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The South East Council of Traditional and Religious Leaders has condemned the crisis which has continued to linger in Imo State while also urging political gladiators in the state to do what it can to de-escalate tension in the State.
In a communique in Enugu which was made available to The Eastern Updates on Sunday, the group said it would immediately commence meetings with Governor Hope Uzodimma, Senator Rochas Okorocha, and other past Governors and Governorship candidates, as well as elders of the state to scope the problem and proffer a solution.
The statement by Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe and Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia Diocese, Chibuzo Opoko, lamented that even as they were issuing the statement, a report broke of an exchange of gunfire between ‘unknown’ gunmen and law enforcement officers, which may have left several people dead in the state.
They said that Imo had become a war zone and the Igbo nation was appalled that those responsible seemed unable to gauge the consequences of their conduct.
The Joint Body said: ‘The tensions, violence and failing law and order situation have resulted in a significant number of deaths, including those of traditional rulers, a considerable number of missing persons, and the abduction of scores of youth presumably by law enforcement and non-state actors. Many attribute this to the prevailing political differences in the State. These arrested and kidnapped young men are said to be held in concentration camp conditions.
‘This state of affairs in Imo State, blamed largely on a few politicians of the state and their cohorts, constitute an assault on the dignity and well-being of Ndi Imo and the Igbo nation. It is unacceptable and must be brought to a speedy resolution.
‘To pursue one’s political interest to the detriment of the interest of the people that one seeks to serve violates the essence of the Igbo way and good leadership. As such we call on all the gladiators, requesting that they note that the ethos of Ndi Igbo is steeped in ‘egbe belu ugo ebelu’. We know what fate is cast on the one that does not allow the other to perch.
‘We, as the clergy, traditional rulers and elders of conscience of Alaigbo, under the auspices of the Joint Body of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution (J.B.) are compelled to intervene.
‘First, we urge all the political leaders in contestations and their followers to cease and desist from all actions that will escalate or compound the situation on the ground in the State.
‘We ask for an examination of conscience of the actors in Imo State, FCT, Abuja, or elsewhere. We trust that the Igbo spirit, which guided our intervention in the run up to the recent Anambra State governorship election and resulted in peaceful and salutary outcomes, will lead the key antagonists in Imo State politics to collaborate with us to help reconstruct the social order in Imo to greater civility.’
Meanwhile, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has declared that the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and other detained agitators in the country, would receive God’s mercy this year.
THE EASTERN UPDATES