S’East Lawmakers Urge IPOB to Halt Activities, Say Group Not Terrorists

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Damilola Oyedele and James Emejo in Abuja

Lawmakers of the South-east Caucus of the National Assembly wednesday asked members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to suspend all its activities as the former tries to court the parliament towards finding lasting solutions to the group’s concerns.

While also condemning all acts of terrorism across the country, it rejected the labelling of IPOB as a terrorist organisation without cause or following due process.

The lawmakers in a communiqué issued after its meeting and jointly signed by the Chairman, Senate South-east Caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and Chairman, House of Representatives South-east Caucus, Mr. Chukwuka Onyema, urged the leadership to address the issues which had prompted the agitation of the South-east.

It further condemned “the use of hate speeches and remarks by anybody, as the dignity of human persons must be respected at all times, even while dissenting on any issue.”

The communique read: “We call on the IPOB to suspend all its activities as we engage our colleagues in the National Assembly and work with them in addressing all issues of concern to IPOB in particular and the entire people of South-East in general.

“That we appreciate the efforts of the South-east governors and the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the handling of the agitations in the South-east with regards to the confrontations of the military with IPOB, especially in Abia State.”

The lawmakers said: “We condemn all acts of terrorism. In the case of IPOB, we reject the branding of any organisation in Nigeria as terrorist without cause or following due process where such cause do exist. We take this position because of the implication of such branding to innocent citizens from the area who may be affected by the consequences. This branding, we believe, will foreclose any possible dialogue that will bring about a peaceful end to the activities of such group.”

Continuing, it added: “We call on the leadership of Nigeria to look into the problems that feed the never-ending agitation by the youths of the South-east and other geopolitical zones in this country.

“We condemn the use of hate speeches and remarks by anybody, as the dignity of human persons must be respected at all times, even while dissenting on any issue.
“We affirm our support for unity of Nigeria anchored on justice, equality and fair treatment to all parts of the country.”