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Demilitarise South East now for dialogue, Igbo elders tell FG

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
03 November 2021   |   4:11 am
Igbo Elders Consultative Forum (IECF) has urged the Federal Government to immediately demilitarise the South East and embrace dialogue to resolve any security threat to Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State.

Nigerian Troops PHOTO:Twitter

Demand release of 5,000 suspected IPOB militants, warn against poll boycott
Igbo Elders Consultative Forum (IECF) has urged the Federal Government to immediately demilitarise the South East and embrace dialogue to resolve any security threat to Saturday’s governorship election in Anambra State.

The notable Nigerians from the South East also demanded the immediate release of over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies on the suspicion of being members of Eastern Security network (ESN), the security arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Addressing reporters in Abuja, yesterday, the forum’s chairman and former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, argued that embracing dialogue would facilitate the peace process and restoration of normalcy in the region.

Ezeife also warned the people against boycotting the Anambra poll, as doing so would be counter-productive and might give victory to an unpopular candidate.

According to him, movement, from one city to another in Igboland has become a nightmare, with several police and military checkpoints littered all over the place.

His words: “We call upon the Federal Government to demilitarise the South East, as well as take other necessary administrative and non-kinetic measures to restore peace in the zone, thus paving way for a smooth conduct of the Anambra election.

“Similarly, the Federal Government should immediately release over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies, and dumped in different detention camps in various parts of the country under dehumanising conditions in the name of unknown gunmen, IPOB, ESN, among others, to facilitate peace process and restoration of normalcy in the South East. A political solution through the instrumentality of dialogue with all relevant stakeholders is key to the present security imbroglio in the South East.”

On the planned poll boycott through a sit-at-home order, Ezeife said: “The consequences of not voting will be unimaginable because people, who do not wish us well, would use that opportunity to impose any unpatriotic element on us as a governor. All hands must be on deck to ensure that the Anambra election is not only free, fair and credible, but also seen by all as meeting all necessary standards.”

The elders equally called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put necessary machineries in place to ensure a smooth conduct of the Anambra ballot.