FG Keys into Deputy Speaker’s Peace Project, Vows to End Insecurity in S’East

FG Keys into Deputy Speaker’s Peace Project, Vows to End Insecurity in S’East

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The federal government has expressed its firm commitment to put an end to the insecurity problems plaguing the Southeast geopolitical zone arising from separatist agitations.

This commitment was expressed at the weekend by both the executive and legislative arms of the federal government during the grand civic election, thanksgiving and homecoming of the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu in Bende, Abia State.

The occasion also featured the formal unveiling of the Peace in the Southeast Project(PISE-P) peace project was initiated by Hon. Kalu  in order to dissipate the cloud of insecurity hanging in the Southeast.

At the event, federal authorities, Southeast political leaders, leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, as well as traditional institutions and religious leaders were all united in the quest for lasting peace in the zone.

While the Presidency pledged that it would deploy every resources, kinetic and non-kinetic, to restore peace in the Southeast, the National Assembly leadership assured that every needed legislative backup would be provided.

Vice President of Nigeria, Kashim Shettima, who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, said that Mr. President was “concerned about the extensive economic devastation inflicted by non-state actors on this beautiful region since we took office”.

In his speech entitled “Why We Are All Umunna,” (which translates to why we are all brothers), apparently to underscore the deep feelings of Mr. President about the reign of insecurity in Nigeria’s retinal zone.

“The problem we are here to solve as a community, as an Umunna, is a creation of self-serving criminals who do not represent the interests of Ndigbo and Nigerians,” he said.

According to him, Mr. President understands the situation “better than all of us” hence in the spirit of democracy “he has never held any group accountable for the infractions of law-breaking individuals who identify as their members”.

The VP assured Ndigbo that Tinubu “is determined to utilize all available resources to ensure that the peace we’re establishing in this region is not cosmetic”.

But he was quick to point out that the federal government “can’t guarantee” the much needed peace “unless all of us see through the falsehoods and propaganda that have become weapons against our unity.”

Taking a jab at the separatist agitation, which is largely blamed for the insecurity in the Southeast, Shettima insisted the agitators were on self-serving mission with the backing of “forces exploiting the situation for dangerous political agenda”.

“Today, we stand united to firmly declare: enough is enough,” VP Shettima announced to the leaders and people of Southeast.

He stated that the presence of the FG at the event was an assurance of its resolve to ensure the return of peace and normal life in the Southeast, adding that Mr. President would not renege on his promise.

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Barau Jibrin in his remarks noted the urgency of addressing the insecurity problem in the Southeast in order to restore the economic vibrancy of the zone.

He advised all stakeholders to put aside their political differences and work for the peace, economic growth and overall development of Southeast and Nigeria in general.

In a highly emotive speech, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Tajudeen Abbas said that he was saddened that insecurity has “significantly paralysed socio-economic endeavours in a region whose people are renowned for their resourcefulness and economic enterprise”.

He said that he came to Bende as a friend of Ndigbo and to identify with “my brother” Kalu in his efforts to free the Southeast from the devastating effects of insecurity, “which has cast a dark shadow over the region”.

The Speaker delved into “the rich history” of Southeast to recall the economic, industrial, entrepreneurial prowess of Ndigbo and their creativity, saying that the South-east (which) “has remained an economic powerhouse in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa” should be saved from insecurity.

He stressed the need to understand “the root causes” of the security challenges in the Southeast zone in order to “address these issues effectively.”

He said: “These underlying causes include the sense of marginalisation and the feeling by many people in the South East that their voices are not heard and their concerns are not adequately addressed in the national discourse.

“Secondly, the general economic challenges and the attendant lack of sufficient economic opportunities fuel frustration and make the youth more susceptible to radical ideologies. This is true for most parts of Nigeria, not just the South East.

“Additionally, we cannot ignore either should we be ashamed to acknowledge the historical context, including memories of past conflicts and perceived injustices that continue to influence the current sentiments in the region”.

The Imo State governor and Chairman of the South East Governors Forum, Hope Uzodinma, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, and the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, pledged their support for peace in the zone.

The Abia State governor, Alex Otti read the Peace Declaration of the Southeast to further accentuate the collective desire of the zone to restore sustainable peace and development.

The Obi of Onitsha, HRH, Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, who chaired the event vowed that the whole gamut of events at Bende indicates that “peace starts today” in the Southeast, adding the state governors would drive the initiative.

In appreciation, the Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers through its chairman, HRH Eze Linus Nto Mba conferred chieftaincy titles on the national leaders for their peace efforts.

President Tinubu was given the title of Omezirigbo, VP Shettima is Enyioma Ndigbo, while Senate President Godswill Akpabio got Dikedinanmba while House Speaker Abbas was conferred with Onunekwuruoha.

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