Christian leaders and the Sout-East Council of Traditional Rulers have urged the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and to de-proscribe the secessionist group.
The clerics and the Christian leaders in a joint statement issued on Sunday asked the federal government to stop militarising the southeast which has led to wanton killings and unrest.
The statement was signed by Chairman, South-East Traditional Rulers Council and Chairman, Ebonyi State Council, Igwe Charles Mkpuma; Chairmen of Traditional Rulers Council of Abia, Eze Joseph Nwabeke; Anambra, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe; Enugu, Amb Lawrence Agubuzu and Imo State, Eze E. C. Okeke.
Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri; Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Anglican Archbishop of Enugu; Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia represented the Christian group.
Others are Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha; Most Rev. Uma Onwunta, past Principal Clerk, Presbyterian Church Nigeria; Bishop Obi Onubogu, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, Chairman, CAN, South East Zone.
The statement read, “Flowing from similar initiatives taken to bring peace to other troubled parts of the country, we urge the Federal Government and other stakeholders to explore dialogue and negotiation in resolving critical issues that threaten national unity, cohesion and development.
“Accordingly, 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.
“We also urge President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the Federal Government to take immediate steps to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra and release all IPOB members being held in various detention facilities in Nigeria.
“We call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarise the South-East zone, more so as it has become apparent that a continued military siege on the region can only lead to heightened tension, skirmishes and endless bloodletting between the security agencies and our youths.
“It has become urgent, imperative and compelling to de-emphasise the military option and move towards finding a political solution that will lead to sustainable peace.”
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