Chidi Samuel || The governors of the five Eastern States on Wednesday tactically backed away from commenting on the ongoing clashes in the region between soldiers of the Nigeria army and members of the Biafra separatist group IPOB by setting up a seven man committee to investigate the crisis.
At the end of their meeting in Enugu, the Governors in a statement by its Director-General, Professor Simon Uchenna Ortuanya said the committee is to “investigate all the issues” and report its findings during the forum’s emergency meeting on Friday, September 15.
The forum refuted the claim in some quarters that it has taken a position regarding the presence of the military in the region, saying, “the alleged issue of condemning the youths or the military has not arisen as the governors will have to get first-hand information on both sides so that they can take definite approach towards solving the problem.”
As part of efforts to get to the bottom of the issue, the governors said they have contacted the Chief of Army Staff and IPOB members, adding that the army chief volunteered to be at the meeting on Friday to discuss the issues with them.
An operation by the military in the South East – codenamed Operation Python Dance – has led to a debate about the role of the military and whether the operation is constitutional or not.
The forum has also sought clarification about it.
“We are in touch with the military leadership who have insisted that their presence in South East is to curtail the rising profile of Kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, public execution of innocent citizens of South East especially in worship centers and the boundary conflicts between South East states and their neighboring states and has nothing to do with the agitation of some South-East youths,” the statement read in part.
Ahead of Friday’s meeting, the Forum called calm and assured people in the region that they would not be molested.
“We request our people and our youths to please remain calm and have confidence in the ability of the Governors to resolve all issues amicably,” it said.
Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB had earlier backed away from the meeting claiming the military want to assassinate him.