Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has stated that the Nigerian government will use all available resources to protect innocent and hardworking Nigerians from terrorists and those who seek to disrupt law and order in the South-East.
During a meeting with South East leaders in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, on Friday, the President expressed concern about the deteriorating security situation in the region, reiterating his directive to security agencies to “flush out” those perpetrating violence in the land.
“I must express my deep and grave concern about the deteriorating security situation in this region.”
“In the last 48 hours, I’ve been informed of the latest in a series of brutal acts perpetrated by gun-wielding terrorists who prey on innocent and hardworking citizens; unfortunately, these barbaric acts were visited upon those who have dedicated their lives to protecting their fellow citizens,” he said.
The President paid tribute to members of the Nigerian military who had recently died in the region.
The President, in response to calls from traditional, religious, and political leaders in the region for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), said:
“I have carefully listened to the various appeals from the elders to the traditional leaders regarding a variety of options, and as I previously stated, this matter remains fully within the jurisdiction of the courts, where it will be properly adjudicated.”
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“My concern is for our hardworking and innocent civilians, who are already struggling to make ends meet and would like to earn a decent and honest living.”
“There are a lot of people who fit this description, and the government owes them the duty to protect lives and property.”
“No one has the right to carry an AK-47,” he said, “and anyone seen doing so in any part of the country who is not a law enforcement officer is a threat to our peaceful coexistence and should be treated as such.”
On infrastructure, the President highlighted some of his administration’s accomplishments in the region, dismissing those peddling false narratives about this administration’s lack of concern for the people of the South East.
The President praised the reconstruction of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport’s runway and the ongoing work to upgrade the International Terminal Building, assuring Ndigbo that the N200 billion Second Niger Bridge and a 10-kilometer six-lane expressway connecting Onitsha and Asaba will be completed by the end of the year.
He also stated that the 5.5 million dollar Diagnostic Centre in Umuahia is up and running.
Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi said President Buhari would be remembered as a man who did not exploit the plight of the people of the South East for political gain, but instead came to their rescue on several occasions.
The Governor urged Southern leaders to work together to find a political solution to some difficult issues, stating that the region is at a “crossroads.”
“On the issue of a political solution, I’ve never believed in IPOB’s method of operation; I disagree with them, but we’ve arrived at a terrible and pitiful conclusion.”
“Some of us warned that we would end up in this situation, while others tried to play politics with it.”
“Mr. President, we’ve reached a fork in the road. I’ve come to you and begged you to find a political solution. You graciously and unexpectedly agreed. You said our people should start it, and Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer is at the forefront.”
A Political Answer
As a result, the Governor urged Ohaneze Ndigbo President Mbazuluike Amaechi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East, Chairman of the South East Traditional Rulers Council, Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, and a few others to meet with elder statesman, Mbazuluike Amaechi, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East, Chairman of the South East Traditional Rule
On the upcoming elections in 2023, the Governor stated that he strongly supports the demand that the presidency be zoned to the South East on the basis of fairness, equity, justice, and morality.
Umahi, who is also running for president, praised some leaders from outside the region for expressing support for the next president of Nigeria, who will come from the South East.
Eze Charles Mkpuma, Chairman of South East Traditional Rulers, and Very Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, Chairman of CAN, South East, both spoke out in support of a President of Nigeria of South East extraction in 2023.
While expressing support for a united Nigeria, the leaders urged the President to grant pardon and release the IPOB leader, as well as other agitators to stop all forms of violence.