While residents of the five South-east states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo observed a forced sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed separatist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) on Monday, their governors seized the opportunity to hold a virtual meeting to review the security situation in the zone.
During the meeting, the governors condemned the killing of All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Hon. Ahmed Gulak, in Owerri, Imo State.
They directed security agencies to unravel the circumstances surrounding the murder.
They also resolved to stand by their colleague, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State and the security agencies in their efforts to nab the masterminds of Gulak’s killing.
In a communiqué issued yesterday by Chairman of the South-east Governors’ Forum and Ebonyi State Governor, Chief David Umahi, the forum commended the “governors from the North for their understanding in the face of this unfortunate murder of their son.”
They also commiserated with the immediate family of Gulak, the government and people of Adamawa State.
The governors thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for directing the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators, adding that the directive will further strengthen the bonds of unity and trust “with our Northern brothers and sisters.”
They said: “It is with a rude shock that we received the news of the unfortunate death of Alhaji Ahmed Gulak in the hands of the senseless gunmen.
“We, on behalf of the people of South-east, condemn the act highly and we charge security agencies to immediately deploy their officers and men to arrest the perpetrators and make them face justice.
We, however, pray to God to grant the deceased rest in eternity.”
The governors condoled with the Gulak’s family, the Adamawa State Government and Nigerians in general.
“We assure our fellow Northern governors of our commitment to unravel all masterminds of the act.
“The forum urges the public to exercise restraint and allow security agencies continue with their investigations while assuring that all those involved in the act will be brought to justice,” the forum said.
Explaining the predicament of the governors in dealing with the unrest in the South-east and why they could not countermand IPOB’s sit-at-home order of Monday, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, told THISDAY that “people decided to sit-at-home not necessarily because all of them believe in IPOB. I could not rise to say you must go out. I am elected to protect lives and property. So, whenever I see myself as incapable of protecting lives and property of my people, I back out.
“I do not want to put them in harm’s way. Most people could not be persuaded to go out anyway because they looked at how much they will make and the value of their lives and they preferred to stay at home. When I drove around town on Monday, I did not see police officers on patrol. In some states where the officers went out they were attacked.”