By Sunny A Ijoamh
On Sunday, the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Christian Leaders urged the Federal Government to free Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, and to put an end to the deaths and destruction in the region.
He has been detained by the Nigerian Secret Police since June, and his confinement has sparked unrest in portions of the country’s South-East. In addition, his arrest has sparked a weekly sit- at- home protest in several parts of the region.
The South East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops issued a joint statement demanding that the Federal Government de- militarize the region, which has resulted in the killing of Igbo youths and the burning of villages by soldiers.
They claim that the increased inequity and marginalization of Ndigbo in the Nigerian scheme of things under the Presidency of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd.) is at the root of the region’s young unrest.
However, they warned that “this restiveness is likely to continue, unless the federal government takes conscious steps to administer the government on the principles of fairness, equity, justice, and non- discrimination.
”Following similar efforts to restore peace to other difficult sections of the country, we urge the Federal Government and other stakeholders to seek conversation and negotiation in resolving major issues that threaten National unity, cohesion, and development,” the statement stated.
”As a result, we reiterate our earlier request for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release to the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops,” the statement reads.
We are convinced that this act of bravery and statesmanship is not only necessary but will also help to quickly relieve the South East Zone’s heightened condition of insecurity and dislocation.
”We also call on President Buhari and the Federal Government to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra and release all IPOB members detained in Nigeria’ s different prison institutions.
”We ask the Federal Government to take immediate steps to demilitarize the South East Zone, especially now that it is clear that maintaining a military presence in the region will only lead to increased tensions, clashes, and unending bloodshed between security forces and our kids.
“De- emphasizing the military option in favor of a political solution that will lead to long- term peace has become essential, imperative, and compelling.”