Listen to article
The South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and notable Christian leaders on Sunday appealed to the Federal Government to release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to them and stop the orgy of killings and destruction in the region.
The Eastern Updates recalls that Kanu had been in detention facility of the DSS since June after his extraordinary rendition, which triggered series of unrest in the South East.
It had also resulted in alleged killing of many innocent citizens and destruction of businesses and social activities in the zone.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops asked the Federal Government to de-militarise the region.
They said the militarisation of the region had resulted in the killing of Igbo youths and burning of communities by soldiers.
They stated that the heightened inequality and marginalisation of Ndigbo in the scheme of things in Nigeria under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, remained at the core of youth restiveness in the region.
They warned that until the Federal Government took deliberate steps to run a government on the basis of fairness, equity, justice and non-discrimination ‘this restiveness is likely to continue’.
The statement was signed by Chairman, South-East Traditional Rulers Council and Chairman, Ebonyi State Council, Igwe Charles Mkpuma; Chairmen of Traditional Rulers Council of Abia, Eze Joseph Nwabeke; Anambra, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe; Enugu, Amb Lawrence Agubuzu and Imo State, Eze E. C. Okeke.
Representatives of the Christian leaders that signed the statement are Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri; Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Anglican Archbishop of Enugu; Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia.
Others are Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha; Most Rev. Uma Onwunta, past Principal Clerk, Presbyterian Church Nigeria; Bishop Obi Onubogu, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, Chairman, CAN, South East Zone.
The statement said, ‘Flowing from similar initiatives taken to bring peace to other troubled parts of the country, we urge the Federal Government and other stakeholders to explore dialogue and negotiation in resolving critical issues that threaten national unity, cohesion and development.
‘Accordingly, we refer to our earlier request for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops and restate this call even more strongly.
‘We are of the firm belief that this act of courage and statesmanship is not only imperative but will speedily de-escalate the heightened state of insecurity and dislocation in the South-East zone.
‘We also urge President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the Federal Government to take immediate steps to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra and release all IPOB members being held in various detention facilities in Nigeria.
‘We call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarise the South-East zone, more so as it has become apparent that a continued military siege on the region can only lead to heightened tension, skirmishes and endless bloodletting between the security agencies and our youths.
‘It has become urgent, imperative and compelling to de-emphasise the military option and move towards finding a political solution that will lead to sustainable peace.’
The leadership of traditional rulers and Christians said they would seek audience with the President to discuss these issues in exploring political solution and the release of Kanu, while assuring the youths that they have heard their cries marginalisation, injustice and long-suffering.
THE EASTERN UPDATES