The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu has lamented that people of the southeast have been marginalized in Nigeria.
According to the Governor, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra is right to say that the South East has been left out in the country.
Ikpeazu cited the federal government’s lopsided appointments in critical places such as the nation’s military and paramilitary organizations.
While submitting that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu is not responsible for attacks and violence in Umunneochi, Ikpeazu said issues must be properly diagnosed so as not to be barking up the wrong tree in trying to provide solutions.
He however stopped short of absolving IPOB of all blame but submitted that people should be allowed to speak their minds.
The Governor also denied paying IPOB with the security vote of his state, stating that he is not in contact with the proscribed group.
Responding to the allegation during an interview with The Nation that he is using security vote money to pay IPOB, Ikpeazu replied: “In the first place, I don’t pay IPOB. Where will you see IPOB to pay them? It is not possible to pay IPOB. If that were the case, there won’t be insecurity anywhere, because how much money do I have that other states don’t have? Let me categorically say that I am not in contact with the IPOB.”
Ikpeazu added that the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu is not far from the truth about his claims of marginalization. The Abia Governor however stated that the means of expressing his grievances is what he doesn’t agree with.
“But I have said over time that I may not like his style, but if Nnamdi Kanu is saying that there is marginalisation and people are not allowed to speak their minds, is he telling lies? Do we need Nnamdi Kanu to tell us that there is no southeasterner in the military and paramilitary hierarchy in Nigeria?
“But, how have we managed to find peace in the state? This is a very critical input as far as security issues are concerned; it is about a proper diagnosis.
“For instance, one cannot link the security issues that we have around the Umunneochi to the IPOB. If you see an IPOB person and you arrest the person on account that IPOB is behind the Umunneochi security challenge that will be a wrong diagnosis.
“I am not saying that the IPOB is completely free from anything, but I am saying that it is not true that the IPOB is behind what is happening at Umunneochi.”