JOINT STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH EAST COUNCIL OF TRADITIONAL RULERS AND THE REPRESENTATIVES OF IGBO ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS
Gentlemen of the Press,
1. We, the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, note with deep concern the high level of insecurity and socio-economic disruption in the South East Zone of Nigeria. This has deepened the hardships being faced by the citizens and rendered prostrate the socio-political and economic lives of our people.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. We also urge President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and the 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.
5. We call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarize the South East Zone, moreso 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-emphasize the military option and move towards finding a political solution that will lead to sustainable peace.
6. 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.
7. On our part, we assure our youths that we have heard their cries of marginalization, injustice and longsuffering. 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.
8. Consistent with the above, we urge IPOB not to do anything that would hinder or be seen to be hindering the smooth running of the forthcoming Governorship Election in Anambra State and to cancel all scheduled sit-at-home orders, as these have already caused untold hardship for our people.
9. Finally, we call on all the candidates in the forthcoming Anambra State Governorship Election to eschew violence and commit to free, fair and credible election.
H.M. Igwe Charles Mkpuma
Ebonyi State Trad. Rulers Council &
South East Council of Traditional Rulers.
H.M. Eze Joseph N. Nwabeke
Abia State Trad. Rulers Council
H.M. Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, CFR
Anambra State Trad. Rulers Council
H.M. Igwe Amb L. O. C. Agubuzu, OON
Enugu State Trad. Rulers Council
H.M. Eze Dr. E. C. Okeke
Imo State Trad. Rulers Council
Most Rev. Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna
Catholic Archbishop of Owerri
Most Rev. Dr Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, OON
Anglican Archbishop of Enugu
Most Rev. Dr. Chibuzo R. Opoko, TFG, DOB, JP
Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia
Most Rev. Dr. Valerian M. Okeke
Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha
Most Rev. Dr Uma A. Onwunta
Past Principal Clerk Presbyterian Church Nigeria
Bishop Obi Onubogu
Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria
Rev. Dr. Abraham Nwali
Chairman, CAN, South East Zone