Barely four days after the creation of the South-Easy security outfit, Ebube Agu, the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has said some of the grievances raised by the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) are somehow valid. Recall that the increasing insecurity in the South-East region prompted the governors to establish Ebube Agu, on April 11.
Speaking on Arise TV, the Television arm of THISDAY Group yesterday, Ikpeazu said some of the “issues raised” by IPOB should be looked into and addressed accordingly. He said it was only when those concerns are acknowledged that elected officials will be granted solid ground to preach the gospel of Nigeria’s unity.
The said: “I have taken my time to listen to some of these issues raised by IPOB: issues about injustice, issues of marginalisation, issues of trust deficits within the polity called Nigeria as it concerns people from Southeastern Nigeria. “And I think some of those are valid issues and they should be addressed and spoken to; they should be addressed squarely. So, that everybody and those of us that are in government today can have a foothold within the south-east region to continue to promote the unity of Nigeria.”
Ikpeazu, who expressed his opposition to the strategy adopted by IPOB in championing its demands, however, urged them to table its grievances in a civil manner. He said: “I do not subscribe to the strategy of IPOB in pursuing their goals. And the reason is because I’m yet to see the end of the tunnel from where I’m standing and I do not like to take a plunge in the dark.
“We must engage and discuss the issue which is bothering them and everybody and we can’t continue to pretend as if these issues are not valid. “Equal rights and justice is an indelible right of all citizens and if through impunity and carelessness we allow a group of people to begin to feel like they’re not rightly represented within the polity, it creates a lacuna where people are no longer confident in the government to protect them and take care of their interest within the polity. “There’s bound to be agitation one way or another.
Some of these reactions may extrapolate to levels that may undermine national convention and unity.” IPOB, a secessionist group, has been linked with attacks on security agencies and facilities in the South-East, the most recent being the attack on Owerri Custodial Centre and police command.