IT is encouraging to see that President Muhammadu Buhari is in touch with elders and leaders of the Igbo nation in efforts to resolve the crisis of confidence between the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, and the Federal Government over the latest detention of IPOB’s leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The IPOB secessionist leader was recaptured by security agents in Kenya and returned to Nigeria in late June 2021, an extraordinary rendition reminiscent of the failed attempt to bring back the late Dr. Umaru Dikko in 1984. He has since been returned to the dock to answer charges of treason and terrorism.
Kanu’s detention has led to a spike in insecurity and series of “sit-at-home” protests which are observed every Monday throughout the South East despite the order having been called off by the IPOB Directorate of State.
This has negatively affected the security, economic, social and political livelihood of the zone. IPOB’s “no election” stance nearly marred the just concluded Anambra governorship poll but for the last-minute change of mind due to entreaties of the Igbo leadership.
We commend Igbo leaders for their albeit belated efforts to find a negotiated solution to the impasse. Had they and the elected leadership of the South East been up and doing, the grassroots would not have transferred their loyalties to the separatist agitators.
We also commend President Buhari for opening his door to dialogue with the Igbo leadership and giving hints of his readiness to partner them in finding an amicable solution. After all, even shooting wars still end at the negotiation table.
The president must also address some of his policies and personal attitudes that led to the insecurity in the South East which was till recently one of the most peaceful zones in the federation.
We caution him to beware of the sabre-rattling antics of some northern groups such as the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG. Left to them, the Federal Government will take steps that will worsen and elongate the crisis.
The president’s positive response to their war-like prodding has never helped matters. For instance, it was these same groups that pushed for the declaration of IPOB as terrorists after the CNG failed in its plans to expel Ndi-Igbo from the North.
The groups had also told Buhari that the #EndSARS protests were aimed at removing him from power. T
The CNG, ACF and other war mongers should be more concerned about the insecurity in the North than discouraging the Federal Government from finding solutions to insecurity in any part of Nigeria.