The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has allegedly placed some Southeast governors under the death sentence for yet to be undisclosed reasons.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who made the allegation yesterday in Abuja, said he is one of those under the IPOB fatwa.
He spoke on a day his Imo State counterpart, Hope Uzodinma, accused opposition elements of sponsoring the recurring violence across the country for the purpose of discrediting the Buhari administration.
Ikpeazu, speaking during an interactive session with youths and women under the auspices of the “TOS Foundation Youth and Women for Good Governance” initiative, organised by The Osasu Show (TOS) Television Network, in Abuja, on Thursday night, did not say why IPOB wants him and other Southeast governors dead, but said he does not subscribe to the style or strategy of the leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu.
The governor said although some of the issues being raised by Kanu are valid, his strategy leaves much to be desired.
“People are beginning to think now that some of the issues raised by Nnamdi (Kanu), if they are issues of injustice, marginalisation and inequality, any part of society have a right to begin to feel cheated or unwanted,” he said.
“So, some of those things which Nnamdi said are valid. Some of us can see them. We cannot continue to hide behind a finger.
“But some of us do not subscribe to his style or strategy. Because I do not understand where he is going and how he is going and when he plans to pull the brakes and what he wants to achieve.
“If I have a way of conveying my views to the leadership of that group, what I will say is they should find a way to enter into conversation and let people know.
“I am under their fatwa now and some of my brother governors. They say if you see them kill them.’
He accused IPOB of “fighting in the kitchen.”
He added: “by the time the war in the kitchen ends, mama’s pot of soup would have spilled, there will be no plates to eat and everybody would be hungry and eventually it would not serve any good purpose. I don’t understand their strategy.
“I don’t understand what they want to achieve and I don’t understand why they prefer to attack institutions of civil rule.
“A lot of people who are apologetic to their strategy do not even know that they are riding the tiger because if the police and the military withdraw and brigands become the enforcers of law and order, if you have a little quarrel with your brother, how do you resolve it?”
On how to tackle the security challenges in the country, he said: “I would like us to address the insecurity issue in Nigeria holistically. I don’t want to look at the insecurity in the Southeast as opposed to the one in the North-west or North-east.
“The problem of insecurity in this country is as a result of the fact that the security admix of our country, which we inherited from the late sixties or early seventies, focuses more on spending on boots on ground, arms and ammunition.
“That may be good, classically speaking, but if you are fighting an asymmetric war, which is a war that is faceless, what you do is to change the arrangement and the ratio should be 65 per cent intelligence gathering, research and development and only 35 per cent for boots on ground because if you have not given intelligence to the boots on ground who are they going to battle?”
Governor Hope Uzodinma whose state, Imo, has come under attacks from gunmen and arsonists lately, claimed yesterday that the current spate of violence across the country is being sponsored by the opposition for the purpose of discrediting the government.
He asked the security and intelligence agencies to expose the brains behind the gale of banditry by publishing their names.
Emerging from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Uzodinma told correspondents that the sponsors of the violence were engaging in a diabolic version of politicking, which he described as anti-people.
He said about 50 suspects have been arrested in connection with the recent attacks on police and correctional facilities in his state, and alleged that those attacks were carried out by a mix of persons from within the state, other Southeast states and non-Igbo.
He urged Nigerians not to allow opposition elements to destroy the unity and diversity of the country, which he described as a blessing from God and the strength of the nation’s unity.
“I don’t think I will support any call for secession, I want a united, strong Nigeria. Our strength is in our diversity and today, we are supposed to play a leading role in this continent,” he said.
Continuing, he said: “We don’t want to whittle down our strength. Rather, what I advise is that we must appreciate the gift of nature in our land and support the government. Listen, let me tell you something, this country is blessed by God.
“From 2015 till today, I thought what the problem would be is people saying there’s no job creation, people are not feeding, salaries are not paid, infrastructure is going down, social interventions are not approved by the government. These things are there, available, a pass mark for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Now, people are no longer talking about that; rather what they are doing is to sponsor crisis, to the extent that those funding this banditry are politicians, which I challenge and call on security agencies to make their names available to the press because what they want to do is to distract a government that is focused.
“If this government is not doing well, I’ll be one of those that will declare the government as not doing well, but a situation where you’ll leave the formal way, ethical way of doing politics, and you are now sponsoring banditry to bring down a government… for Christ’s sake, we should rise up and condemn it, all of us.”
On the attacks on police stations and the correctional facilities in the state, the governor said they were carried out by people from within and from outside the state.
He said: “some of those arrested by security agencies, some of them are not from Imo State or the Southeast. It was a combination of those within the state and those from outside the state. At the last count, we arrested almost 40 to 50 people, who also made useful statements and confessed to the crime.
“I continue to tell you that this issue of banditry is something that we must all rise up as people to condemn and then support security agencies to be able to provide an enabling environment for people to go about their businesses, without fear of any molestation.
“The job of security of a country cannot be left to security agencies alone. The job requires the citizenry to support security agencies through intelligence gathering, also government at all levels, including traditional leaderships, to support government because the bandits stay among us, the criminals live among us and if we’re not in a position to report them, or report their activities to security agencies, then we are undoing ourselves.
“So I encourage everybody to see this as a collective challenge that all of us must join hands; whether you are from the local government, community level, to state, up to the federal government; we must join hands because we don’t have another country. The only country we can beat our chests and call our own is Nigeria and we must work towards ensuring that the integrity of our country, the security situation in our country, is such that allows people, residents and citizens to go about their businesses without the fear of molestation
“Any problem anywhere, in any part of the country is also a problem everywhere in the country. Today, it may be Imo State; you don’t know when it will be your own state. So, if we don’t come now and nip this thing in the bud, it means that one day we may not have a country. So, let us defend our country; it is very important.”
The governor, who said he visited the President on the issue of security in Imo State lauded Buhari for showing genuine concerns for the people of his state.