South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops have asked the Federal Government to release the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
In a nine-point communiqué issued after their meeting on Sunday, the groups also expressed “deep concern” over the high level of insecurity and socio-economic disruption in the South-East geo-political zone of the country.
They also urged the federal government to take immediate steps to de-proscribe the IPOB and release all IPOB members being held in various detention facilities.
The communiqué was jointly signed by the Catholic Archbishops of Owerri and Onitsha, Most Rev. Anthony J. V. Obinna and Most Rev. Valerian M. Okeke, respectively.
Signatories to the communique also included the Methodist Bishop of Umuahia, Most Rev. Chibuzor R. Opoko; Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, South East Zone, Rev. Dr. Abraham Nwali ; and the Past Principal Secretary, Presbyterian Church Nigeria, Most Rev. Dr. Uma A. Onwunta.
Other signatories are: Chairmen of the State Councils of Traditional Rulers of Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo States, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe; Igwe Charles Mkpuma, Igwe L. O. C. Agubuzu, and Eze E. C. Okeke respectively.
‘Release Nnamdi Kanu For Peace To Reign In South East’
The communiqué read: “We, the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, note with deep concern, the high level of insecurity and socio-economic disruption in the southeast zone of Nigeria.
“This has deepened the hardships being faced by the citizens and rendered prostrate, the socio-political and economic lives of our people.
“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 southeast zone.
“We also urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government, to take immediate steps to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and release all IPOB members being held in various detention facilities in Nigeria.
“We call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarize the southeast zone, moreso 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-emphasize the military option and move towards finding a political solution that will lead to sustainable peace.
“We assert that heightened inequality and marginalization remain at the core of youth restiveness in our region.
“We urge our apex national leadership to note that until it takes deliberate steps to run the government based on fairness, equity, justice, and non-discrimination, this restiveness is likely to continue.”
While saying that they shall respectfully seek audience with Mr. President, to discuss these issues in exploring political solution and the release of Kanu, they also promised that: “On our part, we assure our youths that we have heard their cries of marginalization, injustice, and longsuffering.
“As concerned parents, we feel your pain. However, we urge you to de-escalate the tension and remain law-abiding to enable us to engage especially the Federal Government in finding a lasting solution to the crisis.”
Addressing the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra State, the group said: “Consistent with the above, we urge IPOB not to do anything that would hinder or be seen to be hindering the smooth running of the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State and to cancel the scheduled sit-at-home orders, as these have already caused untold hardship for our people.
“Finally, we call on all the candidates in the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship Election to eschew violence and commit to a free, fair, and credible election.”
KanyiDaily recalls that IPOB had declared a one week sit-at-home protest in the South-East starting from November 5, the evening of Anambra governorship election.
The IPOB, which said the protest was aimed at prevailing on the Nigerian government to release Nnamdi Kanu, vowed that the South-East would be locked down for one-week if its leader was not released before November 4.