Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, on Friday said any idea of resurrecting a separatist Biafra state amounted to inviting “second slavery.”
He said he would prefer to remain in Nigeria than to be a part of a breakaway repubkre.
This was just as he announced a N2 million cash reward for anyone with useful information that could lead to the arrest of bandits terrorising some parts of the state.
Governor Dave Umahi announced this during an inter-denominational prayer summit organised in Abakaliki on Friday by the Office of the Wife of the Governor, in conjunction with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Umahi also announced a “comprehensive amnesty” for repentant bandits.
He said: “I’m offering a comprehensive amnesty for repentant bandits and terrorists.
“Do not be part of agitation groups, do not be part of killings.
“Anywhere you are and you an Ebonyi man, whether in the West or South-East, I am ready to stop everything to empower you.
“We are ready to empower our youths,” he said.
The governor refuted the reports in the social media that Ebonyi indigenes were responsible for the violent activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Anambra and Enugu states.
He vowed that the state would not be in Biafra but Nigeria.
“As the father of Ebonyi, I want to make it clear that we will never be in Biafra, we will not. We will not go back to second slavery.
“We want to belong to Nigeria. We want to belong to fair and equitable Nigeria.
“And let me make it clear, zoning or no zoning, party or no party, South-East must not be schemed out of the affairs of this country.
“What is good for other regions should be good for the South-East.
“Let South-East properly integrate in the affairs of this nation. We are nation-builders, we have investments in every part of this country.
“We should not be feared but people use hate speeches to keep us down.
“People should not be afraid of us. We will work with God to restore the peace of this nation.
“We will work with the people for love and unity of this country.
“Give us a chance, treat us fairly for we have sacrificed a lot to the building of this nation,” the governor said.
He commended the Wife of the President for initiating the summit for Nigeria to seek the face of God over the seemingly intractable security problems confronting the nation.
He said as leaders they would work with God and the people to enthrone peace in all parts of the country.
According to him, peace and security should be the collective responsibility of everyone.
“Buhari has invoked the face of God and today what governors cannot solve, what Military Generals cannot solve, what security agencies cannot solve, she has remembered that God is the owner of the entire universe,” Umahi said.
He urged IPOB and Eastern Security Network to disband and allow governors and other South-East leaders to pursue political solution to the agitation against marginalisation.
Earlier, his wife, Rachel, extolled the president’s wife for directing the prayer summit, which aimed at seeking the face of God to restore peace in the country.
She said: “Our coming together is to seek the face of God over the security challenges and other problems facing the nation.
“Through our constant prayers, we can overcome the rising cases of killing, armed robbery, kidnapping and other violent crimes in our country.
“God has been so kind to Ebonyi and our state has been so peaceful but we cannot take this for granted.
“Let us therefore pray with faith and sincere hearts.”
She said the summit was organised in line with Mrs Aisha Buhari’s directive to seek divine intervention over the protracted security challenges bedevilling the nation.
Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, the Chairman of CAN, South-East zone and Senior Special Adviser to Ebonyi governor delivered the sermon at the event.