From: Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri No fewer than 18 people, including four suicide bombers, were killed in multiple explosions near Maiduguri, Borno capital, on Wednesday. Four bombers infiltrated a remote community, Muna Gari, on the outskirts of Maiduguri, on Wednesday, as some Muslim faithful were observing their sunset prayers . The bombers detonated explosives strapped on…
BY LOUIS IBAH
Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema has cautioned the Federal Government against arresting the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu saying the secessionist advocate was open to peaceful negotiations with the Federal Government.
Onyema, spoke in Lagos on Friday at a speech to declare open a five-day training programme organised by the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN) to push for harmonious co-existence between Igbos, Yorubas and Hausa/Falani ethnic groups.
In attendance at the FEHN programme were members of IPOD, Fulani herdmens, Arewa Youths, and Odua People’s Congress (OPC). Onyema said years back, he had used the FEHN in partnership with peace and conflict resolution experts from the United States of America to train hundreds of Niger Delta militants on non-violence approach to resolving their grievances with the government and oil companies. At the event on Friday, Onyema said he had received the permission of the Federal Government to wade into the IPOD and Arewa youths crisis and was optimistic of the peaceful co-existence among nigerian ethnic groups in the nearest future. He however said it would becounter productive to arrest the IPOD leader as in a recent meeting held with Mr. Kanu, he had given him the assurance that he could come to the negotiation table with the government with a view to resolving the various grievances held by IPOD against the Nigerian state. “Kanu is not against anybody. I had a meeting with him with some members of my team and he has agreed to be engaged intellectually, so let us not arrest him because it would certainly do us no good,” said Onyema. He said Nigeria would know no peace until all the ethno-linguistic groups learnt to understand and tolerate each other.
“This country will never know peace until we fight for each other. Until we fight for each other nationhood will elude us”, Onyema said. Onyema said he was investing N350million to facilitate the FEHN training of the about 45 members of Oodua People Congress (OPC), Arewa Youths and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on ethnic harmony and how to entrench peace and unity in Nigeria.
According to Onyema, after the conclusion of the five-day training in Nigeria by the US based specialists in conflict resolution, the participants would be taken to the US for further training at FEHN’s expense. He said that the objective of the training is to make the beneficiaries to eschew all those things that create division among ethnic nationalities and to see and help to build Nigeria as one, united entity and also help to galvanise their members to unite and campaign for one united Nigeria.
“I am not doing this for political reasons, but it is just my contribution to humanity. We are here to engender a new Pan African movement that will bring about nationalism. I had to take special permission from the Federal Government to hold this programme so that no one will come here and arrest anybody. You can see that Nnamdi Kanu’s bother is here. We should join hands together and change the old order,” he added.