South East monarchs, clerics, others pray to end sit-at-home order
The South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Bishops/Archbishops and Anambra State Government, weekend, met in Awka over insecurity in Igboland, announcing a prayer session for Monday to mark end of the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Governor Chukwuma Soludo, last week, directed residents to go about their normal activities every Monday.
Spokesman for the joint body and Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, said the move followed the pronouncement by IPOB that the sit-at-home directive had ended on April 1.
His words: “We have taken cognisance of the August 24, 2021 announcement by members of IPOB of the suspension of the sit-at-home, and subsequent announcements no doubt arising from the continued enforcement through killings, abductions, beating and burning of properties of innocent citizens.
“We also note the recent press release by IPOB spokespersons of April 1, 2022 stating inter alia, ‘We wish to reiterate once again that IPOB has cancelled Monday’s sit-at-home order and anybody or group enforcing the relaxed order is neither from IPOB nor from IPOB volunteer group.”
According to the communiqué read by Achebe, “we declare Monday, April 4, 2022, as a Day of Prayer For Peace for Alaigbo. We implore Ndi Anambra and all religious congregations to join in this important day of prayer. It will take place within the premises of the cathedrals, churches and prayer houses across Alaigbo by 11:00a.m., and we enjoin the faithful wherever you may be across Nigeria, or abroad, to pause and join in fellowship as we seek the face of Father.
“It is the expectation of the joint body that the conclusion of the prayer session shall mark the end of sit-at-home in Anambra State in particular, and the South East region, in general.”
The monarch continued: “We join our voices to the call for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government to douse the current tensions across the South East and create an atmosphere for collaboration towards a constructive resolution of the issues.”
He cautioned criminal elements masquerading as IPOB or Eastern Security Network (ESN) agents to cease further acts of violence or face the full wrath of the law.
Earlier, Governor Soludo had called on those who might have taken up arms in the belief that their grievances could only be achieved through violence to disarm.
He implored the injured, aggrieved and victims of insecurity and, by extension, Alaigbo, over the past three years to cooperate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that would be inaugurated by the state government within the week.
The governor said the panel would probe the remote and immediate causes of the agitations, document and examine the circumstances surrounding the killings in the geopolitical zone and make recommendations for sustainable peace.
The communiqué was signed by Achebe, Archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Onitsha and Metropolitan of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Valerian Okeke, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu.
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