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We are committed to our call, South East Governors tell critics

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Governors of the Southeast geopolitical zone said yesterday that they have not compromised the security and welfare of the people of the area, stressing that they were committed to their call.

They stated that they were pained anytime any of their people was killed, raped, manhandled or appear to have been short-changed in the country.

The governors were reacting to a statement from the Igbo Union, an organisation of Igbo people resident in the United States of America (USA), which accused them of “insensitivity to the threat and terrorisation of Igbo by suspected Fulani herdsmen roaming (Igbo) villages with their cattle and AK-47 rifles.”

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The Igbo group, which was reacting to the killing of Mazi Ozoemena Iriaka, a 65-year-old who hailed from Umuekpu-Agwa community in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State by suspected herdsmen, pointed out in a letter they wrote to the governors that such killings had become a routine and the order of the day.

The body further accused the Southeast governors of unsatisfactory “response to the influx of Fulani militia into Igboland which skyrocketed during the COVID-19 lockdown,” urging them to emulate their Southwest counterparts who have appropriately reacted to the same menace by creating their security outfit called Amotekun.

But responding to the allegations, the governors in a statement by the Director of Media and Communications, Micheal Ike Udah, said they were as committed to the welfare of Ndigbo and other law-abiding Nigerians as ever.

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Pointing to a recent incident, they said: “On May 24, 2020, (just last month), the Southeast governors rose from a meeting and openly expressed their displeasure with the procedure adopted by the Inspector-General of Police on Community Policing. This made the police boss to quickly convene a meeting with them where both parties amicably resolved their grievances and agreed to work together for the good of the Southeast region and Nigeria.

“The Southeast governors are working to have a regional security network. Each individual state in the region has got its own security outfit — Forest Guards in Enugu, Neighbourhood Watch in Ebonyi and Operation Kpochapu in Anambra. The scenario is the same in Imo and the Abia States.

“The governors are working to harmonise the operations of these security agencies. There are some legislative and logistical issues involved here, and they will be sorted out over time. The Southeast governors are quite conscious of the need to balance the interests of Ndigbo with those of other Nigerians within the Nigerian federation.”

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