Despite the recent proscription of the group by the Federal Government and sanctioned by Federal High Court Abuja, the South East Governors’ Forum has declared its backing for the leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and appealed to the Biafra agitators on the need to subscribe to One Nigeria.
Chairman of the forum, Dave Umahi told Sun, that despite the proscription of the group, Kanu and his men needed to ‘rebrand’ before any dialogue will be initiated.
In his words: “Our situation is different from Boko Haram situation but if anybody believes that we will abandon those boys, it is not true.
We will still be appealing to them to come back to their leaders, let us sit down and discuss. Kanu somehow raised awareness on this restructuring issue. We must give it to him.
We are not going to throw him away, we will still find a way, we will be appealing to the federal government for forgiveness. The word, IPOB, is not in agreement with me because when you say the Indigenous People of Biafra, it has its own connotation. When you say indigenous, if you go to America you talk about the indigenous people of America and that is the Red Indies that founded America.
There is no indigenous in this sense. It could be Igbo Youth Movement or association and so on and so forth. So having proscribed that and their activities, of course, the federal government says it’s a terror group; we cannot dialogue with them under that name again. They’re our brothers and sisters and it’s a question of getting them to a better level of understanding and partnership.”
Speaking on the carrying of the Biafran flag and other pro-secession items, He said;
“Well, there are two issues here. One is that we have appealed to Mr President to withdraw the soldiers in the South- East region at least for now for temper to cool. I am not the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces; it’s Mr President who is. It is an appeal that we have made to him. It is his constitutional powers and rights.
“So, I cannot say for certain that Operation Python Dance will not commence in Ebonyi State. I don’t have such powers but if Mr President views it that in his own opinion that he wants to heed to our appeal, that is good but specifically in Ebonyi State, we are appealing that everybody should be law-abiding.
“There’s no nation inside a nation even if you want Biafra, you have to get it first; become a nation before you start putting up your flag, owning your own secret service and so on and so forth.”
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