Gift Joseph Okpakorese
The Governor of Imo State His Excellency, Hope Uzodimma, has drawn the attention of the federal government and the Igbo indigenous peoples in particular, that the current assaults meted in the South-Eastern regions of the country, has constituted the worst challenge faced by the Igbos since the experience of the civil war.
Recall that the civil war, which involved the indigenous people from Igbo extraction who, demanding their sovereignty in the Republic of Biafra, were confronted with so much resistance that led to war. This happened between 1967 and 1970, and it resulted in the loss of lives and properties of Nigerian citizens, especially the Igbos.
The governor made this statement while addressing the South-East Security Summit, which was recently held in Owerri, Imo state capital, on Sunday 11th April 2021.
There have been an upsurge in the series of attacks in recent times, within the southeast region, leading to killings and invasion of security and public facilities owned by state and government.
According to the research by
TheCable, it has been confirmed that between January and March, this year, the south-east region recorded 54 attacks and 222 deaths, representing a 344 percent rise in death rate when described in relation to the fatalities recorded between September and November last year.
Reacting to this ugly trend during the summit, Gov Uzodimma remarked that the region is being afflicted by a hydra-headed monster that must be subdued quickly, as things have gotten out of hand as it is now.
“While I will not easily subscribe to the school of thought that believes that the south-east is under siege, I will readily agree that since the end of the civil war, Ndigbo has not witnessed such a monumental existential challenge as the one now staring us in the face,” he said.
“The question of how we came to this sorry state is no longer necessary. What matters now is how to get out of it fast enough, and how to secure the zone from further harassment by militants and terrorists, and free our people from the accompanying fear and panic; they are forced to live within the aftermath of the mindless attacks.
“This is the agenda for this summit and it is one task that we must accomplish together or forever live with the shame that under our watch, militants overwhelmed our constituted authority and subjected our people to a state of perpetual fear and trembling.”
Gov Uzodimma bemoaned the rumors surrounding these incidents, and said that numerous misunderstandings have been formulated to clarify the assaults, and says that “the most ridiculous of these theories is the one that posits that Igbo no longer want to be part of Nigeria”.
He continued, acknowledging that the massive contributions made by the Igbos towards the growth and development of the Nation’s economy cannot be overemphasized and that Igbos are major stakeholders in Nigeria, with dominance in several sectors, therefore, disintegration will not be profitable to its natives.
Gov Uzodimma, therefore, enjoined all the governors and political stakeholders within the southeast regions to come together as one to announce that they are not by any means at conflict with the federal government.
“If anything, we are on the same page in not only condemning terrorism anywhere in Nigeria but in fighting same with all the arsenals at our behest. Like I have propounded time after time, Igbos are not at war with anyone, neither is anyone at war with Ndigbo,” he said.
“What Ndigbo wants is justice, equity, and fairness — a Nigeria that provides a level-playing ground for all citizens. That is what we want, not Biafra. And we believe we can get what we want through constructive and tenacious engagement with fellow nationals and relevant institutions, not by violence or war.
“Those creating the erroneous impression that Igbos want to leave Nigeria are either naive or mischievous. Igbos need Nigeria just like Nigeria and Nigerians need Igbos.”
Another significant point mentioned by the Imo State Governor was the urgency of various security agencies within the zone to work together through intelligence gathering and sharing rather than working independently cause the fight against insurgency has gotten to a whole new level with some political undertone at play.
He also beckoned on all security chiefs to furnish data on needed logistics to put an end to the niggling attacks within the region.