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The South East Governors Forum (SEGF) has dispelled rumours that the governors have met and agreed to mobilise vehicles and cash for the evacuation of Igbo resident in the north.
“The rumours should be disregarded, as they are nothing but tissues of lies,’’ the Chairman of SEGF and Ebony governor, Mr. David Umahi, said in a statement on Friday.
“ No amount of provocation would lead us to such a precipitate and irresponsible action at this time.
“Those exploiting such vacuous tittle-tattle as a basis for divisive rhetoric in public spaces are simply playing juvenile politics and we urge them to cease and desist.’’
He appealed to Igbo resident in the North to go about their lawful daily engagements without fear of intimidation, hindrance or molestation and assured them that of corporate existence of Nigeria.
“The Forum has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to and preference for the existence of a virile, united, prosperous and progressive Nigeria where justice, fairness, equity, mutual respect and equality of opportunity to all citizens regardless of creed, ethnicity or gender will reign supreme under the inflexible rule of law.
“We have had occasions recently to take this position publicly in response to the agitation, but peaceful actions of some Igbo youth.’’
The governors, he said, would continue to take a similar stance in response to any action that might threaten the cohesiveness of Nigeria or designed to cause its rupture.
He said that the lives and property of law-abiding citizens Igbo were as precious as the lives and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of the region of their abode within this Republic.
“These must be guaranteed and defended against all forms of threat and aggression, both domestic and external, by the security forces and agencies of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’’
The governors are collaborating effectively with the security agencies to ensure that no harm of any description was done to any law-abiding Nigerian citizen resident in the South East, including those from the North.
H called on all serious minded patriots, religious leadership in the North; the leadership of other socio-cultural groups; Nigerian Governors Forum; and all the service branches to rise up with voices of peace and wisdom to counteract the mischievousness and exuberant excesses of the northern youth.
“The ugly lessons of history are too grim to be stoked with carelessness,’’ he warned and that as leaders,“ we must exert the full measure of our powers and influence to forestall a repetition’’.
He expressed appreciation to all Nigerians, including the presidency; reputable socio-cultural group, including Afenifere, who have declaimed the threat by the northern youth, and “thus underscored the unity and oneness of this nation’’.
The forum also appreciated Senate President Bukola Saraki; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; “our brother Governors particularly Alhaji Kashim Shetimma (the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum).
The Forum also thanked Rtd. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, the Honourable Minister of Interior;, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state; the leadership of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); the security agencies and many others.