister Edward Ekpoko, Albert Akpomudje, SAN (Urhobo) and president general of Ogbakor- Ikwerre in Rivers state, Prof A.M Onyeozu.
Pastor Nelson CocoBassey (Efik ethnic nationality), Ulap Bidiak Uloh (Oro ethnic nationality), Amechi Ogbonnia (Itsekiri), Obong Ukpong Umoh and Obong Aniedi Ndem were at the conference and signed the communique.
The South South nationalities said:
We will not allow any inch of the land of the ethnic nationalities mentioned above and other lands of the South-South to be part of the ill-thought-out enterprise. We call for a halt to demonstrations for Biafra on our land henceforth as it touches on the collective sensibilities of our people and could provoke ethnic crisis.
We are not only surprised but shocked that Igbos who returned to Nigeria after the fall of Biafra in January 15, 1970 with tales of woes and horrors can talk about Biafra. It is in the interest of Igbos that Nigeria is protected as they have more investments outside their homeland.
The Conference called on governors, political leaders and traditional rulers of the South-East geopolitical zone to “speak out now as their silence is becoming eloquent.” Furthermore, the South-South ethnic nationalities urged “well-meaning Igbos to call their children/wards to order to prevent an avoidable crisis.”
“We call on the law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant. We believe in one Nigeria and will do all within our power to protect the unity of Nigeria,” they stated.