Declaration of S’East as red zone inimical to dev., says Umahi

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has expressed the fear that the declaration of the South-East as a zone due to the spate of insecurity will deprive the area of federal projects.

Umahi made the remark on Tuesday in Abakaliki inaugurating the leadership of the South-East Rulers Council, headed by Eze Charles Mkpuma, the Chairman of the council in Ebonyi.

He said that Federal Government’s ministries recently declared the southeast as a zone because of the high wave of insecurity in the area.

According to him, the insecurity in the zone, occasioned by agitations for self-determination, amounts to “self-inflicted injury” by the people.

“The declaration of southeast as a zone by these ministries means that what is due to us would be difficult to come.

“It is for the zone’s leaders and people to collectively say no to the killings in the zone because we no longer see the real agenda of the agitations.

“The people should support governors from the zone and other leaders to permanently stop this bloodshed because we know the parents and communities of the perpetrators of the heinous acts,” the governor said.

He further said the agitation for had been hijacked by cultists, kidnappers and other criminal elements, hence the need for the acclaimed freedom fighters to critically review the situation.

“It is presently difficult for trucks with goods from other parts of the country to come to the zone as we did not harmonise adequately to determine areas of comparative advantage,” he said.

Umahi reiterated his stance that the Federal Government should continue to collect and distribute proceeds from the Value Added Tax.

He commended the immediate-past Chairman of the zonal council, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, for his quality leadership and urged his successor to build on his legacies.

In a speech, Achebe thanked the southeast rulers for support during his tenure and urged them to extend similar gesture to his successor.

“I am delighted over the unity that exists among rulers in the zone and I seek greater support to the institution to effectively discharge its mandate,” he said.

The zonal chairman, Mkpuma, expressed gratitude to his colleagues for finding him worthy to serve them and pledged to justify the confidence they reposed in him.

“I will work for the unity and welfare of members and ensure that we contribute effectively in solving the numerous challenges confronting zone,” he said. (NAN)