Northern elders are playing politics with insecurity in South-East – Ekweremadu

FORMER Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has accused the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) of playing dangerous politics with insecurity in the South-East part of the country.

Ekweremadu stated this on Wednesday while responding to a statement by the NEF that socio-political leaders from the South-East were not doing anything to stem the escalating violence in the region.

The NEF further appealed to leaders from the region to prevail on Biafran agitators to sheathe their swords in order to prevent another civil war in the country.

Responding, Ekweremadu stated that NEF’s calls were ‘well-choreographed attack’ to destroy the opposition in the South-East ahead of the 2023 general elections.


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“I have noted with concern the growing and well-choreographed attack on the Southeast opposition leaders for allegedly not condemning the rising insecurity and agitations in the Southeast and the activities of non-state actors.

“I believed initially that those were genuine concern about the security situation in the Southeast. However, I have come to the realisation that those making and inducing the statements are only playing politics.

“The objective is to lay the foundation for the harassment and possible destruction of the opposition in the South East ahead of the 2023 elections.”

He said leaders from the region had consistently reiterated their opposition to the use of violence to resolve problems. While listing several efforts leaders from the region had taken to guarantee peace in the region, Ekweremadu said several of his secret and open calls to President Muhammadu Buhari to diplomatically restore peace to the region fell on deaf ears.

He noted that his personal position was well laid-out in an address entitled ‘Biafra: The Political, Economic, and Social Questions’ presented at the meeting of South-East leaders which included governors, National Assembly members, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, traditional rulers, religious leaders, and leaders of thought on political developments in the region and state of the nation on July 1, 2017.

According to him, he equally made his position known in a letter entitled ‘Rising Tension in the Southeast: Re: Appeal to Call Off Operation Egwu Eke’ and dated Thursday, 14th September 2017, wherein he gave compelling reasons for dialogue and volunteered to rally Igbo leadership and activists to a roundtable with the President.

“The position of the Southeast on Nigeria is well encapsulated in the Awka Declaration of 2018, and I am not aware that it has changed. Ohanaeze Ndigbo has also consistently reiterated this.




     

     

    “I have personally reached out to President Muhammadu Buhari both privately and publicly to advise on the treatment of the Southeast, restiveness in the region and the need to address their concerns.

    “As Deputy President of the 8th Senate, I recall leading a delegation of Southeast Senate Caucus alongside our Caucus Leader at the time, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, to meet with Mr. President as early as November 9, 2016, to discuss the rising insecurity, growing agitations, and germane concerns of the people of the Southeast.

    “With benefit of hindsight, we recalled to the President that such steps as we proffered proved very productive in resolving the agitations and the detention of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike during the tenure of the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua.

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    “Unfortunately, all these efforts came to naught, as they were neither given appropriate attention nor operationalised.”

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