Saturday, 21 January 2023 05:34

Igbo leaders call for release of Nnamdi Kanu, disclaim secession

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Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide, has said it is planning to organise a peace summit to discuss ways of addressing insecurity in the country and the Southeast especially.

The council said this in a communiqué issued by its Chairperson, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, on Friday in Abuja at the end of its meeting.

The council called on the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed IPOB unconditionally.

“The council took a decision on the need to have a peace summit. It goes with the desire that Nnamdi Kanu should be released.

“We want to dialogue with his participation in order to have an enduring peace in Nigeria, particularly in the Southeast.

“The council therefore called on the Federal Government and all persons concerned to release Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally. He cannot be in prison while such a crucial summit is being held,” Iwuanyanwu said.

He added that the security situation in the country called for concern, saying that the council was particularly worried how the situation had worsened in the Southeast.

‘Enough is enough’

Iwuanyanwu noted that lives were being lost, innocent blood shed, while properties and government institutions were being destroyed.

“Moreover both the State and Federal Governments are deploying huge financial resources in fighting a meaningless war instead of providing infrastructure, education and healthcare.

“Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has therefore insisted that enough is enough.

“We must have a peace summit where we will get all the stakeholders including the agitators and youths together to chart a new course that can enthrone enduring peace,” he said.

He expressed concern that most people in the region were unemployed, including graduates, adding that any government policy on employment without first ensuring security of the nation would amount to nothing.

He added that the council, as part of its efforts in curbing unemployment, had agreed to tackle the problem in the moribund Niger Cement Company.

Iwuanyanwu said the company had the capacity to address to a large extent the unemployment in the Southeast.

“An Okwesilieze Nwodo-led committee has been set up to mediate between the landlord, which is the Ebonyi State Government, and the investors to ensure a possible reactivation of the factory in 2023.

“We have also decided to revisit coal-mining activities in the zone. We are encouraging our business leaders to exploit the possibility of reactivating coal mining. This will create jobs and also increase the nation’s GDP.”

“On the area of culture, the council has also agreed to approach the State Governments to reactivate cultural and school competitions within the states with inter-state finals holding at Enugu,” he said.

He said the council was also in touch with a lot of African-Americans in the United States who want to reconnect with their roots.

The council agreed to discuss with state governors in the region to provide a village for their resettlement because they were prepared to come over to develop the region, he said.

On the secession of Ndigbo, Iwuanyanwu said: “We have noticed with dismay that people still use the threat of secession against the interest of the zone. The Igbos have invested in virtually every locality in Nigeria in areas of business, services, and building properties.

“So the talk of secession is peddled without honesty. However, Ndigbo is only interested in fairness and equity. When a government or group denies us opportunities which are ours, including political and employment opportunities, we cannot be happy,” he said.

Iwuanyanwu formally announced, according to the tradition and custom of Ndigbo, the passage of George Obiozor, the president general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide.

“Today marks the beginning of the formal mourning by the Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“This council will set up a strong delegation, including top government officials who are members, captains of industries. Our members who are in the academia, religious and traditional institutions amongst others will represent us in the burial,” he said.

He said the council also deliberated on the death and funeral of its leader Mbazulike Amechi, saying he ensured that peace returned to the country and Igbo land in particular.

The meeting was attended by Okwesilieze Nwodo, Achike Udenwa, Tim Menakaya, Ben Obi, Cletus Ilomuanya, Kema Chikwe, Eddy Onuoha and Julius Ucha, among others.

 

NAN