…call on Buhari to de-proscribe IPOB as terrorist org
…give reasons why there is upheaval in Nigeria
…call for immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu
…say IPOB not peculiar to Ndiigbo
raditional rulers of the South East States of Nigeria on the platform of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist organization.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports the traditional rulers, who made the call in a statement to Ndiigbo in particular and Nigerians in general on the current troubling situation in the country and especially in the South East, stated that this was part of ways to guarantee peace in the region.
The traditional rulers also called on President Buhari to act and ensure that the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is released from detention into the hands of the Igbo traditional and religious leaders, in order to deescalate tension in the region.
While listing other ways to guarantee peace in the South East, the traditional rulers stated that the upheavals around the country are a consequence of the deterioration in leadership at various levels of governance since the unfortunate incursion of the armed forces into the political governance of the country.
They also stated that the dire situation in the country today calls for statesmanship and open and sincere dialogue in the search for compromises, not growing militarization which may ultimately threaten the very existence of the country as has happened in other parts of the world.
Read statement by the South East Council of Traditional Rulers below:
We, the traditional rulers of the South East States on the platform of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, have watched with utter dismay and sadness the rapid deterioration of affairs in Alaigbo resulting in gruesome killings, destruction of properties, a general atmosphere of fear, and progressive militarization of our homeland. Across the five States of the political zone and other Igbo speaking areas, there is a distinct feeling of disaffection, frustration and distrust, all of which are alien to our nature and tradition as a people.
2. We affirm, the empirical facts and historical experience corroborate, that it is an age-long character of Ndiigbo to resolve internal conflicts and disagreements peacefully through consultation and constructive engagement, and not by violence and physical conflict. Consequently, our grief and deep concern have become more manifest and compounded due to the existential challengethat now befalls our homeland.
3. We note that the South East is the latest of the six political zones in the country to experience internal strife. In this regard, we are mindful of the long standing conflicts in the three political zones in the Northern part of the country spearheaded by the Boko Haram movement. We are also mindful of the attacks on innocent persons and communities in the South East and South West zones by armed bandits in the guise of cattle herdsmen. Though. presently calm, the South South zone had her share of turbulence and is presently under significant military presence.
4. We believe that these upheavals around the country are a consequence of the deterioration in leadership at various levels of governance since the unfortunate incursion of our armed forces into the political governance of the country. The 1999 Constitution, as amended, which was foisted on the nation by the last military regime worsened the situation by concentrating powers in the Federal Government to the detriment of the federating units. This has resulted in the appropriation of most of the institutions of governance by one sub-national group, and the progressive denial of fundamental rights of justice, equity, and fairness to the rest of the populace.
5. We acknowledge that there is anger in the country stemming from the long running failure of leadership and manifesting in the abuse of time-honoured values, youth unemployment, hunger, injustice, blatant display of wealth in the midst of abject poverty, impunity amongst persons in positions of authority and, concomitantly, the violence that now prevails in the country. This anger metamorphosed into the #EndSARS movement of last year, a peaceful protest by youths, which was unfortunately hijacked by miscreants.
6. Though no culprits have yet been apprehended by the law enforcement agencies, there is a distinct feeling that the recent upheaval in Anambra State appears to be not unconnected with the State Governorship election on 06 November, 2021. That notwithstanding and, in comparison with other States in the country with more sustained violence, but which held elections successfully, we are disappointed by the recent statement by the Attorney General of the Federation that the government may impose a state of emergency in Anambra State for the purpose of the election. We see the unfortunate statement as another manifestation of the discrimination against Ndiigbo.
7. The feeling of marginalization by Ndiigbo in the affairs of the country is very palpable in their belief that they have made due sacrifice with blood, sweat and tears towards the unity and development of the country. Despite the near total carnage visited on our people during the Nigerian Civil War, and the consequent confiscation of their assets outside their homeland, they bounced back with uncanny determination and courage such that Igbo investments are the most dispersed around the country today compared to other ethnic nationalities.
8. We urge that the strong feeling of unending betrayal, neglect, abandonment and hopelessness by our people should therefore be appreciated in the foregoing context. Such feelings are understandably strongest amongst the Igbo youths who have little to show with their good education. Their anger is not only directed against the Federal and State governments, but also against Igbo leaders and royal fathers who, they feel, may have compromised themselves or ineffectively advocated for the rights of Ndiigbo in Nigeria.
9. We believe that the youths have a point, if the truth must be told. Indeed, it is the vacuum in leadership in Alaigbo that has given vent to the emergence of youth-oriented protest organizations, such as, IPOB with its distinct popularity and followership. We also believe that this situation is not peculiar to Ndiigbo.
