Bishops decry killings in Igboland, seek amnesty for IPOB, others
CSOs reject call for emergency in Anambra
Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution (RIABPCR) have lamented the killings and destruction in Igboland, appealing to the Federal Government to grant amnesty to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other separatist groups in Nigeria.
In a statement released in Enugu at the weekend, the Christian leaders stressed that de-criminalisation and de-proscription of the groups would lead them to embrace democratic and non-violent means of negotiation and dialogue on the future of the country.
The church leaders said they would have loved to engage IPOB and other separatist groups to urge them to eschew violent activities, but not “as long as any of them is proscribed as a terrorist group.”
According to them, the engagement would win the “hearts of all and lead to a better rapport between the political leaders and the people in the future,” as a high-handed approach can only bring graveyard peace.
The statement entitled ‘Restore trust, confidence and calm in southeast Nigeria’ was signed by Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony Obinna; Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia, Chibuzo Opoko; Past Principal Clerk, Presbyterian Church Nigeria, Uma Onwuka; Archbishop of Enugu Province, Emmanuel Chukwuma; Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Valeria Okeke; Bishop Obi Onubuogu of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East zone, Dr. Abraham Nwali.
MEANWHILE, a group of civil society organisations and observers to the November 6, Anambra governorship election, numbering about 40, have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore the recent comment by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for state of emergency in Anambra State, due to political crisis.
In a statement at the weekend, Chris Azor, on behalf of the CSOs, expressed disgust by the comment. According to the CSOs, there should be no admittance to anything that would disrupt the poll.
He said: “We found it very disturbing and shocking, the statement credited to Malami (SAN) of contemplation to impose state of emergency on Anambra, due to the deteriorating security situation in the area. We are aware that the section that provides for state of emergency in the 1999 Constitution is 305, which empowers the President to issue the declaration by way of official gazette. However, two-third majority of the National Assembly members must ratify the executive proclamation within two days, if the legislators are in session, or 10 days if they are not.”
They reminded Malami that emergency is not being contemplated for states like Kaduna, Borno, Zamfara and others where insecurity assumed a more serious dimension.
“In Kaduna, for instance, people are being killed and maimed in large numbers daily, yet no such drastic measure has ever been contemplated by the Federal Government.
“Even if we admit the precarious state of insecurity in Anambra in recent times, it’s an obvious indictment on the Federal Government, as it has a fundamental constitutional mandate to ensure security and welfare of citizens.”
The CSOs implored the Buhari-led Federal Government to take up its responsibility by ensuring security before, during and after the governorship election in Anambra.