Following threats of attack issued by Nnamdi Kanu against South-East governors, the group has now said they are ready to engage in dialogue with the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to resolve their differences.
IPOB which is lawfully treated as a terrorist organization in Nigeria and which was proscribed by the same governors through their leader had threatened to attack South-East governors and other Igbo leaders outside the country after beating former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in Germany for allegedly working against their interest.
Singing a new tune, the Chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Chief David Umahi, recently said that they never proscribed IPOB, but rather they banned their activities in the region.
The Ebonyi State governor, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Emma Uzo, asked IPOB to convene a meeting and invite the governors for discussions.
He said, “IPOB are our children. They are our brothers and sisters. They fight for their fight on the pages of newspapers and social media, and it does not help. The best thing is for all of us to sit down and talk. The governors are ready to speak with them.
“They should have a way of coming home or convene a meeting and the governors will attend anywhere they want. Let us sit down and discuss it. And they should know that the governors did not proscribed them, they lack constitutional powers to proscribed them. They only banned their activities in the region where they have jurisdiction.”
IPOB on Wednesday through Aloy Ejimakor, counsel for Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, wrote to the governors, giving conditions for peace to reign.
The group in the letter, titled ‘Operation Python Dance: An Open Letter To South-East Governors’, demanded “immediate and unconditional de-proscription of IPOB and delisting it as a terrorist organisation. A truth and reconciliation commission on the Python Dance lethal military operations of September 2017.”
The separatist group added, “A public apology for the extrajudicial killing of IPOB members and desecration of the palace of an Igbo traditional ruler at Afaraukwu, Abia State. A genuine dialogue with IPOB on its referendum demand for the restoration of Biafra and discontinuance of the ongoing prosecution of IPOB members and forbearance of any future arrests and prosecutions.”
But the governors said the group were channelling their demands to the wrong people.
Umahi said, “Why can’t they channel their grievances straight to the Federal Government? So, that demand is dead on arrival. It is not the governors that will apologise to them, but rather they should apologise to the governors and Ndigbo.”
On whether they will lift the ban on IPOB activities in the zone, Umahi said the issue would be discussed at the meeting (convened by IPOB).