10. We believe in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which Nigeria subscribes to and enshrined in her Constitution, and which guarantee basic rights and freedoms to all individuals and groups, including the right to protest. We also believe that such protests and disagreements should be civil, non-violent, and within the provisions of the laws of the country. We further believe that one’s attempt to assert one’s rights and freedoms should not constrain, impede, or compromise the rights and freedoms of others.
11. We believe that the dire situation in the country today calls for statesmanship and open and sincere dialogue in the search for compromises, not growing militarization which may ultimately threaten the very existence of the country as has happened in other parts of the world. Indeed, this is not at time to apportion blames, but one for statesmanship, and mutual forgiveness and healing towards the evolution of a more loving nation.
12. In order to restore genuine peace and normalcy in the South East based on justice, equity, fairness, love, and mutual understanding and respect, we, as traditional fathers of Ndiigbo, call for the following:
A. All stakeholders in the entire cross section of Alaigbo to sheath their swords and let us rally together for mutual forgiveness and healing so as to re-set our strategic agenda for engaging meaningfully with our fellow citizens in the other parts of the country. Cutting our nose to spite our face does not help our present situation. It is senseless to destroy our homeland, or be an accessory to its destruction, in order to prove our marginalization.
B. His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, to show sagacity, pragmatism, statesmanship, and fatherliness by causing the IPOB to be de-proscribed as a terrorist organization, and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to be released from detention into the hands of the Igbo traditional and religious leaders. Mr. President should also de-escalate the military presence in the South East Zone as normalcy returns.
C. IPOB and its affiliate units, and other protest organizations in Alaigbo, to immediately stop all provocative rhetoric and actions that tend to promote violence, fear, or other unlawful actsby their affiliates, sympathizers, and miscreants in the name of such organizations.
D. As part of creating the enabling environment for reconciliation and peace building, the on-going sit at home on Mondays or any other days in the South East States to end forthwith and normal economic activities resumed without intimidation or molestation by any persons or groups.
E. The traditional and religious leaders, and statesmen of Alaigbo to urgently convoke a forum for serious dialogue and consultation involving all stakeholder groups in our homeland, including IPOB and other protest groups. Such search for genuine peace, mutual forgiveness and healing, and love should be without preconditions, and geared to restoring our collective strength and self-esteem and re-shaping our strategic position in Nigeria. Our counterparts in other Political Zones should consider a similar approach, leading to a platform for national healing and peace.
F. Our universities, research institutions, and business and industrial sectors, to urgently convoke a forum for serious dialogue and consultation on the immediate, short, medium and long-term strategic actions to reduce the grinding levels of poverty and youth unemployment, and re-assert the can-do spirit of Ndiigbo.
G. Mr. President and the Federal Government, and State Governments, to demonstrate faith in the nation’s healing process by listening more to the yearnings of the youths around the country. The effort to do so following the #EndSARS protest seems to have dissipated without any tangible outcome. In particular, the obvious feeling of progressive denials of basic human rights amongst Igbo youths as well as other youths in various parts of the country should be given urgent attention.
H. In view of the resounding demands from the majority of the citizens of the country, the National Assembly should commence without delay the legislative processes for a bill that will mandate all the Indigenous peoples of Nigeria to begin negotiations for the restructuring of the nation’s Constitution and the restoration of a truly federal governance framework in the manner of the Independence Constitution that our founding fathers painstakingly fashioned and bequeathed to the nation.
1. Mr. President, the INEC, and law enforcement agencies to ensure a free, fair and transparent election in Anambra State on 06 November, 2021. The political parties, their candidates and supporters must in turn commit not to engage in violence, election rigging and other unwholesome acts that are contrary to democratic process. The electorates on their part should strictly vote according to their conscience as well as hold the winner accountable to implement his election manifesto.
13. We note the recent statement by the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution and applaud their candour and exemplary leadership.
14. As a father would do for his child in difficulty, we will send a delegation to attend the court hearing in Abuja on 21 October, 2021 when Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will be arraigned.
15. We make this statement with every sense of responsibility and belief that our present challenges in Alaigbo and the country are not insurmountable if genuinely addressed with honesty, mutual respect and full recognition that lasting peace, progress and development would come only from dialogue, not through armed conflict and a general atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
H.M. Eze Joseph N. Nwabeke
Abia State Trad. Rulers Council
H.M. Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, CFR
Anambra State Trad. Rulers Council
H.M. Eze Dr. E. C. Okeke
Imo State Trad. Rulers Council
H.M. Igwe Amb. L. O. C. Agubuzu, OON
Enugu State Trad. Rulers Council.