Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi has expressed concern that declaring the Southeast as a red zone due to the wave of insecurity will deprive the region of federal plans.
Umahi made the remark on Tuesday in Abakaliki during the inauguration of the new leadership of the Southeast Traditional Rulers Council, headed by Eze Charles Mkpuma, the chairman of the Ebonyi board.
He said federal government departments recently declared the Southeast a red zone due to the surge of insecurity in the region.
According to him, the insecurity in the area, caused by agitations in favor of self-determination, is akin to a “self-inflicted injury” by the population.
“The declaration of the South East as a red zone by these ministries means that what is owed to us would be difficult to come.
“It is time that the leaders and the people of the area collectively say no to the killings in the area because we no longer see the real agenda of the unrest.
“The people should support the governors of the area and other leaders to stop this bloodshed for good, because we know the parents and the communities of the perpetrators of the heinous acts,” the governor said.
He further said the pro-secession agitation had been hijacked by cultists, kidnappers and other criminal elements, hence the need for acclaimed freedom fighters to take a critical look at the situation. .
“It is currently difficult for trucks carrying goods from other parts of the country to come to the area because we have not adequately aligned to determine areas of comparative advantage,” he said. .
Umahi reiterated his position that the federal government should continue to collect and distribute the proceeds of value added tax.
He congratulated the outgoing chairman of the zone council, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, for his quality leadership and urged his successor to build on his legacy.
In a speech, Achebe thanked traditional leaders in the Southeast for their support during his tenure and urged them to make a similar gesture to his successor.
“I welcome the unity that exists between the traditional leaders of the area and I seek greater support for the traditional institution so that it can effectively carry out its mandate,” he said.
The new zone president, Mkpuma, expressed his gratitude to his colleagues for finding him worthy of serving them and pledged to justify the trust they placed in him.
“I will work for the improvement of the unity and well-being of our members and ensure that we effectively contribute to solving the many challenges facing our area,” he said.