Igbo traditional rulers have called for a de-escalation of the conflict in the South-East between federal government forces and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), proposing terms of settlement for both sides for peace to reign.
Denouncing the incessant gruesome killings and destruction of property in the zone, the South-East Council of Traditional Rulers have asked President Buhari to de-proscribe IPOB and release the group’s leader Nnamdi Kanu from detention.
The proposition is contained in a statement co-signed by Eze Joseph Nwabeke, (Abia); Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, (Anambra); Igwe L.O. Agubuzu, (Enugu) and Eze E.C. Okeke (Imo), and made available to journalists on Tuesday in Owerri, Imo state.
“We believe that the dire situation in the country today calls for statesmanship, open and sincere dialogue in the search for compromises, not growing militarisation which may ultimately threaten the very existence of the country,” the statement reads.
The council called on all disaffected individuals and groups in the zone to sheath their swords and rally for mutual forgiveness and healing to end the internal strife.
“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 marginalisation,” the traditional rulers said.
They said the appeal became necessary to restore peace and normalcy, and end the “general atmosphere of fear and progressive militarisation in the geo-political zone.”
They urged IPOB and its affiliate units to immediately stop all provocative rhetoric and actions that promote violence, fear and lawlessness.
“As part of creating the enabling environment for reconciliation and peace building, the ongoing sit-at-home on Mondays or any other day in the South-East should end forthwith,” the council pleaded.