Home News Monarchs, Bishops Blame Presidency, Governors For South-East Insecurity

Monarchs, Bishops Blame Presidency, Governors For South-East Insecurity

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Traditional rulers and religious lead­ers in the South-Eastern part of the country on Monday laid the blame of worsening insecurity in the region on the doorsteps of the presidency and governors of the five states that make up the zone.

They also accused the presidency and the governors of refusing to have a dialogue with them on how to find a lasting solution to the challenges and ensuring a peaceful atmosphere in the region.

The leaders in a joint statement under the aegis of South-East Coun­cil of Traditional Rulers and Repre­sentatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops said the steps they took led to the successful conduct of the Anam­bra governorship election held in November 6, 2021.

They also urged President Mu­hammadu Buhari and the governors to grant audience as requested so that all hands can be on deck towards re­storing peace and security in the region while improving the welfare of its citizenry.

The statement was signed by HRM Igwe Charles Mkpu­ma, Chairman, Ebonyi State Traditional Rulers Council & Chairman, South-East Council of Traditional Rul­ers; Most Rev. Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Owerri; HRM Eze Joseph N. Nwabeke, Chairman, Abia State Tra­ditional Rulers Council, and Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel O. Chukwuma, Anglican Arch­bishop of Enugu.

Other signatories are Most Rev. Dr. Chibuzo R. Opoko, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia; HRM Obi Nnae­meka Achebe, Chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council; Most Rev. Dr. Valerian M. Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha; HRM Igwe Amb L. O. C. Agubuzu, Chairman, Enugu State Tra­ditional Rulers Council; Most Rev. Dr. Uma A. Onwunta, Past Principal Clerk, Presby­terian Church Nigeria; HRM Eze Dr. E. C. Okeke, Chair­man, Imo State Traditional Rulers Council, and Bishop Obi Onubogu of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.

While lamenting the dan­gerous turn insecurity has taken in the South-East since late last year in which many traditional rulers had been killed, they said they are still “in pursuit of initiatives aimed at restoring the peace, securi­ty and robust enterprise for which the South East is known.

“Confronted with the es­calation of insecurity in the South-East, and concerned that the responses of those in authority were failing to stem the tide of violence, especially in the run-up to the guberna­torial elections in Anambra State, the Joint Body of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bish­ops issued a public appeal on Sunday, 30th October 2021, for de-escalation and suspension of the IPOB sit-at-home order.

“We undertook extensive behind-the-scenes consulta­tions with all relevant stake­holders. This appeal was pred­icated on separate statements made by representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bish­ops, and by the South East Council of Traditional Rul­ers, on 7th and 18th October 2021, respectively.

“The response to the ap­peal by political actors in com­mitting to a peaceful election, as well as by IPOB in cancel­ling its seven-day sit-at-home order, paved the way for the peaceful governorship elec­tion in Anambra State. The joint body wishes to thank all stakeholders for the respect accorded to it in this regard.

“In a bid to sustain the mo­mentum gained, on November 3, 2021, the joint body wrote a letter to President Muham­madu Buhari requesting an audience. The purpose of the request was to dialogue and ex­plore avenues for peace-build­ing, douse the tension in the South-East to ensure it does not result in a grave socio-eco­nomic burden on our people.

“The joint body fears that further delay or inaction on this request may have the unintended consequence of giving credence, albeit erro­neously, to the belief by some groups in the region that re­storing peace and stability is not the primary goal of the Federal Government.

“In the same vein, genu­ine efforts made through the Chairman, South-East Gover­nors’ Forum to dialogue with South-East governors have so far also met a brick wall.

“Taken together, the shut­tered silence gives room for suspicion and presents om­inous portends if left unat­tended to. The joint body is not unmindful of the widely reported visit of a group led by the elder statesman, Pa Mbazulike Amechi.

“However, the absence of any discernible genuine effort at peacebuilding as well as the silence of the presidency on our request for constructive engagement would further seem to give credence to the suspicion in some quarters of a clear lack of strong com­mitment to peacebuilding and resolution of security challenges in the South-East.

“It has been three months since the letter was written and delivered to the office of the president. The presidency has neither acknowledged receipt nor responded to the letter.

“It is puzzling that the pres­ident and the South-East gov­ernors appear to be ignoring the demonstrated value of dia­logue and consensus-building in finding a lasting solution to the region’s security issues. As leaders who are continuously required by our burden of ser­vice to interface with the popu­lace, the joint body is desirous of confirming the sincerity and commitment of the Feder­al Government, in particular, to find a lasting solution to the security crisis.”

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