The Chairman of the South-east Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, has said the forum decided to proscribe the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (POB) in other to stop the rising crisis in the state.
Umahi, who briefed journalists in his office in Abakaliki said the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, was gradually losing control of the situation and his members prompting the governors to wade in to prevent further bloodshed.
He said the proscription had achieved the desired result.
“When you put a small fire, it can go very far and become difficult to control,” Umahi said.
“The IPOB activities were gradually getting out of the control of Nnamdi Kanu. Soldiers were passing on the way when IPOB members started throwing stones and other objects on them and it sparked off the clash between the group and the military.
“It is a shame that when this thing happened, a man called Charles Ogbu had to send phone numbers of all South-east governors, the Senate President and others and all our people could do were to be calling us to insult us. These are people who never experienced any war in their lives.”
“Our focus is how to save lives of every Nigerian and we believe in a united Nigeria. Lives of people are involved and we must not play politics with that,” he said.
“Anybody that wants to foment trouble must be crushed and I want security agencies to beef up security around all the non-indigenes in the state and to report to me any problem because we must maintain the peace.”
“That is why we are all talking about restructuring, there is no part of this country that is not feeling marginalised somehow and that is why all the zones are setting up committees on restructuring,” the governor said.
Umahi, however, noted that injustice or marginalisation should not be a reason to talk about secession maintaining that dialogue should be the best way to resolve and redress all differences.
Concerning operation Egwu Eke II (Python dance II), the governor said the exercise was never targeted at IPOB but intended to curb rising incidents of crime especially kidnapping and armed robbery in the state.
He noted that no one including the military expected that there will be violence as the Egwu Eke II that was staged last year was largely successful.
Heads of security agencies in the state and some principal officers of the state government attended the briefing.
The South-east Governors Forum rose from its meeting on Friday to announce the proscription of IPOB in all the five states of the zone.
They also appealed to President Muhammad Buhari to withdraw soldiers from the zone while the police carry out their constitutional duty of securing lives and property.