Gideon Arinze in Enugu
Governors of the South East geo-political zone have raised the alarm over the spate of kidnappings and wanton killings in the zone, calling on the federal government to come to their aid, bearing in mind that elections were around the corner.
The South East governors raised the alarm while briefing journalists after a closed-door meeting at the Government House, Enugu, yesterday.
The meeting was attended by the host governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Ebonyi State Governor and Chairman of the South East Governors’ Forum, David Umahi, while the governors of Anambra and Imo States, Prof. Charles Soludo and Senator Hope Uzodinma, were represented by their deputies, Dr. Onyekachukwu Ibezim and Prof. Placid Njoku, respectively.
The governors agreed to set up a 24-hour joint patrol in all major highways within the South East, especially, during the Christmas season.
Umahi, who addressed journalists, disclosed that the “South East governors decried the state of insecurity in the region,” adding that economic activities in the zone had come to a halt, “while kidnapping and wanton killing have become the order of the day.”
On the issue of floods, the South East governors commended the states and the federal governments on efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of the recent flood menace in the country and expressed hope that a long term solution was desirable.
The South East governors also agreed to put funds together to further assist the victims of flooding in the five states of the zone and went further to “plead with the federal government to please initiate action in the dredging of rivers in the South East, to ameliorate the destruction of houses, farmlands and properties.
“We request the federal government to come to the aid of the victims in terms of rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons,” he said.
On the purported statement that it was the South East governors that formed Eastern Security Network (ESN), Umahi denied the allegation, stating that, “South East Governors Forum jointly formed Ebubeagu and Forest Guards not ESN. So, it is not correct for any person to allude to the fact that South East governors created ESN.”
On the issue of Nnamdi Kanu, the governors, who reiterated their belief in a political solution, said they were watching with keen interest the developments with respect to Kanu’s case viz-a-viz the court rulings.
“However, we believe that a political solution is still possible in this circumstance,” the South East governors said.
The forum used the opportunity to congratulate and welcome Soludo to its fold and announced apologies from him and his Imo State counterpart, Senator Uzodinma, who were absent at the meeting because of other pressing official engagements.