Buhari in Ebonyi State, stands on one Nige­ria

• Shuns guard of hon­our • Pledges bet­ter deal for S’east • IPOB dis­owns video ex­pos­ing plot to kill pres­i­dent

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - FRONT PAGE - From Leo Sobechi (La­gos) and Nnamdi Akpa (Abaka­liki)

PRES­I­DENT Muham­mad Buhari yes­ter­day de­scribed his pres­ence in Ebonyi State as a demon­stra­tion of strong be­lief in Nige­ria’s unity .

Buhari, who did not in­spect the guard of hon­our both at Nk­weagu mil­i­tary can­ton­ment and the Gov- ern­ment House, main­tained his usual line of non-ne­go­tia­bil­ity of Nige­ria’s unity. “Our di­ver­sity is al­most unique and sure,” he said.

Re­call­ing his meet­ing with the lead­ers from the South­east in Abuja last month, Buhari as­sured the re­gion of his de­sire to de­liver on his prom­ises. Ac­cord­ing to him, the 2018 bud­get in­cludes many projects for the South east in the ar­eas of power, agri- cul­ture and so­cial ser­vices while con­trac­tors han­dling the Sec­ond Niger Bridge have been mo­bilised and the re­gion would start to wit­ness rapid in­fras­truc­tural de­velop-

ment soon.

The pres­i­dent who is in Ebonyi on a one-day work­ing visit praised Gov­er­nor David Umahi for keep­ing aside party af­fil­i­a­tion to fo­cus on tun­ing around the state with his vi­sion­ary pro­grammes.

“I am de­lighted to be here in Abaka­liki to in­ter­act with the good peo­ple of Ebonyi State and in­deed the south east re­gion. I ex­press my grat­i­tude to the peo­ple for their hos­pi­tal­ity and warm re­cep­tion since I ar­rived this state.

“I com­mend Gov­er­nor Umahi for his vi­sion and com­mit­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of this state. Some of the projects I com­mis­sioned since my ar­rival are laud­able. I am also grate­ful to the tra­di­tional rulers of Ebonyi State for the hon­our be­stowed on me with the tra­di­tional ti­tle of Enyi Oha1.”

For his help to the state es­pe­cially in the ar­eas, of agri­cul­ture and solid min­er­als, Umahi de­scribed the hon­our on Buhari as well de­served. He said: “To­day, you made us a gi­ant in agri­cul­ture and so, we have here with us 2,000 bags of rice and 2,000 tu­bers of yam to give to our pres­i­dent.

“It is a prayer an­swered be­cause you have sown in the land of Ebonyi and God has given you the strength and health to par­take in that seed that you planted. We are grate­ful to give back to our fa­ther who has given so much to us.”

He, how­ever, ap­pealed to the pres­i­dent for a re­fund of money spent by the state gov­ern­ment on some fed­eral roads in Ebony.

The projects com­mis­sioned by Buhari in­cluded two fly­overs, 14.5 km of roads, foun­da­tion lay­ing of Ebonyi shop­ping mall and Pres­i­dent Muham­mad Buhari rice tun­nel.

Mean­while, the In­dige­nous Peo­ples of Bi­afra (IPOB) un­der the col­le­giate lead­er­ship of the Direc­torate of State (DOS), has de­scribed as de­spi­ca­ble an In­ter­net videoshow­ing a group of masked men with Bi­afran flags mak­ing a speech re­veal­ing an in­ten­tion to as­sas­si­nate Buhari and South east gov­er­nors.

De­nounc­ing the video, DOS said it must be the hand­i­work of those who are strug­gling to sus­tain the false pro­fil­ing of IPOB as a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion. In the said video, some in­di­vid­u­als dressed in all­black at­tire, with their faces cov­ered in the fash­ion of mem­bers of Boko Haram and sim­i­lar ter­ror­ist groups, had Bi­afran flags dis­played around them in a location that looks like a for­est.

One of the men could be heard read­ing from a pre­pared speech, threat­en­ing to kill Buhari if he dares visit Bi­afra­land, as well as “kill any gov­er­nor from the South­east associated with bring­ing Buhari to Bi­afra­land.”

In a state­ment signed by its spokesper­sons, Emma Nmezu and Dr. Clif­ford Iroanya, the IPOB DOS de­clared: “We cat­e­gor­i­cally state that we are not into armed strug­gle nor are we into any form of ter­ror­ism. We have cho­sen the peace- ful and blood­less path of restora­tion of Bi­afra through the in­stru­men­tal­ity of United Na­tions-man­dated and su­per­vised ref­er­en­dum.

“To achieve this ob­jec­tive, we have joined the Lower Niger In­de­pen­dence Move­ment (LONIM), which is not a group, but a coali­tion plat­form for all pro-in­de­pen­dence and self-de­ter­mi­na­tion groups.”

IPOB DOS fur­ther dis­closed that it is part­ner­ing other groups to strengthen LONIM to achieve its ob­jec­tive. “We do not be­lieve in vi­o­lence and will never sup­port any ac­tion that will lead to loss of lives and prop­er­ties.”

While cau­tion­ing which­ever group is spon­sor­ing the ter­ror­ists in the ne­far­i­ous black­mail to stop, IPOB DOS urged them to de­sist from drag­ging the name of Bi­afra into the hall of in­famy.

“Al­though Muham­madu Buhari has sev­er­ally com­mit­ted geno­cides plus other heinous crimes against Bi­afrans, we will leave him to be tried, in­dicted, and sen­tenced by a com­pe­tent court or tri­bunal at the ap­pro­pri­ate time. We shall never take the laws into our hands or re­sort to vi­o­lence,” the state­ment added.

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari (seated ) be­ing con­ferred with the ti­tle of Enyioma1 of Ebonyi by tra­di­tional rulers led by Eze Charles Mkpuma dur­ing his visit to the state …yes­ter­day.

Ebonyi State Gov­er­nor David Umahi (left) and Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari at the un­veil­ing of the statue of fore­most leader and one of the found­ing fa­thers of Nige­ria, Dr. Akanu Ibiam dur­ing the pres­i­dent’s visit …yes­ter­day.

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