Traditional rulers, Archbishops In South-East, List Conditions For Peace In Igboland

Monarch, archbishops and bishops from the South-East on Sunday listed conditions that should be pursued by the Federal Government inorder to restore peace in Igboland.

They demand demilitarisation of the zone, deproscription of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and release of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, as well as the government taking practical steps to end the marginalisation of the Igbo from the scheme of things. 

The signatories to the document include chairman, Ebonyi State Traditional Rulers Council and Chairman, South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Charles Mkpuma; Chairman, Abia State Council, Eze Joseph N. Nwabeke; Chairman, Anambra State Council, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe (CFR); Chairman, Enugu State Council, Igwe (Ambassador) L. O. C. Agubuzu (OON) and Chairman, Imo State Council, Eze (Dr). E. C. Okeke. Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Reverend (Dr) Anthony J.V. Obinna; Anglican Archbishop of Enugu, Most Reverend (Dr) Emmanuel O. Chukwuma (OON); Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, Most Reverend (Dr) Chibuzo R. Opoko; Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Reverend (Dr) Valerian M. Okeke; past Principal Clerk, Presbyterian Church Nigeria, Most Reverend (Dr) Uma A. Onwunta; Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Obi Onubogu and Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-East, Reverend (Dr) Abraham Nwali. 

Their intervention on the worrisome trend in the South-East is coming against the heightened tension ahead of the governorship election slated for this weekend in Anambra State. 
The traditional rulers and clerics announced a plan to have audience with President Muhammadu Buhari on the worsening insecurity in the South-East with the aim of bringing succour to the people of the area.

According to them: We call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to de-militarise 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,” the leaders stressed. 

They advised the Federal Government to take urgent steps to de-militarise the South-East, which has witnessed killings and destruction of security facilities in  recent times. 
While urging IPOB members to sheathe their swords to pave way for dialogue and negotiation, they, however, asserted that until the government took “deliberate steps to run government on the basis of fairness, equity, justice and non-discrimination, the restiveness” was bound to persist in the South-East.

Read the statement below…

“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 socioeconomic disruption in the South-East 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 deescalate the heightened state of insecurity and dislocation in the South-East zone. “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. 
“We assert that heightened inequality and marginalisation remain at the core of youth restiveness in our region. 

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