Direct Women, Children To Return Home
Set Up Resettlement Camp
RISING from an all-inclusive meeting in Enugu, Igbo leaders, yesterday, condemned what they described as the deliberate destruction of property and incessant killing of their kinsmen in the northern parts of the country by the Boko Haram sect.
At a meeting convoked by the southeast governors, at the Nike Lake Hotel, Enugu, under the aegis of the Southeast leaders Forum, the leaders expressed anger over the spate of killings going on in the country, even as they expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Federal Government in containing the situation.
Reading a one-page statement after the meeting, chairman of southeast governors forum and Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, said that a committee had been set up to monitor developments as it unfolds with regards to the spate of killings.
The meeting assured Igbos residing in the north and other parts of the country that “we are in constant touch with the various state governments to ensure the security of lives and property.”
Also present at the meeting held at Nike Lake were Governors Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Theordore Orji (Abia), Rochas Okorocha (Imo).
There were also Former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, Ministers Chukwuemeka Wogu, Bart Nnaji, Viola Onwuliri; Senators Chris Ngige, Uche Chukwumerije, Chris Anyanwu, President of the Ohanaeze, General Ralph Uwaechue, chief Olisa Metu, and Chief Emeka Anyaoku.
Others are Rtd Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Chief Nnaemeka Achebe, Senator Ben Obi, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Prof Chinedu Nebo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanynwu, Obiora Ike, Dr Tim Menakaya, Chief Victor Umeh, Prof Joe Irukwu and Major General Ike Nwachukwu [rtd], among others.
Although, they refused to entertain questions at the end of the meeting, a source told reporters that they would meet again in the next couple of days to review developments, stressing that Ndigbo may be forced to resort to self-defence should the killings continue.
After a different meeting that took place at the Enugu residence of the late Ex Biafran Warlord, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Igbo elders urged their women and children living in the North to return home immediately.
They said their resolve to call for immediate return of women and children was informed by the mass killings of Ndigbo and bombings by the Boko Haram religious sect in the northern part of the country.
They stated that there was already an increased tension in the land by the activities of the Boko Haram, stressing that there was also an underground plot to again declare property of Ndigbo in parts of the country as “abandoned property,” should their owners leave them and return home.
Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazurike, who briefed newsmen at the end of the meeting, said the elders, however, advised Igbo men in the troubled areas to stay back and look after their investments for now.
“We are calling for immediate return of Igbo wives and children so that their safety can be assured here in the East; so, the Igbo Nation is once again facing an intending refugee crisis and our people are being forced to flee their homes and places of work,” he said.
The MASSOB boss, who briefed newsmen alongside former President General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, Justice Eze 0zobu (rtd), disclosed that the forum had set up settlement centers in the South East Geopolitical Zones for Igbos that were displaced by the Boko Haram activities in the North.
He advised returnees from the North who were yet to get shelter to meet the forum or go to one of the centers at Okwe in Imo State to stay.
He regretted that government had not done much to secure the lives and properties of people in the troubled areas despite the fact that Boko Haram had continued to carry out more attacks on innocent people.
Uwazurike stated that the forum had also set up a committee to meet with President Good luck Jonathan immediately to ascertain his views on the situation.
While appealing to the churches to accommodate Igbo refugees, he warned that they would no longer fold their arms and watch Igbos being buried in mass graves.