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Hon Benjamin Kalu who the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, has appealed to gunmen operating in the South East to come out of the bushes, drop their guns and negotiate for better jobs and sound future from the Federal government.
This is even as he launched a Food-For-Peace Program, to tackle hunger in the South East.
Speaking to media in Bende at an All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders’ meeting and constituent empowerment programme, Kalu claimed that President Bola Tinubu had treated the South East fairly in terms of appointments and other developmental initiatives.
He bemoaned the fact that the sit-at-home policy in some areas of the zone had devastated the South East region’s economy and driven out a large number of investors who were originally from the region.
The Deputy Speaker described the actions of unknown gunmen as an affront to the Federal Government, arguing that resorting to violence was at the detriment of the South East economy and general development.
Kalu however advised all the agitators in the South East who are still operating from the bush to drop their guns and embrace the Federal Government’s calls for peace, using the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) as a vehicle.
He noted that Tinubu has given key positions to the Igbos including the Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Minister of Works, Chief of Naval Staff and others, he deserves total support of the Igbo nation now and in his future political interests.
Kalu disclosed that he is interested in the release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu from detention but said that the process for Kanu’s release can be hastened if enforcers of the sit-at-home and actors of other violent crimes in the South East dropped their guns and embrace peace.
“Sit-at-home at-home is the biggest folly. You can’t match or outrun the fire power of the Federal Government. The best approach is to reduce the level of violence in the South East.
“Tinubu did not contribute to the incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu. Why will we punish him for what he did not do? Calm down, return the guns to the security agencies because PISE-P is designed to create jobs for you,” he advised the unknown gunmen.
He recalled how the Tinubu/Shettima campaign office he established in Abia State was destroyed with more than 200 bullets fired by gunmen before the 2023 general election.
The Deputy Speaker however expressed joy that PISE-P has yielded fruit with the relative peace recorded throughout the South East during the Yuletide.
He also spoke of the need for social cohesion between Ndigbo and other tribes, for the development of the South East.
During the stakeholders’ meeting, about 25 members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the constituency defected to the APC.