Traditional and religious leaders in South East have called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group.
The leaders, under the auspices of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, said the release of Kanu would de-escalate the rising tension in the zone.
They made the call in a joint statement signed by the chairmen of the traditional rulers’ council in all the southeastern states and Christian leaders.
The leaders also urged the federal government to take immediate steps to de-proscribe the IPOB and release all IPOB members being held in various detention facilities.
They said it has become imperative and compelling to de-emphasize the military option and move towards finding a political solution that would lead to sustainable peace in South East.
They also called on IPOB to cancel all scheduled sit-at-home orders and shun any action that would disrupt the November 6 Governorship Election in Anambra State.
“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.
“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 call on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to demilitarize 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,” the statement said.
They also urged the youth to de-escalate the tension and remain law-abiding to enable their leaders to engage the federal government in finding a lasting solution to the crises.
The statement was signed by Igwe Charles Mkpuma (Ebonyi); Eze Joseph N. Nwabeke (Abia); Obi Nnaemeka Achebe (Anambra); Igwe Amb L. O. C. Agubuzu (Enugu) and Eze Dr. E. C. Okeke (Imo).
Others are Dr Anthony J. V. Obinna (Catholic Archbishop of Owerri); Dr Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, (Anglican Archbishop of Enugu); Dr Chibuzo R. Opoko (Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia); Dr Valerian M. Okeke (Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha); Dr Uma A. Onwunta (Past Principal Clerk Presbyterian Church Nigeria); Bishop Obi Onubogu (Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria) and Dr Abraham Nwali (Chairman, CAN, South East Zone)