Chairman of South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, yesterday, paid a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Governor Umahi, who met behind closed doors with the President also paid unscheduled visit to the Minister of Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika.
Umahi told newsmen he met with the President to intimate him on a number of issues affecting the South-East, with security and critical infrastructure topping the list.
Governor Umahi disclosed that beyond his request for extension of the runway at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, the issue of security in the region and the nation in general also came to the front burner.
He commended Mr. President for giving him audience at the shortest notice, describing him as a father to all, adding that he intimated the President on their earlier request for railways and extension of pipelines and gas station to the region, as well as upgrading the Sam Mbakwe Airport, which has become the alternative airport for the zone.
He said he was at the Villa to seek Mr. President’s audience with the rest of the governors and leaders of Ndigbo, spanning all segments of the society, to discuss issues affecting the zone.
He lamented that over a period of time, herdsmen have infiltrated the zone resulting in insecurity: killing and kidnapping of innocent farmers and other natives.
He called on the Federal Government to intensify efforts with the governors of the zone to secure lives and properties of the people.
The governor also sought the approval of Mr. President for speedy commencement of the renovation of the Enugu Airport and upgrading it to international standard by completing the cargo section and her international wing.
Governor Umahi also visited the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to intimate him on his meeting with President Buhari as regards the airport project, so it can commence and be executed in good time and to specification.
…on apology to IPOB
On apology to IPOB, Umahi said governors in the zone have no apology to tender to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, saying the group has no right to place a travel ban on South-East governors and other top politicians from the zone.
Recall that the separatist movement had, in an open letter, made many demands on the South-East governors, for them to have a truce, one of which is that the governors should openly apologise to IPOB.
However, after the meeting with President Buhari, Umahi told newsmen: “We have no apology to tender because we did not proscribe them.
“Yes, we are the leaders of the people and we had to speak against their activities.”
The governor noted that it was the Federal Government and not the South-East governors, that proscribed IPOB.
He said the group often made empty threats, adding that no responsible government would allow a proscribed group to promote lawlessness, boasting that he would inform the members any time he planned to travel out of Nigeria.
According to him, “IPOB has no powers to place travel ban on governors or anyone. I will even tell IPOB any time I intend to travel.”