The civil rights group, Foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), has chided South-East governors on their silence over the re-arrest and extradition of the Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
According to the group, the failure of the South-East governors to speak up on the matter portrays them as lacking the courage to defend their own.
FENRAD in a press statement signed by its Executive Director, Comrade Nnanna Nwafor, expressed disappointment that South-East governors had rather maintained sealed lips over the matter at a time their counterparts are boldly speaking in defence of their people.
”We condemn in its entirety, the silence of the five elected governors of the Southeast geopolitical zone on the rendition of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, unfortunately, being termed “rearrest” or “interception” by the federal government under Muhammadu Buhari.
“The silence is part of the reasons citizens of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of the five governors transfer their loyalty and allegiance to Nnamdi Kanu and his secessionist bid, identifying with the tag and demonym “Biafran(s)” rather than “Nigerian(s),” FENRAD said.
The statement read in part: “Had the five regional governors been alive to their responsibility without creating the kind of leadership vacuum, discontent and disconnect they created resulting in disillusionment among the common people in the region, the youthful energy that went into pushing for the region’s exit from the rest of Nigeria or into the plebiscitary restoration of Biafra would have otherwise been put into good regional/national use.
“A time like this when ethnic sentiment is playing out in the handling of disturbances like terror, banditry, kidnapping and herders’ rampage in Nigeria, and when an Islamic cleric had solely become Nigeria’s de facto spokesperson in charge of the nation’s backchannel with bandits, Southeast governors need to be equally heard as their region’s voice.
“Governors in the North who are no fewer governors than their South-East counterparts, together with other higher-ups in the federal government including the president himself who called a whole ethnic nationality “a dot in a circle” have shown the region where the APC-led government is headed and yet none among the region’s elected speaks.”
FENRAD blamed the establishment of the Eastern Security Network ESN by Kanu on the failure of the South-East governors to set up a regional security outfit for the defence of the region against the rampaging killer herdsmen.
“Kanu’s ESN security agency came following the silence of the same five governors on the overrunning, maiming and sanguinary destruction, in both lives and properties, brought upon settled communities by the marauding and migratory herders, President Buhari’s own untouchable kindreds and brethren, regional insecurity for which the same five governors showed no resolve to address head-on.
“While governors of other regions were able to come up and back up with legislation concrete regional security outfits like Amotekun and the like, it took the Southeast governors more than a year after meeting with Mr Mohammed Adamu (former Police IG) to float the amorphous Ebube Agu outfit funding of which has largely remained a mirage.
“Today, the operational style, base and other logistics concerning Ebube Agu are not even a matter of public record. So the question becomes whose silence and indifference created Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the first place?”
The rights group noted that though Kanu’s style of agitation for self-determination might not be popular among some folks, agitation for self-determination is he has the fundamentally guaranteed right of every human being.
“Though his tactics, unfortunate, may not have been the most encouraging, Kanu’s cause is a legitimate one within guaranteed human rights documents and all extant public international law instruments and protocols; even those to which Nigeria is a signatory or an undersigned.”
FENRAD, therefore, urged the federal government to rather engage Kanu and other agitators for self-determination on dialogue with a view to addressing their genuine grievances instead of clamping down on them which only amounts to postponing the doomsday.
The statement further read: “The governors, for example, were largely silent when during the Python Dance II (otherwise known as Egwu Eke) many youths in their region were subjected to inhuman and degrading torture worse than what obtained in Guantanamo Bay and other secret detention facilities.
“Here again, FENRAD recalls the Southeast region was turned to killing field by security agents. Orlu, Aba, Owerri, Onitsha, Ohafia and other such places have recently or lately been in the news for gross human violation; Obigbo was arguably where the worst carnage happened.
“Today, going to Onitsha through Ekwusigo LGA, to Akokwa through Arondizuogu and sometimes to Aba through Owerrinta, citizens are ordered by security agents to walk down from vehicles, surrender themselves (with hands up) before crossing checkpoints in peacetime!
“While FENRAD had and still condemns any attack on security agencies and their stations as was recently seen in the Southeast, it bears repeating that the North which is the epicentre of insecurity in Nigeria does not get equal measure of military approach as does the Southeast.
“President Mohammadu Buhari has been amnestying “repentant Boko Haram members”, reintegrating them into the mainstream population, even in the Nigerian military with counterproductive results, yet those whose crime is wanting out in the South East are proscribed and their activities criminalized,” he statement read.