New Telegraph

Agitation for self-determination: IWA cautions FG against use of force

Nnamdi Kanu )

Nnamdi Kanu )

…calls for release of Kanu other political prisoners unconditionally

Chidi Abiandu

The Igbo World Assembly, the umbrella organisation of Ndiigbo in the Diaspora after an emergency meeting by its country  leaders held yesterday, has cautioned the Federal Government against the use of force to stop the Nigerian indigenous ethnic groups from agitation for self-determination.

The group, during the meeting  having reviewed the abduction of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in a foreign land and his detention in Nigeria, also called for release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other political prisoners unconditionally, allowing Nigerians to decide their fate while the government focuses on addressing massive insecurity, unemployment, hunger, poverty and other challenges.

Accordingly, the group, in a communique signed its Chairman, Dr. Nwachukwu Anakwenze, noted that Nigeria can only be saved in one form or the other, devoid of the current structure and 1999 constitution; through a negotiation that allows Nigerians to express their will and discuss their peaceful co-existence based on equity, respect and fairness and discuss their peaceful co-existence based on equity, respect and fairness.

The group in the communique after considering carefully the high rate of insecurity in Nigeria, massive agitation from all parts of Nigeria; ongoing killing, rapping and destruction of farms and properties by Fulani Cattle Herdsmen/Miyetti Allah, among other issues  noted that there was need for dialogue and negotiation, adding that: “We need a serious dialogue among all the ethnic nationalities for Nigeria to continue its existence.”

Anakwenze, in the communique, stated that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu must be released immediately and unconditionally as his further detention is unacceptable.

“The current situation whereby Southern Nigerians agitating for a free homeland are killed, arrested and detained, while cattle herdsmen/Miyetti Allah that kill our people and rape our women are protected can no longer be tolerated. That the abduction of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu cannot silence or end the agitation as the root cause for agitation remains unattended i.e., allowing the Nigerian people to decide their fate or live-in freedom.”

IWA while affirming their  commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful co-existence between and amongst its people through a national dialogue  in the communique further noted that: “The very existence of the IPOB, Sunday Igboho’s group and many other such group is a response to the present Nigerian administration treatment of Nigerian indigenous ethnic groups. The Federal Government can use brutal force to arrest individuals but cannot arrest the people’s agitation, and the will of the people cannot be arrested and suppressed by force, however, negotiation could bring lasting solution.

“It is not a crime for anyone or group to express intention to leave any country peacefully and be on their own homeland without intending to occupy others. The  Federal Government of Nigeria should negotiate with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other Southern Nigerian and Middle Belt Nigerian stakeholders on how to allow Nigerians to decide what type of country they want to be in.”

The Diaspora group cautioned that failing to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other political prisoners regardless of their ethnicity was nothing but declaring war on the Nigerian indigenous ethnic groups especially those in the Southern and Middle belt of Nigeria.

While calling on the  Federal Government of Nigeria, state governments, Nigeria’s indigenous ethnic groups, international community and Nigerians at home and abroad to courageously do everything possible to bring all stakeholders to the negotiation table, the group believed that Nigeria needs to undertake and promote high-level ethno-political consultations, negotiations, dialogues, peace talks and other consensus-building strategic meetings, designed to serve, as result-oriented channels for nurturing Nigeria’s unity, peace, political stability and ethno-regional integration

The group  advised the Federal Government that failure to embrace restructuring with a new federal constitution tied to true federalism is leading various sections of Nigeria to go their separate ways or seek self-determination.

The AK47 carrying Cattle Herdsmen, according to IWA should be declared terrorists, adding that the federal government must as a matter of urgency, demonstrate leadership and thread the path to restore security, normalcy, and freedom of expression in Nigeria.

While applauding and agreeing  with the Communique issued by the Southern governors after their Lagos meeting on July 5, 2021, the group added that: “The Nigerian government has not been able to establish a proof of IPOB killing of innocent citizens compared to number of people killed by Fulani Cattle Herdsmen/Miyetti Allah and why is IPOB deemed a terrorist group and Cattle Herdsmen/Miyetti Allah not so considered.”
*Abiandu writes from Brussels, Belgium

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