•Insecurity in Igbo land, more of political —former Abia lawmaker
•Release of Kanu key to peace —Bishop Udeh
•Let FG dialogue with S-East — Okwesilieze Nwodo
By Anayo Okoli, Vincent Ujumadu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Nwabueze Okonkwo, Steve Oko, Ugochukwu Alaribe, Peter Okutu & Ikechukwu Odu
IN the last one year and half, the South-East region has been in turmoil; almost in a state of anarchy. Sit-at-home initiated by IPOB to protest detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, was hijacked by hoodlums; including those IPOB created themselves due to division in their leadership.
Blood has been flowing freely in all parts of the region. Hundreds of lives have been lost and property worth billions of naira destroyed; academic activities disrupted; indeed the region became a ghost of itself while the leaders watched, doing little.
Read Also: I’ve cleared Boko Haram in Northeast — Buhari
Should this carnage continue? There is urgent need to recover South-East and bring back peace and harmony to the zone. What is the way forward, what needs to be done?
FG should dialogue with S-East —Okwesilieze Nwodo
The former governor of Enugu State and National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo said the Federal Government should see the urgent need to dialogue with the people of the zone to quell the bloodshed and agitations.
Nwodo noted that the Federal Government can meet all the demands of the region, adding that its refusal to dialogue with the people gave rise to the agitations which have devastated the region.
“I have always said that whether we are talking about Biafra or unknown gunmen, what the Federal Government owes the people of the South-East to stop all these agitations is to dialogue with us. There is no demand in the South- East today which the Federal Government cannot meet, but it has stoutly refused to dialogue with us. The result is these agitations here and there.
“I have also said that there is nothing IPoB is demanding which Nigerian federation cannot meet up with. Nigeria has done that in the past. People of the Niger-Delta region wanted total control of their oil resources but they got some percentage and have been living peacefully in Nigeria since then,” he said.
Enthrone equity, justice; demilitarise region — Ebonyi lawmaker
The member representing Ivo State Constituency in the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Dr. Oliver Osi, said tackling the inequality between the South-East and other zones would be a good beginning.
“The over five decades of neglect of the region is one key problem. For instance, all other regions have six states or more but South-East has only five. The South-East has been militarized by the supposed or acclaimed owners of Nigeria; these same elements are the ones creating insecurity in the South-East for their evil ends.
“Justice, equity and fairness must be entrenched in the running of affairs of the country. The security of this country must be given to competent men and women to administer.
“Until other regions start seeing the South-East as part of Nigeria, the country and the South-East will remain where we are. Addressing these issues will bring about peace in the region and the entire country.”
We’re working hard to restore peace, order —Ezeife
Foremost Igbo leader, Chief Chukwemeka Ezeife, assured that peace and security would be restored in the South-East region before next month’s elections. Though he did not disclose the strategies being adopted by Igbo leaders and stakeholders to achieve this, Ezeife insisted the stakeholders are currently doing an underground work to restore peace and security in Igbo land.
“We will restore peace and security before the election and everybody will be free to go and cast their votes for candidates of their choice and anyone who dares to scuttle the peace initiatives will go and join the devil in hell.”
Former deputy speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe is of the firm belief that unconditional release of the detained leader of IPoB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, would help restore peace to the zone. He said that the insecurity in the zone is more political and urged the Federal Government to consider political solution to Kanu’s matter as suggested by many Nigerians.
“Political solution to resolve Kanu’s case is the panacea for peace in the South-East. IPoB was in operation during ex-Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan period, but they never went after them with bullets, nor declared martial laws against them.”
Ndukwe, however, noted that the killings as being witnessed in parts of the zone were strange, and politics should not be ruled out. “Insecurity in the South-East to me, is alien to Igbo culture. We hardly kill ourselves; it is not in our DNA to murder and slaughter our own. To me, it is a bit more of politics than anything else,” Ndukwe noted.
Blame Buhari for crisis in the zone —MASSOB
The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, said it has always condemned the anti- people activities and criminalities that infiltrated the struggle for self determination and actualisation of Biafra, saying it has always believed in the principles of non-violence in the agitation.
MASSOB accused President Muhammadu Buhari of pushing the agitators to be violent when he allegedly allowed his Fulani kinsmen to unleash terror on the Christian-dominated Southern and Middle Belt regions in their quest to forcefully occupy their native land.
