Deteriorating Security Situation in South East Worries Buhari
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday expressed serious concerns over the deteriorating security situation in the South East region of Nigeria.
Speaking during a meeting with leaders of the region in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State, Mr Buhari said his administration will do everything possible to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians and go after troublemakers who he described as terrorists.
The President arrived in Ebonyi State on Thursday for a two-day visit and used the occasion to commission some projects put in place by Governor David Umahi.
He said the federal government will not tolerate a breakdown of law and order, reiterating his directive to security agencies to “flush out” those perpetrating violence in the land.
“I must register my deep and grave concern with regards to the deteriorating state of security affairs in this region.
“In the last 48 hours, I have been informed of the latest in the round of brutal actions carried out by gun-wielding terrorists, who prey on innocent and hardworking citizens, unfortunately, these barbaric acts were visited upon those who have committed their lives to protect their fellow citizens,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement issued today by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity.
While responding to appeals by traditional, religious and political leaders in the region for the release of the detained leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the President said, “I have listened carefully to the various appeals from the elders to the traditional leaders regarding a wide range of options, and as I have said previously this matter remains in the full purview of the courts where it will be properly adjudicated.
“My worry is for our hardworking and innocent civilians, for whom life is already tough and would like to earn a decent and honest living.
“There are many that fit this profile and the government owes them that obligation to protect lives and property.
“I will once again repeat, no one has the right to carry an AK-47, and anyone seen in any part of the country doing so and is not a law enforcement officer is a threat to our peaceful coexistence and should be treated as such,” he said.
In his remarks, Governor Umahi praised his guest for not using the plight of the people of the South East to play politics, urging leaders from the region to work towards finding a political solution to resolving some challenging issues.
“On this issue of a political solution, I have never believed in IPOB’s method of operation, I disagree with them but we have gotten ourselves to a very terrible and pitiable solution.
“Some of us warned that we will get to this situation and some were playing politics with it.
“Mr President, we are at crossroads. I have been to you and I have begged you for a political solution. Surprisingly and graciously you granted that. You said our people should initiate that and at the forefront is Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer,” he said.
Mr Umahi urged the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo to meet with elder statesman, Mbazuluike Amaechi, the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East, the Chairman of South East Traditional Rulers Council, Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer and a few others to initiate the political solution.
On the 2023 elections, the Governor said he believed strongly in the demand for the presidency to be zoned to the South East region on the basis of fairness, equity, justice and morality.