Try Nnamdi Kanu fast or release him, Soludo tells FG
The Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuma Soludoassured that he would lead his fellow governors of the Southeast to engage in dialogue with the federal government to manage the security situation in the area.
Mr. Soludo said that a quick release of Nnamdi Kanouthe leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), would cushion the impasse of insecurity in the area.
Mr. Soludo said this during a one-day dialogue on peacebuilding and security, held on Saturday in Awka. The event was organized in response to deteriorating security issues in the region.
He endorsed the statement of a joint body of traditional leaders and clergy to declare Monday, April 4 as a Day of Prayer in all churches and places of prayer for forgiveness and reconciliation.
He said Mr. Kanu should be tried quickly, in accordance with the law, and sentenced or released instead of being held indefinitely.
The governor stressed that justice delayed is justice denied.
He said the state government would open rehabilitation centers for those who dropped their weapons and set up a truth and reconciliation panel to investigate and appease those who lost their lives and property during the violence. .
Mr. Soludo said he was ready for full engagement with all parties, including the aggrieved, in the quest for peace.
He called on all real agitators to give up and leave the forest while warning the criminal elements taking advantage of the situation to force the people to withdraw or face the full force of the law.
“We engage with the good, the bad and the ugly. We will not discriminate against anyone.
“We need more commitment than force to solve the problems, we need peace and security in our country to make progress, we cannot continue to cut our noses despite our face.
“All churches should announce Monday prayers,” saying “they will also signal the end of the months-long Monday sit-at-home order,” he said.
In their 8-point statement, the body of traditional leaders and clergy in the South East called on the federal government to release Mr. Kanu unconditionally to ease tensions in the region.
The statement, which was read by Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, condemned the Monday sit-at-home directive which began on August 9 last year, describing it as self-defeating and hostile to progress of the region.
The joint body regretted that even when the IPOB, under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu, had withdrawn the order since August 24, the killings, kidnappings and burning of property did not stop.
The communiqué was signed by Mr. Achebe; Archbishop Valerian Okeke of the Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha; Lawrence Agbuzu, Chairman, Council of Traditional Leaders of Enugu State; Chibuzo Okpoko for Bishop and Archbishop and Solo Chukwulobelu for Anambra Government.
Mr Achebe said they had offered meetings with the Presidency on the Southeast issue but had not received a response from the Federal Government.
He said the unrest was caused by a perceived injustice against the South East and that only constructive engagement would resolve the issues that were further harming the people.
The body has called on all the injured, wronged and victims of insecurity in the southeast over the past three years to embrace the Anambra government’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
According to the body, “We recognize that there is a nationwide agitation for the restructuring of inter-ethnic and intergovernmental relations in Nigeria, with a view to greater inclusion.
“We therefore share the genuine concern over the political and economic marginalization of the geopolitical area of southeastern Nigeria, a major element of the IPOB turmoil.
“We call for a constructive and continuous dialogue between all parties as a more durable solution to overcome the challenge and win the hearts and minds of the people.
“We add our voices to the call for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government in order to ease the current tensions in the Southeast.
“We call on all criminal elements posing as working under the instructions of the IPOB or the ESN to cease and desist from any further acts of violence and criminality or to confront the ‘theism’ force of law and order.
“We call on all those who have taken up arms, convinced that their demands can only be met through armed struggle, to lay down their arms.
“We declare Monday April 4, 2022 as a day of prayer for peace for Alaigbo (Igboland) and implore the residents of Anambra and all religious congregations to join in this important day of prayer in cathedrals, churches and prayer houses in the area by 11:00 a.m.,” he said.
The peace dialogue brought together representatives of the National Assembly, state houses of assembly, municipal union leaderships, traditional institutions, religious institutions, Security agencies, youth groups, women’s groups, Ohanaeze, among others.
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