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South-East Governors: No More Sit-At-Home

Governors of South East, Igbo political and religious leaders have vowed to ensure that the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s suspended sit-at-home order will no longer be observed in the region and that people move about freely.

The leaders also said that they will engage the federal government for amicable settlement of all issues agitating the minds of Ndigbo, particularly their youths.

They further resolved that the South East regional security outfit, EbubeAgu, will be launched in all states if the zone passes enabling laws before the end of the year.

The leaders spoke at the time a Department of State Service, DSS, operative was shot dead in Imo and the Nigerian Army launched operation ‘Golden Dawn’ in the South East.

The Igbo leaders made the resolutions in a meeting of South East Governors, South East leaders, traditional rulers, National Assembly members and the clergy in Enugu, yesterday.

However, neither Governor Willy Obiano of Anambra State, nor his deputy, Nkem Okeke, was present at the security meeting despite the commotion in the state.

Anambra State has in the recent time been consistently unrepresented in official meetings such as Southern Governors’ meeting, South East Governors Forum among other strategic meetings.

Bianca Ojukwu had in a message she made public on Monday, pleaded with Governor Obiano to attend Tuesday’s meeting, but the Anambra Governor failed to be present.

Surprisingly, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State who had for sometime maintained absence was at the meeting, together with Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who were absent at the last Southern Governors meeting in Enugu were both in attendance.

Governor Umahi who read the communique said that they condemned the killings in the South East and have agreed to join hands with security agencies to stop the killings.

According to him: “The meeting condemned the sit-at-home order, which is mostly issued by our people in diaspora who do not feel the pains. In view of the information that even IPOB cancelled the sit-at-home, the meeting resolved that governors and all people in the southeast do everything within the law to ensure that there is no further sit-at-home in the south east and that people are allowed to freely move about in the zone.

“The meeting received report on various matters affecting the southeast, especially on the issue of security and marginalisation of the south east people, and resolved to study the reports for immediate implementation and engagement with the federal government for amicable settlement of all issues agitating the minds of our people, especially the youths.

“The meeting resolved to support election in Anambra State and directed security agencies to ensure a peaceful election in Anambra State come November 6 2021.”

The meeting mandated the clergy, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and traditional rulers to continue to dialogue with Igbo youths.

Among those who were present at the meeting are: Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State (Host); Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State; their Imo State counterpart, Senator Hope Uzodimma; and Abia State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu.

National Assembly members from the South East geo-political zone, former Governors, former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), Chief Nnia Nwodo, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Bishop Godfrey Onah, other religious leaders and traditional institutions from the zone including leaders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo were at the meeting.

The meeting observed a minute silence for all those who have lost their lives to the security challenges in the country especially in the South East zone.

The pandemonium experienced in parts of Imo State, last Monday, was not a fluke after all, as a serving operative of the Directorate of State Service, DSS, Mr. Ezem Ozuzu, was reported killed in the mayhem.

Already, the people of Umuoyo, Irete, in Owerri West local council area of Imo State, are demanding proper investigations and justice over the death of their son.

Confirming the young man’s death to Vanguard yesterday, an indigene of the community, Mr. Eze Eluchie, said: “My village, Umuoyo, Irete, Owerri West local government area of Imo State, lost its first victim to the insecurity foisted on the South East region.

“Mr. Ezem Ozuzu, who until his death on Monday, October 4, 2021, was a staff of the Directorate of State Service, DSS, Imo State Command, Owerri.

“The young man was the only DSS staff killed when the supposed unidentified gunmen struck in Owerri and its environs, purportedly to enforce last Monday’s sit-at-home order.”

Continuing, Eluchie said that “the DSS informed the people of the community that Mr. Ozuzu died in the course of an official duty in an encounter with the so-called Unknown Gunmen, UGM, yesterday” (Monday).

Answering a question, the villager said: “The people are completely perplexed because according to the DSS, Mr. Ozuzu was the only fatality in the so called encounter.

“The people of Umuoyo, Irete, demand proper investigations to ascertain the cause and exact circumstances of death or if it was a murder.

“The late Mr. Ozuzu, whose wife put to bed recently, was the breadwinner of his family. The people demand Justice.”

The remains of the late DSS operative have been deposited in an undisclosed morgue.

Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, yesterday, told the troops of “Exercise Golden Dawn” to focus on the objectives of the Exercise in order to curb violence and other criminal activities across the southeast in particular and the country in general.

Lieutenant General, Yahaya, also admonished the troops to respect the rights of members of their host communities and all citizens, warning that the Nigerian Army has zero tolerance for indiscipline.

He made the call when he visited Igbariam, Anambra East Local Government Area Anambra State, to Sector 5 troops of 302 Artillery Regiment and 14 Field Engineer Regiment, for the “Exercise Golden Dawn” as part of his assessment of the three Nigerian Army Field Training Exercises, which he flagged off on Monday.

The three Nigerian Army Field Training Exercises include “Exercise Golden Dawn” for South East; “Exercise Still Water”for Coastal areas and “Exercise Enduring Peace” for some states in the North Central and Federal Capital Territory.

Lieutenant General, Yahaya, had earlier visited the 82 Division Nigerian Army, Emene Enugu State and 24 Support Engineer Regiment in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State for operational assessment and commencement of the conduct of units and formations in the two states.

While in Igbariam Anambra State, where Sector 5 troops of 302 Artillery Regiment and 14 Field Engineer Regiment were inspected, the Commander, Colonel Abdulkarim Usman gave a highlight of the conduct of “Exercise Golden Dawn” in his Area of Responsibility.

Yahaya expressed satisfaction so far on the conduct of the exercise and commended the synergy among the security agencies.

We’ll deny IPOB, bandits freedom of action in Abia —Army

Also yesterday, the Nigerian Army vowed to deny members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB; bandits, kidnappers and criminal elements “freedom of action in Abia State”.

Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade Ohafia, Brigadier Gen. Mohammed who made the vow while flagging off Operation Golden Dawn at Ohafia, warned criminal elements to relocate from the state.

According to him, the special operation which will be staged in synergy with other security agencies, is tailored towards enhancing the security of lives and property of innocent law-abiding citizens during the “ember months”.

” These criminals are known to rob shop owners, terrorise commutters and murder innocent persons at will.”

Designate IPOB as terrorist organisation, American Academic tells US

Meantime, Ivan Sheehan, an American academic, has asked the United States government to designate the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organisation.

Sheehan, who is the executive director of the school of public and international affairs at the University of Baltimore , in an opinion article published in The Washington Times on Monday, gave reasons IPOB should be designated as a terrorist group by the US.

In 2017, the federal government declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

In recent times, the proscribed group has been accused of perpetrating violent attacks in the south-east in order to achieve its secession agenda but IPOB has repeatedly denied being behind the attacks.

Speaking on the activities of IPOB, Sheehan said the establishment of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) by IPOB signalled the end of the group’s “pretenses of being a peaceful movement”.

The American academic accused Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader, of supporting terrorism and issuing threats via Radio Biafra.

“Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s leader, is clearly unconcerned. That he feels no need to even disguise his support of terrorism is worrisome,” Sheehan wrote.

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