By Emeka Mamah, Francis Igata & Caleb Ayansina
Igbo Day: ENUGU—ENUGU—The apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, yesterday, warned the Federal Government to be conscious of the insecurity challenges created in the region by the activities of Fulani herdsmen who are on rampage in the five states causing the destruction of farm lands and livestocks.
It also demanded the unconditional release of Director, Radio Biafra,Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in detention since October 10, last year over alleged treason charges, warning that his continued incarceration maybe responsible for the continued agitation for Biafra.
This was even as the pan-Igbo group warned the Federal Government to reconsider its proposed sale of National assets while lamenting the deplorable state of federal roads in the region which have crippled the people’s economy.
While addressing a cross section of Ndigbo who gathered at No 7, Park Avenue, GRA, yesterday, for the annual Igbo day, titled,” think home,and invest home,” OAU Onyema who represented the President General, Gary Igariwey, said: ”We reiterate our position on the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu and urge the Federal Government to take a critical look at the reasons why the young man agitating without arms or element of violence will embark on such separatist cause.
“We once again raise our voice on the unholy situation and unfortunate state of the federal roads in the region which have caused a trip from Enugu-Onitsha to take five hours contrary to the one hour it used to take. It is completely unpalatable to connect any south-east state. We also urge the Federal Government to reconsider its proposed sale of national assets. We believe that these priceless assets already acquired,stand at the centre of the economy of this country, and if managed well, will give growth and hope to our posterity.”
The group asked Igbo to stop bemoaning their marginalisation by successive administrations in the country by adopting the “think home” policy of developing their areas.
Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey said that Igbo was synonymous with hard work and resilience, pointing out that brooding over marginalisation by successive administration was not the answer to the problems of collapsed infrastructure in Igbo land.
This was even as Enwo-Igariwey tacitly paid tributes to unarmed Igbo youths, men and women who were killed in their farms by Fulani herdsmen or while agitating for Biafra within the last one year in “unacceptable circumstances.” Similarly, the factional leader of Ohanaeze, Chief Ralph Obioha, asked Ndigbo to embrace peace and love themselves as well as their neighbours.
“There was a period Nigeria did not have universities. Through individual sacrifices and communal efforts, Ndigbo children joined the race in pursuit of the so-called golden fleece overseas and acquitted themselves in an outstanding manner.
“Despite starting over 50 years behind some other Nigerian nationalities in the pursuit of higher education, the outcome by the early 1960s was the bridging of the tertiary education gap. By 1960, the Vice Chancellors of three of the most prominent universities in Nigeria were not only Nigerians, but were internationally renowned scholars of Igbo origin.
Release Nnamdi Kanu, Soludo, Kukah tell Buhari
Also speaking yesterday, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the immediate release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, saying his continuing detention does no good for the country.
This came as the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, the Most Revd Matthew Hassan Kukah noted that agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra could only be resolved through dialogue. Hence, their leader should be released to solve the matter.
The duo spoke at the public presentation of a book entitled, ‘The Politics of Biafra and the Future of Nigeria,’ authored by Chudi Offodile, in Abuja. Other prominent Nigerians at the event included a former Minister of Transport, Osita Chidoka; former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme; a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, among others.
Soludo said that the federal government itself gave Biafra agitation a global stance by arresting and detaining IPOB’s leader, Kanu, adding that keeping him in detention might making him (Kanu) to be loved more by his people.