Igbo youth leaders and stakeholders have resolved to ensure a lasting peace, stability and security within the South-East in general.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of an Emergency South-East Youth Leaders/Stakeholders Convention on Security and Stability of the Region, held in Enugu on Friday.
The emergency meeting was attended by youth organizations, which included: Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Wing; National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN); Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC); Association of South-East Town Union (ASETU) Youth Wing and National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
The statement said that current instability as witnessed in South-East today is not only as a result of crumbling security architecture but gross maladministration and leadership failure at all strata of government and insincerity of the political class.
It said: “We have noted with great dismay and disappointment, the failure of the South-East governors to activate and implement the South-East Security Network otherwise known as Ebubeagu.
“We call for a revisit of this security architecture in South-East where the youths must be included in the design and implementation of the said security network and a proper legislation be enacted for that purpose in all South-East states.
“This will clearly define the relationship between the government and the led (youths particularly).
“We have also studied the issue of youth participation in politics in South-East and we want to use this medium to call on all Igbo youths to get actively involved in politics and policy making in their respective states.
“This they can do by joining of political parties, registration to vote and vying for elective positions. Let the forthcoming Anambra election serve as a litmus test.
“Consequently, we will call on the Independent National Electoral Commission to give a level-playing ground to all political parties participating in the election.
“We also stand with the decision of state Governors of Rivers and Lagos on the need for states to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) generated from their respective states; and call on governors of South-East to support the move”.
On the issue of farmers/herders crisis, the communiqué said that the youths maintained their stand on the anti-open grazing, while commending governors and legislators of Abia and Enugu for signing the bill into law.
“We are calling on their counterparts in Anambra, Imo and Ebonyi to expedite actions in ensuring the anti-open grazing bill is passed and signed into law,’’ it said.
It said that the arrest and continued detention without arraignment of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), had led to civil unrest and disobedience in the zone.
“We, therefore, call on the Federal Government to make available all necessary logistics needed for the timely and speedy trial of Nnamdi Kanu (which must be fair and in accordance with laid down laws of the country).
“If not, the South-East youths will lead a protest to Abuja in that regard.
“Furthermore, we call on the Federal Government to exhibit similar dexterity shown in Mazi Nnamdi Kanu case in other regions of the country.
“We hereby call on IPOB leadership to have an interface with us so as to ascertain their actual take on the ongoing sit-at-home order which has had negative impact on socio-economic life of the region and its residents,” it added.
The communiqué was jointly signed by Chief Okorie Okechukwu, representing Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths; Mr Tony Ejike, representing NANS, and Miss Anita Adaeze, representing NYCN.
Others are Mr Maxwell Ezelagu, representing NYC, and Mr Christian Afulike, representing ASETU Youth Wing among 30 other youths that also signed the communiqué.