From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has explained why the Federal Government should release leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, immediately.

Chairman of the Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, in a communique after a meeting with the elders, yesterday noted that Kanu’s release will facilitate a peace summit that would lead to an ensuring tranquility in the region.

Iwuanyanwu noted that the lingering impasse in the region was getting out of hand which ought not to be so, stating that Kanu cannot be in prison while such a crucial summit is being held.

“The Council took a decision on the need to have a Peace summit. It goes with the desire that Nnamdi Kanu should be released because we want to dialogue with his participation in order to have an enduring peace in Nigeria particularly in the South East.

“The Council therefore called on the Federal Government and all other persons concerned to release Nnamdi Kalu unconditionally. He cannot be in the Prison while such crucial summit is being held.

“The security situation in the country calls for concern. The council was worried particularly how the situation has worsened in the South East.

“Lives are lost and innocent blood shed, properties are being destroyed, government institutions are being destroyed, these are of great concern to us.

“Moreover both state and federal governments are deploying huge financial resources in fighting a meaningless war instead of providing infrastructure, education and healthcare.

“Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide has therefore insisted that enough is enough.

“We must have a peace summit where we will get all the stakeholders including the agitators and youths together to chart a new course that can enthrone enduring peace,” he said.

He discarded the insinuation that the South East would secede from Nigeria, worrying that people still use threat of secession against the interest of the zone.

“On the Secession of Ndigbo, Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide maintains that Ndigbo are not and will not secede from Nigeria.

“We have noticed with dismay that people still use the threat of Secession against the interest of the zone.

“The Igbos have invested in virtually every localities in Nigeria in areas of business, services, and building properties.

“So the talk of Secession is peddled without honesty, however Ndigbo is only interested in fairness and equity.

“When a government or group deny us opportunities which are ours, including political and employment opportunities, we cannot be happy.

“A development where most young Igbo people cannot aspire to the highest office in the land, will not be tolerated.

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“Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide are therefore asking our colleagues in other tribes to be very careful in some of the decisions they make particularly as it concerns the affairs of this nation,” he said.

He, also officially announced the demise of Professor George Obiozor, the President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide, who died last year.

“We formally announce according to the tradition and custom of Ndigbo the passage of our great leader, Professor George Obiozor, the President General of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide who recently joined the ancestors.

“Today marks the beginning of the formal mourning by the Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“This council will set up a strong delegation including top government officials who are members, captains of industries, our members who are in the academia, religious and traditional institutions amongst others to represent us in the burial.

“The Council also deliberated on the death and funeral of Our great Leader Chief Mbazulike Amechi (Dara Akunwafor) acknowledging the role he (Dara) played in ensuring that peace returns to the nation and Igboland in particular.”

He decried the high rate of unemployment in the region, adding that even graduates wallow in idleness.

He said: “The Council of Elders expressed their concern, that most of our people are unemployed including graduates and we believe that any policy by the government on employment without first ensuring security of the nation will amount to nothing.

“Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide, as part of curbing unemployment has agreed to tackle the problem in the moribond Niger Cement Company which has the capacity to address to a large extent, the unemployment in the South East.

“An Okwesilieze Nwodo led committee has been set up to mediate between the Landlord which is the Ebonyi State government and the investors to ensure a possible reactivation of the factory in 2023.

“We have also decided to revisit Coal-Mining activities in the zone. We are encouraging our business leaders to exploit the possibility of reactivating the Coal Mining. This will create jobs and also increase the nation’s GDP.

“On the area of Culture, Council of Elders of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Worldwide has also agreed to approach the state governments to reactivate cultural and school competitions within the states with inter-state finals holding at Enugu.

“We are also in touch with a lot African-Americans in United States who want to reconnect with their roots.

“We also agreed to discuss with our governors to provide a village for their resettlement because they are prepared to come over to develop the Igboland,” he added.

Those in attendance include Okwesilieze Nwodo, Achike Udenwa, Prof. Tim Menakaya, Senator Ben Obi, Hrh Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, Ambassador Kema Chikwe, Amb.

Others are Eddy Onuoha, Sen Julius Ucha, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Prof. Theo Ndubuaku, Prof. Charles Nwekeaku, Retired Air Vice Marshal Obierika, Chief Sam Obaji, Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu amongst others.