Tinubu Poised to End Reign of Terror in South East – Shettima

VP Shettima

* Says criminals terrorising region don’t represent Ndi-Igbo, Nigeria’s interest

* President, VP bag traditional titles in Abia

Vice President Kashim Shettima on Friday hinted at President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm resolve to end the reign of terror in the South East region by those he described as self-serving criminals and certain persons taking advantage of the security situation to foster their dangerous political agenda.

According to him, the President had been worried about the economic devastation inflicted on the South East geopolitical zone by non-state actors since he assumed office and is determined to deploy all available resources to eliminate the purveyors of falsehoods and propaganda that have become weapons against Nigeria’s unity.

Senator Shettima disclosed this in Bende, Abia State, during the unveiling of the Peace in South East Project (PISE-P) by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu.

Before the unveiling ceremony, President Tinubu was conferred with the traditional title of Omeziri Igbo 1 at the grand civic reception held in honour of the Deputy  Speaker.

Vice President Shettima who received the title on behalf of the President was also conferred with the traditional title of Enyioma Ndigbo by the Chairman of the Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Linus Mbah.

This heralded the unveiling of the Peace in the South East Project in Bende, Abia State.

Delivering his speech titled, “Why We are all Umunna,” VP Shettima said, “His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been concerned about the extensive economic devastation inflicted by non-state actors on this beautiful region since we took office. He is acutely aware that our commitment to Nigeria’s future remains incomplete as long as we grapple with the sinister operations of economic saboteurs who masquerade as advocates for the Ndi-Igbo.

“That’s why he’s determined to utilize all available resources to ensure that the peace we’re establishing in this region is not cosmetic, and we can’t guarantee it unless all of us see through the falsehoods and propaganda that have become weapons against our unity.”

Senator Shettima noted that the gory activities of the criminals holding the South East captive are self-serving and do not in any way represent the interests of Ndi-Igbo and the entire country.

He said the terror groups that have held the South East to ransom are not a creation of the people of the region, or of Nigerians from other parts of the country.

“The problem we are here to solve as a community, as an Umunna, is a creation of self-serving criminals who do not represent the interests of the Ndi-Igbo and Nigerians. Mr. President knows this better than all of us, and that’s why he has never held any group accountable for the infractions of law-breaking individuals who identify as their members. This, I believe, is the democracy we have all chosen,” he stated.

Pointing out that the criminals disrupting the peace in the South-East are doing so in connivance with “forces exploiting the situation for dangerous political agenda,” the Vice President said attempts to undo the hard work of the nation’s heroes past will fail.

He maintained however that the catastrophic situation can’t be reversed unless the government involves the people whom he said are the ears, legs and mouths in the region.

“Today, we stand united to firmly declare: enough is enough,” VP Shettima stated, stressing the need for a coordinated intervention to tackle insecurity in the region head-on, even as he assured the South East people that the Tinubu administration “shall not rest until it fulfills its pledge to mitigate the crisis” it inherited.

Noting that no better visionary can save the nation from implosion than President Tinubu,” he said the development agenda of the federal government in the South East will continue to elude the region if “the intricate web of security challenges” the Tinubu-led federal government inherited is not contained.

“The seeds of progress can only sprout in the fertile soil of peace and security. This is why we take immense pride in the collaboration of all stakeholders and initiatives such as the Peace in South East Project, to ensure that the shield of security in the region isn’t a distant mirage in the landscape of aspirations,” the VP further noted.

He commended the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and convener of the peace initiative, Hon. Kalu, for his efforts to restore lasting peace in the South East region, just as he said the event attests “to the profound understanding that no one comprehends the experience of a community better than the people

Earlier, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu said that his goal for initiating the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) was to foster peace, unity, and development in the region. He said the project also aims at promoting
reconciliation among communities and individuals affected by past conflicts.

“When I embarked on the South East Project, my vision was clear — to foster peace, unity, and development in our region through a non-kinetic approach. The South East has long been known for its rich cultural heritage, vibrant communities, and enterprising people. Yet, we have faced our fair share of challenges, including socioeconomic disparities, insecurities, political tensions, and occasional conflicts.

“Our goals in the South East Project are clear. We aim to promote reconciliation among communities and individuals affected by past conflicts. We recognize the need to address the root causes of conflict, including socio-economic disparities and political tensions. Empowering communities is another crucial goal of the project, providing them with the necessary resources, skills, and opportunities for sustainable development,” said the Deputy Speaker.

Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the South East Governor’s Forum, Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, commended the Vice President for his sufficient goodwill to the people of the South East.

Uzodimma who is also Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) said, “Our Vice President has shown sufficient goodwill to the people of the South East. From this part of the country, we will continue to work with the rest of Nigeria to make the country a prosperous nation for the interest of all of us for service to God and humanity.”

On his part, Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, said, “We the people of the South East hereby declare that peace is what we stand for as a region.

“We declare peace and prosperity, we declare peace for progress, we stand for peace in the South East as a catalyst that will drive growth in all sectors of the economy and rekindle the confidence of future generations. We declare that peace is better,” the Abia governor submitted.

Other dignitaries present at the event include Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Gilbert Onyekachukwu Ibezim; Deputy Senate President, Senator Barau Jibrin; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Others are Senator Osita Izunaso; Kano State APC governorship candidate, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna; former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Chief Henry Ikoh; the Obi of Onitsha, His Royal Highness, Nnaemeka Achebe; the Ooni of Ife, His Royal Highness, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu; former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, and former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, among others.