The South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishop and Bishops, have advised the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) not to engage in any bad tendency that will hinder the smooth running of the November 6th governorship election in Anambra State.
They asked the pro-Biafra group to cancel all scheduled sit-at-home orders, as these had already caused untold hardship for the people.
The southeast traditional and religious leaders, also called on all the candidates in the coming gubernatorial poll in Anambra to eschew violence and commit to a free, fair and credible election.
They gave the admonition in a joint statement signed by the Chairman of South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Igwe Charles Mkpuma, and the Catholic Bishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna on behalf of the other Igbo bishops, on Sunday.
The Igbo traditional and Christian leaders further expressed concern on the rampaging insecurity and socio-economic disruption in the southeast zone of Nigeria, regretted that the problems had deepened hardships being faced by the citizens and rendered prostrate the socio-political and economic lives of the people in the region.
They maintained that the federal government and other stakeholders must explore dialogue and negotiation in resolving critical issues that threaten national unity cohesion and development.
The leaders reechoed the call for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently remanded in facility of the Department of State Service (DSS) on the order of court
The secessionist leader is standing trial before Justice Binta Murtala Nyako-led Federal High Court Abuja, on allegation of treasonable felony preferred against him by the federal government of Nigeria
According to them, “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 de-escalate the heightened state of insecurity and dislocation in the South East Zone”.
They also urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to take immediate steps to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and release all IPOB members being held in various detention facilities in Nigeria.
The South East leaders further called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarize the South East Zone, as it has become apparent that a continued military siege on the region is capable to lead to heightened tension, skirmishes and endless bloodletting between the security agencies and the youths.
Parts of their joint statement read, “We assert that heightened inequality and marginalization remain at the core of youth restiveness in our region. We urge our apex National Leadership to note that until it takes deliberate steps to run government on the basis of fairness, equity, justice and non-discrimination, this restiveness is likely to continue.
We shall respectfully seek audience with Mr President to discuss these issues in exploring political solution and the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“On our part, we assure our youths that we have heard their cries of marginalization, injustice and long-suffering. As concerned parents, we feel your pain. However, we urge you to de-escalate the tension and remain law-abiding to enable us to engage especially the Federal Government in finding a lasting solution to the crises”.