Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and South East Senators on Wednesday, met at the Aso Rock Villa over some crucial national issues including the continued detention of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) , Nnamdi Kanu.
The need for appointment of people of South East extraction into the National Security Council was also said to have featured prominently during the meeting, a reliable source told our reporter.
The South east Senators, one from each of the five states, were led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who represents Abia South senatorial constituency was also present with other senators.
The delegation was said to have requested President Buhari to take immediate steps to redress the “glaring non appointment of people of South East into the National Security Council of the Federation.”
On the Briafran separatist group, IPOB, in the South east, the delegation was said to have requested for a way forward for the release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu. They raised the issue of herdsmen ravaging parts of the zone and the solutions to address the problem.
On infrastructure, the delegation was reported to have highlighted the 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 had been released annually for the past 10 years leading to worsening of the situation in the South East.”
The Senator said that they requested President Buhari to “accommodate funding of the roads in the 2017 budget.”
He said that they also requested for Standard Gauge rail lines from Agbor to Onitsha to meet up with the standard gauge lines of Warri to Lokoja rail, and to direct the Minister of Transportation accordingly.
The source said that they told President Buhari that the Airport runway in Enugu Airport was dilapidated, and had a wrong design, which was affecting the international status of the Airport, stressing the need to rehabilitate the runway.
He said that they also 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 2017 budget.
The source said that they told President Buhari that the South east should be considered in concessioning of Federal roads and Airport as well as the building of extra River Basin Development Authority for the South East.
They explained that the South East iwa the only geopolitical zone with only one River Basin Development Authority in the country, thereby requesting the President to sign a private member bill on the issue pending at the National Assembly once it is passed.
President Buhari, according to the Senator who wished to remain anonymous, thanked the delegation for coming to raise the issues of the South East and promised to take appropriate action on the issues raised.
He said that the President solicited their support especially at this time the country was passing through difficult times.