South-East Leaders Disown IPOB, Say Group Not Speaking For Igbo
South-East leaders including governors, political, religious and traditional persons have disowned the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The leaders who disclosed this position at the end of a meeting in Enugu said that IPOB agitators ” do not speak for South-East.”
But the governors warned the security agencies in the region to stop killing Igbo youths, and urged them to respect their rights, while condemning the attacks on security infrastructures in the zone.
The meeting was a follow-up to the consultation the presidential delegation, led by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), had with the Igbo leaders, on June 11, 2023, on the security challenges confronting the region in particular and Nigeria in general.
The Chairman, South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, who read the resolutions of the leaders assured all Nigerians living in the South-East region that they had no reason to fear or leave the region.
Umahi also appealed to leaders of other regions to ensure the protection of Igbos living in their regions, noting that they had uncovered some threats against Igbos living in other parts of the country by their people.
The communique read in part: “Arising from the meeting of 11th of June 2021, with the presidential team led by the Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retd), we the South-East people agreed to a further meeting with them as requested by them.
“Consequent upon that, we scheduled our own meeting today the 19th of June to enable us discuss as brothers and sisters and articulate our positions to enable us to not only engage the presidential team but also engage our people over all burning issues.
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“The meeting set up committees under the Ohanaeze to articulate and address our position on all burning issues to further meet among ourselves and thereafter meet with the presidential team.
“We the Igbos do reaffirm our commitment to one United Nigeria under a platform of justice, equality of rights, fairness, love and respect for one another.
“We have noted threats by some groups in some other regions against our people of South-East while we firmly promise to protect every one either from our own region or other regions living in our places.
“We plead with leaders of other regions to please note the threats to our people and to please address the threats to our people and to protect them.
“We condemn the killing of security agents, the burning of strategic infrastructures and killing of civilians in South-East and even in other regions.
“We request our security agencies to please discharge their duties within the rules of engagement and the law.
“We request our National Assembly members from South East to please support state police creation in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
“We condemn in totality the activities of violent secessionist groups in South East and elsewhere. We firmly proclaim that we do not support them and they do not speak for South-East.”
They, however, rejected the impression that the leaders were silent over youths agitation for secession in the South-East, describing such notions as incorrect.
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They noted: “South-East Governors, Ohanaeze President, our National Assembly members and notable leadership from South-East have come out publicly many times in the past including ministers from the South-East to speak against such agitations.
“In order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation we found ourselves, South-East leaders have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow the elders of the south-east to address their fears.”
He added: “The meeting directed our governors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo to liaise with indigenes of northern part of Nigeria and other indigenes of other regions that are living in the South-East to come out openly and to assured their people of course the nation Nigeria that they are very safe and well protected while living in South-East.
“The meeting endorsed our South-East Joint Security outfit ‘Ebubeagu’ and ask all the personnel of Ebubeagu to work with the security agencies and to respect the rights and privileges of all those living in the South-East and her visitors.”
Leaders in attendance were Governors of Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; Ebonyi, David Umahi; Abia, Okezie Ikpeazu; deputy Governors of Anambra, Nkem Okeke and Imo, Prof Placid Njoku.
Others were former deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu; Senate Minority Leader and the Chairman South East National Assembly Caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Senator Sam Egwu.
Other notable leaders in attendance were Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor; Chief Nnia Nwodo, Minister of State for Steal and Mining, Dr Uche Oga; Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev Callistus Onaga; Bishop of Nsukka Catholic Diocese, Most Rev Geoffrey Onah; Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Provence, Most Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma; Methodist Bishop of Enugu, Dr Christopher Ede; Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Most Rev Emmanuel Ede, among others, were present.
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BREAKING: PDP Chairman Beaten To Coma Dies
Peter Nweke, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman in Ezza North local government area, beaten to coma, is dead.
Nweke died from injuries he sustained from attacks by hoodlums suspected to be political thugs on Saturday during the Governorship and Assembly elections.
Police spokesperson, Onome Onovwakpoyeya confirmed the death of Nweke on Sunday.
She said Nweke was beaten up and rushed to the hospital unconscious where he was later pronounced dead by a doctor.
The police officer said the police had launched an investigation into the death with a view to arresting and prosecuting anyone responsible.
Nweke’s younger brother, Samson Nweke also confirmed the death.
BREAKING:Court Orders INEC to Paste, Transmit Results Electronically
Hours before the Saturday’s governorship and state House of Assembly elections, a Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to electronically transmit the results of the polls in accordance with its regulations and guidelines.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a judgment, also ordered the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results’ procedures in Akwa Ibom.
