Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has said some of the grievances raised by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are valid.
Speaking on Arise TV, yesterday, he said the issues raised by IPOB should be addressed.
He said it is only when those concerns are acknowledged that elected officials will be granted solid ground to preach the gospel of Nigeria’s unity.
The governor expressed his opposition to the strategy IPOB uses in pushing for its demands. He urged the group to table its grievances in a civil manner.
“I have taken my time to listen to some of these issues raised by IPOB: issues about injustice, marginalisation, trust deficits within the polity called Nigeria as it concerns people from South East. And I think some of those are valid issues and they should be addressed, 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 to continue to promote the unity of Nigeria.
“I do not subscribe to the strategy of IPOB in pursuing its 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 have 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 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.
The increasing insecurity in the region spurred South East governors to establish Ebubeagu on April 11.
Meanwhile, Governor Ikpeazu has been commended for his political will and successful partnership with foreign investors who have come to invest in the state.
The CEO of Zoros Energy Ltd. – investors in the Obeaku Deep Seaport – Eze Ikenna Nwaigwe, who gave the commendation when he led other members of his team to the Deep Seaport on an inspection tour, said the visit followed the completion of necessary documentations with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, federal ministries of Transportation and Petroleum in which the Governor Ikpeazu’s administration has demonstrated great commitment.
According to Nwaigwe, the Zoros Deep Seaport will start with the reclamation of the area and dredging of about 30 meters deep from Obeaku to Ikot-Abasi Port and an establishment of a Mega City Project, comprising of 10,000 housing units in its first phase, refineries, free trade zone, industrial layout, gas plant for steady power supply, shopping malls, hospital and police station all of which the team of marine engineers alongside other experts are working out.
The project facilitator, Godwin Nnah, commended Governor Ikpeazu administration for support and interest. He also commended the traditional ruler of Obeaku, Ikeagwuchi Ekeke, for his cooperation, noting that the security condition of Abia and its industrial status are part of the comparative advantages foreigners look out for and which have been attracting them to the state.
He further noted the employment opportunities and better standard of living Abia populace will enjoy when the Zoros Deep Seaport project is fully realised and encouraged the donor community to sustain their support.