S/East Senators take Ndigbo’s plight to Buhari

Senators from the South East geopolitical zone yesterday ended their apparent silence on the marginalisation of Ndigbo by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senators took the re­gion’s demands to the Presi­dent at the State House, Abuja, where they met with him be­hind closed doors.
At a meeting with Presi­dent Buhari, the lawmakers ta­bled before him a litany of com­plaints and demands from their constituents and asked the Pres­ident to act fast on them before the situation worsens.
The South-East Senators were led to the meeting with Buhari by the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekwere­madu
 The Senators who featured in the talks, which they de­scribed as frank, explained that they asked the Presidency to ad­dress the violent clampdown on the Indigenous Peoples of Bia­fra (IPOB) and its incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
They also urged the Presi­dent to end the exclusion of the Igbo from key national offices and intervene in the collapse of infrastructure in the region.
The IPOB, which owned a radio outlet- Radio Biafra – has for over two years been canvass­ing for the restoration of the de­funct Republic of Biafra for the people of the South East and South-South, possibly through a referendum, a request the Fed­eral Government has rejected.
Kanu, who is also the Direc­tor of Radio Biafra, has been in detention since October last year and his trial has been botched twice. Only on Tuesday, the Fed­eral Government began his tri­al afresh.
Ekweremadu told journal­ists after the meeting that they discussed infrastructure deficit and non-appointment of South East indigenes into high-profile positions by the President, espe­cially in the hierarchy of the se­curity forces.
He told State House corre­spondents that the parley was fruitful as the President prom­ised to take their complaints se­riously and to look into them.
According to him, “for us from the South East, we believe that dialogue is better than any other form of engagement. So, we decided to visit the President and present to him some of the concerns of the South East in­cluding the issues of roads, gen­eral infrastructure: the rail and airports.
“We also discussed the is­sue of security with him and of course, the issue of IPOB. We had a good conversation and he promised to look into the is­sues,” Ekweremadu said.
The Chairman of the South East Senate Caucus, Enyin­naya Abaribe, explained that the South East zone has been the most short-changed region in the country and must engage meaningfully with the Federal Government on the situation.
He said that the South East Caucus in the Senate came to see the President because of the is­sues in the South East, adding that, “we had a fruitful discus­sion with the President. He has promised us that he is going to look into the problems of the South East.
“We know that there are problems everywhere but we also believe that the South East is the zone that is far much short-changed at this time than other zones. We also talked about the issue of appointments from the South East, especially with respect to the National Se­curity Council.
“The President also told us that governors of the South East have also engaged him on the same problems we engaged him on. There is a concerted effort from the people of the South East to be sure that we engage with this government mean­ingfully.
“We are reassured with the response we got from the Presi­dent and we look forward to fur­ther interaction with him in this manner,” Abaribe said.
Others in the delegation were Senators Sam Egwu, Hope Uzodinma, Andy Uba and Chukwuka Utazi.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki was also at the Aso Rock Villa and met separately with Buhari behind closed doors al­though his mission was not as­certained as he did not speak to the press.
On IPOB and security prob­lem in the South East, the dele­gation was said to have request­ed for a way forward for the release of Kanu and enhanced security arrangement to deal with the issue of kidnapping in the zone.
The delegation was also said to have raised the issue of herds­men ravaging parts of the zone and appealed to the President to address the problem.
On infrastructure, the del­egation was reported to have highlighted the deplorable state of federal highways and poor funding of projects.
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One of those who attended the meeting said that they told President Buhari that “not up to 10 percent of appropriated funds were released to the zone annually in the past 10 years, leading to worsening of the sit­uation in the South East.”
He said that they requested President Buhari to “accommo­date funding of the roads in the 2017 Budget.”
The source further said that they requested for Standard Gauge Spur from Agbor to Onit­sha to meet up with the stand­ard gauge of Warri to Lokoja rail.
The Senators were said to have asked President Buhari to direct the Minister of Transpor­tation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi to act on the request.
The source said that they told President Buhari that the runway in Enugu Airport is di­lapidated, and suffering from wrong design, which is affect­ing the international status of the airport.
He said that they stressed strongly the need to rehabilitate the runway, adding that they re­quested the President to give ef­fect to the dry port approved for Abia State as well as to establish two more in Onitsha and Enu­gu possibly to start in the 2017 Budget.
The source said that they told President Buhari that the South East should be consid­ered in the concession of feder­al roads and airports, building of extra River Basin Development Authority for the zone.
He said that they reminded the President that the South East is the only geopolitical zone with only one River Basin Develop­ment Authority in the country.
The President, the source said, was requested to sign a private member bill on the is­sue pending at the National As­sembly if passed.
He said that the delegation stressed the need for sustained communication with the South East leaders.
The source said that Presi­dent Buahri thanked the dele­gation for coming to raise the issues of the South East and promised to take appropriate action on them.
He said that the President solicited their support, especial­ly at this time the country was passing through difficult times.