According to MASSOB leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu: “The violent and criminal activities going on in Biafra land will soon stop as MASSOB is at the forefront of the mission to reduce arms struggle in Biafra land.”
We must hold political office holders accountable —Ozobu
Prince Richard Ozobu, a notable opinion leader, said that holding political office holders accountable is the way to return peace to the zone. He explained that if the people begin to hold political office holders accountable, the high rate of non- performance and insensitivity to community development will be reduced as insecurity in the zone is mostly caused by inability of the political office holders to use the resources well.
Ozobu also noted that the creation of Ebubeagu security outfit aggravated the precarious security situation in the zone and accused the five state governors of playing politics with the security outfit.
“A lot of things have happened in the South-East. The problem is in us, not outsiders. I blame political office holders for the rising cases of insecurity in the region. They have failed to deploy the resources accruing to the zone to develop the area. The people are not happy. There is no accountability in the system.
“What have we done with the allocations that came to the South-East? There is high level of unemployment and how do you think there will be peace with this high level of unemployment? We have not made any effort to trace who we are, but we are always quick to blame others. We need to re-orientate our youths about the issue of accountability.
“What I am saying is that a security outfit like Ebubeagu can’t work because the governors never wanted it to work. You can’t just buy guns and give to untrained people and you don’t hook them up to the national security grid and expect peace in the land.
“This is certainly a recipe for insecurity because politicians may even hijack them for their selfish purposes. Lots of youths are idle, the governors must think out initiatives that can create jobs for the people in different sectors.”
An Onitsha-based legal practitioner, Prince Christopher Muo suggested the creation of a political forum in every Igbo community for social-political discussions. He identified absence of such platforms as reason why the people of the region could not come together on critical issue as insecurity devastating them as a people.
“There have been low reportage of the unfolding insecurity stories in Igbo land on any quality media platform, and this is attributable to the activities of politicians who are beneficiaries and sponsors of insecurity in the South-East.
“Poverty in South-East communities has evolved into a binary mode weapon that is defeating the people with two- pronged sword thrust: hunger breeding fear and fear of hunger breeding silence. The political leaders, particularly the governors of South-East states should address poverty which the political class is capitalizing on to cause insecurity, using the poor and the jobless,” Prince Muo noted.
The General Overseer of Mount Zion Faith Global Liberation Ministries (aka By Fire By Fire), Nnewi, Anambra State, Bishop Abraham Chris Udeh said that for peace to be restored in Igbo land, Nnamdi Kanu must be released and the governors of Ebonyi and Imo states impeached as he accused them of creating insecurity in the region.
“As a prophet of the Most High God, God revealed to me that Kanu’s forceful rendition and continued detention in defiance of the Appeal Court order is instrumental to lack of peace and security in Igbo land. Like I stated earlier, APC deceived Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State into joining the party when they falsely promised to make him the next president of Nigeria, since he decamped to APC and floated the Ebubeagu security outfit, life has not been the same. Likewise, since Uzodimma became the governor of Imo State, abnormalities have become the order of the day in Imo State and even spread to other parts of Igbo land.”
Sanity must return in Anambra —Soludo
Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo has vowed that he would end the irresponsible sit-at-home and return normalcy to his state. “We must get back to work, working five days a week. We must take back Anambra from the criminals; we cannot build a prosperous Anambra when we work four days, when our children go to school four days, that is a 20 per cent loss in productivity,” he said.
A civil servant, Mr. Augustine Ikpeama said it would be unfortunate if the sit-at-home continues this year, arguing that even the civil servants are tired of wasting one day every week.
He said: “Our hope is that Governor Soludo will find a way of ending this sit-at-home. Other states are even mocking the South-East that there won’t be election in many towns next month because of insecurity. It is unfortunate that we have found ourselves in this situation, but let this year not witness the kind of insecurity we have been witnessing for the past two years.”
Chairman of a vigilante group in one of the villages in Okija, Ihiala Council Area, said proper funding of vigilante groups is the only way to return the state to normalcy. He noted that in many communities in the state, the Christmas period was generally peaceful because the vigilante groups were very active.
Solution lies in releasing Nnamdi Kanu by FG obeying court decision — COSEYL
According to the leader of the coalition of Igbo youth, Goodluck Ibem, the major way to return peace to South-East geopolitical zone is the unconditional release of the IPoB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from DSS custody.
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