Urge group to operate within ambit of law
• We’ll remain non-violent, pledges IPOB leader
From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia and Fred Itua, Abuja
South East senators, operating on the platform of South East Senate Caucus in the National Assembly, yesterday, engaged the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and his members.
The caucus chairman, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, represented the group, while Kanu attended the meeting on behalf of IPOB.
Kanu, who arrived Abaribe’s country home around 4pm in a Toyota Venza, was ushered into one of the sitting rooms by the aides of his host at the right hand side of the building.
After pleasantries with Abaribe and others, the senator and Kanu went in for a meeting, which lasted for about one hour.
Speaking after the meeting, Abaribe, expressed gratitude over Kanu’s visit, stating that their discussion was fruitful.
“You see, the South East caucus of the National Assembly decided that it was also necessary to have discussions and interactions with IPOB,” he said.
Abaribe, who recalled that the caucus was instrumental to Kanu’s bail, said:“We know that there is a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings, and so much tensions in the land and we want to reduce the tensions, and to do that, we had to discuss, to know where everybody is coming from.
“He (Kanu) has assured us that IPOB is non-violent, and will continue to remain non-violent and will not, in anyway, do anything that will lead to bloodshed and we have also told him our own position, which is that we cannot continue this nation the way it is.”
The senator said there must be restructuring, devolution of power and discussion by component parts of this country .
According to him, “this is to make sure that each and every one will have a better union. As Obama said, a far more promising union for each and everyone of us, not a union you will have some people having a feeling that there are first class, and second class citizens.
We have had a very fruitful discussion and I am very grateful to him for giving us the re-assurance and the assurances we have.
And we are calling on Nigerians to work for the unity of this country and peace of this country and there is not any single one of us that want us to devolve into any conflict.
“We don’t want our land to be used as a conflict base and we also want to continue this discussion.”
Abaribe said the caucus would meet after the National Assembly recess and continue to engage all persons, groups and associations to ensure that everyone was assured of equality and justice.
“We want to ensure that nobody is treated differently and we want to also see Nigeria, not as an oppressive state but a state where we can fully exercise our rights as true citizens of this country,” he said.
Kanu, on his part, said: “The security outfit we are setting up is like any other vigilante outfit every where; it is not armed. We want to stop the menace of Fulani herdsmen in our land; we don’t want it and we won’t have it.
“In the North, you have the Hisber police, the Sharia police, even the Janjawee police, but here we have nothing.
“We need to protect this very land from people and Fulani herdsmen from rustling; we are opposed to any form of disorder and criminality.