The Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) has valid grievances, says governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State.
The secessionist group has been at the forefront demanding the return of defunct Biafra Republic. It took advantage of alleged nepotism of President Muhammadu Buhari to draw more support from the south-eaterners.
The group first came to limelight when the administration of Mr Buhari arrested its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at the Lagos International Airport when he flew in from London.
Tried on treasonable felony and granted bail afterwards, Mr Kanu became a fugitive after soldiers stormed his Abia residence to capture him on alleged flouting of his bail conditions.
From abroad, he coordinated and launched the Eastern Security Network (ESN) which according to him is aimed at chasing away violent herdsmen residing in forests across the South-East and South-South geo-political zones.
After the launch of ESN, attacks by unknown gunmen on security facilities and checkpoints increased, with the secessionist armed group being suspected.
Mr Ikpeazu, one of the South-East governors that floated a regional security at the weekend to tackle worsening insecurity in the geo-political zone, while featuring on Arise Television said the grievances of the group should be attended to although he does not subscribe to the approach they adopted in making their demands.
“I have taken my time to listen to some of these issues raised by IPOB: issues about injustice, issues of marginalisation, issues of trust deficits within the polity called Nigeria as it concerns people from south-eastern Nigeria,” Mr Ikpeazu said.
“And I think some of those are valid issues and they should be addressed and spoken to; they should be addressed squarely. So that everybody and those of us that are in government today can have a foothold within the South-East region to continue to promote the unity of Nigeria.
“I do not subscribe to the strategy of IPOB in pursuing their goals. And the reason is because I’m yet to see the end of the tunnel from where I’m standing and I do not like to take a plunge in the dark,” the Abia helmsman added.