The judge further directed the commission to conspicuously paste the publication of its result posters EC60(E) at polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets in the state.
He equally ordered INEC to enforce the observance and compliance of Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the distribution of electoral materials during the conduct of the polls in the state by engaging the services of independent, competent, and reliable logistic companies who are non-partisans or known supporters of any political for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel.
Egwuatu held that since the electoral umpire averred in its filed affidavit that it was aware of its responsibilities under the law and had not failed to carry them out, granting the prayers sought by the applicants would not do any harm to the commission but instead, energise its performance.
He gave the judgment following a suit filed by the Labour Party (LP) and its governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom, Uduakobong Udoh, including 13 state’s House of Assembly candidates for the March 18 elections.
Recall that the applicants, in the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/334/2023 dated and filed on March 15 by their lawyer, Moses Usoh-Abia, had sued INEC as sole defendant.
The applicants, who sought seven reliefs, prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling INEC and all its agents to comply with and enforce the provision of Clause 37 of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of the Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections in Akwa Ibom.
They also prayed the court to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units to conspicuously paste the publication of result posters EC460(E) at the polling units after completing the EC8A result sheets.
They sought an order of mandamus compelling the commission to mandate the presiding officers of all polling units in the state to electronically transmit or transfer the result of the polling units, direct to the collation system and use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) immediately after the completion of all the polling units voting and results procedures.
They said this was in compliance with the provision of Clause 38 of the guidelines for the conduct of the polls.
The applicants equally prayed for an order directing INEC to enforce the observance and compliance of Section 27(1) of the Electoral Act, 2022 in the distribution of electoral materials during the conduct of the polls by engaging the services of independent, competent, and reliable logistic companies who are non-partisans or known supporters of any political for the distribution of electoral materials and personnel, among other reliefs.
Justice Egwuatu had, on Wednesday, granted leave to the applicants to proceed with a judicial review, filed requisite motion and put INEC on notice, following an ex-parte motion moved by Usoh-Abia.
Upon resumed hearing on the matter on Friday, Usoh-Abia said that he had complied with the earlier court order and that their motion was served on INEC on Wednesday.
The lawyer said despite the service of their process, the commission was not represented in court.
The judge, however, said that he noticed INEC:s counter affidavit and a preliminary objection to their originating summons in the court file.
He said the application was filed on Thursday.
Responding, Usoh-Abia said though they were yet to be served by the commission, he was ready to proceed with the matter due to the urgency of the case.
He said the motion, dated March 15, had 26-paragrph affidavit with nine exhibits.
The lawyer urged the court to direct the electoral umpire to comply with its regulations and guidelines of Clauses 37 and 38 on the conduct of the elections.
He said the order was necessary because the commission, in the Feb. 25 Presidential and National Assembly polls, failed to transmit results of the elections in the state and across the country.
He argued that INEC created the regulations and guidelines pursuant to Section 148 and 60(5) of the Electoral Act, 2022 to guide the conduct of elections and collating of election result among others.
Usoh-Abia said INEC’s refusal to comply with the law had resulted in serious prejudice; and had foisted uncertainty and frustration on his clients at their various polling units and wards.
The lawyer said if the order was not granted, the same scenario would repeat itself in the Saturday’s poll.
But INEC, in its preliminary objection, said the suit was incompetent and the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain it.
The commission argued that the applicants had not established a justifiable action against it.
It also said that the applicants acted in contravention of the practice direction by commencing the suit via originating summons.
Delivering judgment, Justice Egwuatu said he was satisfied that the applicants had complied with the practice direction rules in the filing of their application.
He also said that he was satisfied that a cause of action had been established against INEC in the paragraphs of the applicants’ process.
The judge, therefore, ordered INEC to direct all its presiding officers to comply with Clauses 37 and 38 of its regulations and guidelines for the conduct of tomorrow’s election in Akwa Ibom.
He held that the commission had the legal duty to act in accordance with the law.
The judge, however, refused to grant other reliefs.
Govt Postpones 2023 Census
The 2023 population and housing census earlier scheduled for 29 March has been shifted to May.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mohammed said that the decision to shift the census was necessitated by the postponement of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from 11 March to 18 March.
He also disclosed that the council approved N2.8 billion for the National Population Commission (NPC) to procure some software to be used for the conduct of the census.
“There was a memo presented by the National Population Commission, seeking some software to allow them to conduct the census in May this year.
”I believe because of the rescheduling of the elections, they cannot commence the census as scheduled.
“They sought council’s approval for a contract to procure software for the census at the sum of N2.8 billion,” he said.
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