Senators from the South East geopolitical zone yesterday ended their apparent silence on the marginalisation of Ndigbo by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senators took the re­gion’s demands to the Presi­dent at the State House, Abuja, where they met with him be­hind closed doors.
At a meeting with Presi­dent Buhari, the lawmakers ta­bled before him a litany of com­plaints and demands from their constituents and asked the Pres­ident to act fast on them before the situation worsens.
The South-East Senators were led to the meeting with Buhari by the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekwere­madu
 The Senators who featured in the talks, which they de­scribed as frank, explained that they asked the Presidency to ad­dress the violent clampdown on the Indigenous Peoples of Bia­fra (IPOB) and its incarcerated leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
They also urged the Presi­dent to end the exclusion of the Igbo from key national offices and intervene in the collapse of infrastructure in the region.
The IPOB, which owned a radio outlet- Radio Biafra – has for over two years been canvass­ing for the restoration of the de­funct Republic of Biafra for the people of the South East and South-South, possibly through a referendum, a request the Fed­eral Government has rejected.
Kanu, who is also the Direc­tor of Radio Biafra, has been in detention since October last year and his trial has been botched twice. Only on Tuesday, the Fed­eral Government began his tri­al afresh.
Ekweremadu told journal­ists after the meeting that they discussed infrastructure deficit and non-appointment of South East indigenes into high-profile positions by the President, espe­cially in the hierarchy of the se­curity forces.
He told State House corre­spondents that the parley was fruitful as the President prom­ised to take their complaints se­riously and to look into them.
According to him, “for us from the South East, we believe that dialogue is better than any other form of engagement. So, we decided to visit the President and present to him some of the concerns of the South East in­cluding the issues of roads, gen­eral infrastructure: the rail and airports.
“We also discussed the is­sue of security with him and of course, the issue of IPOB. We had a good conversation and he promised to look into the is­sues,” Ekweremadu said.
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The Chairman of the South East Senate Caucus, Enyin­naya Abaribe, explained that the South East zone has been the most short-changed region in the country and must engage meaningfully with the Federal Government on the situation.
He said that the South East Caucus in the Senate came to see the President because of the is­sues in the South East, adding that, “we had a fruitful discus­sion with the President. He has promised us that he is going to look into the problems of the South East.
“We know that there are problems everywhere but we also believe that the South East is the zone that is far much short-changed at this time than other zones. We also talked about the issue of appointments from the South East, especially with respect to the National Se­curity Council.
“The President also told us that governors of the South East have also engaged him on the same problems we engaged him on. There is a concerted effort from the people of the South East to be sure that we engage with this government mean­ingfully.
“We are reassured with the response we got from the Presi­dent and we look forward to fur­ther interaction with him in this manner,” Abaribe said.
Others in the delegation were Senators Sam Egwu, Hope Uzodinma, Andy Uba and Chukwuka Utazi.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki was also at the Aso Rock Villa and met separately with Buhari behind closed doors al­though his mission was not as­certained as he did not speak to the press.
On IPOB and security prob­lem in the South East, the dele­gation was said to have request­ed for a way forward for the release of Kanu and enhanced security arrangement to deal with the issue of kidnapping in the zone.
The delegation was also said to have raised the issue of herds­men ravaging parts of the zone and appealed to the President to address the problem.
On infrastructure, the del­egation was reported to have highlighted the deplorable state of federal highways and poor funding of projects.
One of those who attended the meeting said that they told President Buhari that “not up to 10 percent of appropriated funds were released to the zone annually in the past 10 years, leading to worsening of the sit­uation in the South East.”
He said that they requested President Buhari to “accommo­date funding of the roads in the 2017 Budget.”
The source further said that they requested for Standard Gauge Spur from Agbor to Onit­sha to meet up with the stand­ard gauge of Warri to Lokoja rail.
The Senators were said to have asked President Buhari to direct the Minister of Transpor­tation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi to act on the request.
The source said that they told President Buhari that the runway in Enugu Airport is di­lapidated, and suffering from wrong design, which is affect­ing the international status of the airport.
He said that they stressed strongly the need to rehabilitate the runway, adding that they re­quested the President to give ef­fect to the dry port approved for Abia State as well as to establish two more in Onitsha and Enu­gu possibly to start in the 2017 Budget.
The source said that they told President Buhari that the South East should be consid­ered in the concession of feder­al roads and airports, building of extra River Basin Development Authority for the zone.
He said that they reminded the President that the South East is the only geopolitical zone with only one River Basin Develop­ment Authority in the country.
The President, the source said, was requested to sign a private member bill on the is­sue pending at the National As­sembly if passed.
He said that the delegation stressed the need for sustained communication with the South East leaders.
The source said that Presi­dent Buahri thanked the dele­gation for coming to raise the issues of the South East and promised to take appropriate action on them.
He said that the President solicited their support, especial­ly at this time the country was passing through difficult times.

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