Apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on Sunday asked the Federal Government to free detained Biafra activist, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Igbo group said such action was necessary to end the increasing pro-Biafra protests and forestall a breakdown of law and order.
The meeting was equally attended by representatives of both the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB. However, all the five Governors in the zone as well as senators and other national assembly members stayed away.
In a communique signed by the President and the Secretary, Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey and Dr. Joe Nwaorgu, respectively, the group said: “Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex socio-cultural organization of Ndigbo in Nigeria and the Diaspora, is gravely concerned by current wide-spread and public Biafra agitations in States of the South-East and some other states of Nigeria.
“These agitations and public protests have become exacerbated by the detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the promoter/proprietor/director of Radio Biafra by Department of State Services.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo fears that these developments may threaten the security and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians wherever they may be domiciled, and consequently, decided to summon an emergency meeting of Imeobi, Ohanaeze Ndigbo to discuss the situation. This emergency meeting was held in Enugu at the National Secretariat of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Sunday, 29th November 2015. Representatives of the various organizations and associations involved in the current public protest also attended the meeting.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, after extensive candid discussions and analysis of the situation is the view that the current agitations are the direct result of the excruciating pain of severe injustice, marginalization and exclusion of Ndigbo from decision making structures in Nigeria as presently configured.”
They added that “The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo strongly avers that the exclusion of Ndigbo in decision making structure presents danger to the unity and well being of the country, not only now but also in future, and should be redressed urgently.
“Consequently, the Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo advises the federal government of NIgeria to arrest the current Biafra agitation from deteriorating, and hereby recommends that the continued detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who has since his incarceration become the focal point of the public protest, be treated more as a political than a security matter. The Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that the release of Mr. Kanu will diffuse the current public protests.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo strongly deprecates any attempt to drag the current grave situation and public expression of Ndigbo over their exclusion from the Nigerian nation into the realm of partisan politics and wants all those who may be so inclined that they shall bear the full consequences of their actions.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo notes that Ndigbo are nation-builders, who are found in all parts of Nigeria and cautions that all actions and activities which threaten the security and harmonious co-existence of all Nigerians wherever they may be domiciled is dangerous and must not be encouraged.
“In particular, the Imeobi believes that the current public protest, howbeit peaceful, is destructive of the market economy of the South-East zone and strongly recommends that they be discontinued immediately in favour of dialogue and constructive engagement in the resolution of underlying issues.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze Ndigbo, anxious that dialogue shall replace public protest, further recommends the immediate creation of an adhoc national platform that shall address immediate causes that have triggered the present public protest and revist and redress latent and long standing issues that have continued to threaten the evolution of Nigeria into a modern and united nation where all constituent parts have equal sense of belonging.
“The Imeobi Ohanaeze also calls on the Governors of the South-East, South-South to as a matter of urgency, create massive employment opportunities for the youths of the States to ameliorate the restive situation.
“The 2014 CONFAB document is veritable document for any discourse. Ndigbo stand on that document.
“Ndigbo shall continue to remain committed to the ideals of nation building and harmonious co-existence of all peoples of Nigeria, whilst resisting attempts to reduce Ndigbo to second class citizens in our God-given country: a country, which our fathers and our fore-fathers laboured and sacrificed, shoulder to shoulder with other Nigerians to bring into being”.