The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has asked the federal government not to stop at whatever could avert another civil war in the nation

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The Northern Elders Forum

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has asked the federal government not to stop at whatever could avert another civil war in the nation.

Nigeria had its first and only civil war between 1966 and 1970 through which the Eastern Region, largely peopled by Igbo, attempted secession in the then national government led by Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd).

There were attendant losses after the war, particularly on the side of the secessionists who desired the Biafran Republic beneath Odumegwu Ojukwu, then a Colonel from the Nigerian Army.

However, a truce has been reached at Aburi, Ghana, during which the warring parties agreed to sheathe their sword and announced that a ‘no victor no vanquished’ position with the 3Rs of Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation.

Fresh threat

But addressing select journalists at the end of its meeting Monday at Abuja on the brand new threat from the South-east, NEF’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated the South-east political leaders are even afraid of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and also the Eastern Security Network (ESN), hence cannot curb insecurity in the region.

He explained:”Northern Elders Forum has reviewed tendencies and events, which imply that the nation is headed for more emergencies. The ability of the Nigerian State to secure citizens, protect the nation’s territorial integrity and resist violent assaults on our motto is weakening into the degrees of earning threats that have no impact.

“Armed criminals of all types have improved their fearless stranglehold over our lives in most areas of the nation. Irredentists are increasingly asserting their influence over in the South East and some parts of the country, and at the way that countless Nigerians now reside. Rhetorics from governmental leaders and ethnic champions who speak in risks and demands routinely imply the sentiments in service of irredentism are getting more prevalent.

“All Nigerians are paying the price of failure of two sets of leaders. At the federal level, the government seems to have lost the capacity to stop the slow descent of the country into anarchy. Political leaders at the South East seem to have submitted to violence and terror of IPOB and ESN. Muted voices of millions of Igbo can’t be discovered so that fellow Nigerians may comprehend the level to which secession by the Igbo signifies the popular choice.

“This country has had to fight a horrible war to preserve the nation. The North had paid its dues in that war, as indeed it did in several ways throughout the history of the nation. Under our present conditions, no Nigerian must welcome a different war to keep the nation together. The North in particular has more than enough challenges, and we realize that violent secession by any part of Nigeria will compound the problems all Nigerians reside with.

“The Forum has arrived at the difficult conclusion that if support for secession one of the Igbo is as prevalent as it’s being made to look, and Igbo leadership is apparently in support of it, then the country ought to be advised not stand in its own way. It will not be the best option for your Igbo or Nigerians to leave a country we have all toiled to build and a country we all have the responsibility to fix, but it won’t enable a nation already filled up with failures on its knees to fight another war to keep the Igbo in Nigeria.

“The Forum insists that attacks and killings of both Northerners and Federal Government workers and destruction of National assets must stop. People who have been involved in it should be arrested and prosecuted.

“We support calls for Northerners who are exposed to harassment and violence to consider relocating to the North. Unlike the postures and complacency of those leaders of the South East, we advise that Igbo and other cultural groups in the South living in the North should be accorded the usual hospitality and safety.

Read also: Breaking: Umahi, the chairman of the South East Security Committee resigned

“The Forum believes that it is vital to deal with amendments to the constitution and also achieve big changes in the construction and operations of the Federal system now. Members of this National Assembly chosen by Nigerians have lost contact with those they’re supposed to represent. This explains the significant distances which exist between the people and the key national institution that ought to play a major role in mitigating domestic emergencies.

“The National Assembly should explore further avenues for tapping into opinions that can help redress serious limitations to the Federal system prior to the 2023 elections. The North is ready to discuss all matters related to constitutional amendments/ restructuring with the direction of the nation along with other groups who see their existence in the near future of Nigeria,” NEF added.

Umahi resigns

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the South East Security Committee, codenamed, Ebubeagu, Major-General Obi Abel Umahi (rtd) has resigned his place.

Umahi tendered his resignation in a letter dated June 4, 2021, entitled: “Resignation as Chairman South East Security Committee — Ebubeagu” and addressed to the chairman of their South-East Governors Forum.

From the letter also replicated to President General Ohanaeze Ndigbo Ambassador George Obiozor, Umahi said since the creation of this safety outfit, the southeast governors had stifled it of funds and without supplying it with an office space.

Part of the letter reads:”Considering this Security Committee was shaped, we deliberated and agreed on ways to raise security consciousness down to the community level in Igbo land, mode of operations, logistics and a few forms of equipment required, like drones, vehicles etc.. We also crafted the Idea of SE Safety.

“Additionally, I chaired a 21-man Committee set up to draft a legal framework for the SE Safety outfit. The committee was composed of all members of the SE Security committee, the Attorney generals of those five Southeast states and some prominent Igbo sons and brothers. The 21-man Legal Framework Committee was funded to end by the Governor of Ebonyi State.

Subsequently, the draft legal framework Made by the 21-man Committee has been reviewed by SE Security Committee members along with the Attorney Generals of those five Se States to suit South East Ebubeagu Security outfit.

“The SE Security Committee thoroughly prepared and submitted the modalities, for example, structure, for the take-off of EBUBEAGU to the Governors’ Forum through the safety of South East Governors’ Forum, attended by the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and some other Igbo leaders introduced a request that Ebubeagu should be rolled out as a matter of urgency and also funded by the Government of their five SE States. From inception to date, SE Security Committee was never funded at all in any capacity and not an office area was provided.

“I respectfully request your Excellencies kindly allow me to resign my appointment as the chairman, SE Security Committee at the soul of my love to serve Ndigbo, I can guarantee you that I shall always be accessible to advise on the success of Ebubeagu free of cost, just as I served as the Chairman of South-East Security Committee from 31 August 2019 till date free of charge directly or indirectly to the five South-East State Government, groups and personalities. I highly value Your Excellencies for the chance you gave me to serve Ndigbo.”

Umahi, who confirmed his resignation to journalists on the telephone said,”Please be assured of my devotion, respect and accept my highest regards of the esteemed considerations.”

 

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