Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has given a ray of hope on the release of Nnamdi Kanu,Leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) from detention.
Recall that the Supreme Court recently ordered the retrial of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) who has been in detention for a long while now.
Consequently, his incarceration has generated a lot of agitatons including the Sit-at-Home observed on Mondays in the south east region.
But speaking virtually on the “South East political Roundtable”, a current affairs radio programme on FLO FM in Umuahia on Tuesday, Kalu said that talks were ongoing to free Kanu.
He however advised the youth of the south east to ensure that the observance of sit-at-home must stop, emphasizing that it was scarying many investors who want to contribute to the development of the region.
Kalu who also spoke on the gains of the recently unveiled Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State asked those carrying arms to lay down their weapons and join in the non kinetic approach being canvassed by the initiative to end the security challenges and other agitations of the people.
Kalu called for support to enable the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to deliver optimally, saying that the President is interested in the development of the south east.
He said: “We can’t put all our programs and plans on social media. He’s my brother. Is he in the mix of what we are trying to do? Yes! It’s one of our agendas to ensure he’s released. Who wants their brother to be in jail?
“We are working underground. There’s a detailed strategy. It’s not by violence, you can’t coerce the government through violence. It has never worked and won’t work. Let’s be wiser. The wisdom is in peace. Let’s quench the violence.
“If it’s chaotic, it won’t work. Let’s cool down. Let the man see that you’ve recognised he didn’t contribute to locking him up and that he has not done anything to the south east. We should support him and his government and not attack him. I’m standing firmly against the voice of violence, preaching peace. That is what I’m here for, this voice of peace will echo through the Villa and he will come out. Mr President was happy with what happened in Bende. That the whole country can gather together and support this project.
“Our strength does not lie in how many guns we carry, on how many people we threaten not to come out on Monday, that is not the display of the strength of an Igbo man. Igbo men are not lazy people who like sitting at home from Saturday to Sunday to Monday and go to work only Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, that is not us; we are hard working, we are rebuilders, we are never down and when we are down, we find a way to stand on our feet and raise our shoulders and rebuild again, that is my call to our people.
“We can bring you in to the rebuilding that we are doing. We can bring you in to the reconciliation. We can bring you in for rehabilitation and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is interested in the Igbos. Look at what he has done by giving us the Chief of Naval Staff which we never got in the last eight years. Did I just mentioned the Naval Chief, what about the minister of works, Senator Dave Umahi, my good friend?
“Mr President gave the minister of works to an Igbo son that proves himself in Ebonyi and he said, come and build what you did in Ebonyi in the entire Nigeria starting from the five states of the South East and the only way we pay the president back is to say there will be no work on Monday?
“Look at what happened for the very first time, 15 billionaires of Igbo extraction gathered in Bende. That is to tell you that they are ready to bring their industry here, they are ready to build factories that will employ you, so why do you scare them away? Government cannot do everything for you. Our brothers who have money want to bring it back home. Some of them want to do it but you are scaring them away. How long are we going to sell fear to our people?
“This is a new year. This is a new era. This is a new dawn and I urge you come and join hands with us. We will make you the leaders of this project. Don’t lead those carrying guns, come and lead those who will call the peace marshals, let’s give you responsibility, let’s give you a task.
“And I call on all of you who are support of the sit at home on Monday, it is time to stop. It is time to stop the sit at home on Mondays.
“If your agitation is about the release of Nnamdi Kanu; we love our Igbo land and we love our brother and he is my brother. That he is locked up does not make him less of my brother and that you are agitating does not make you less of my brother. But I am saying that there is a better way to get it done. There are many ways to kill a rat. Let us look for the other ways that we can kill this rat without destroying our home.
“Let us come together and unite and I can assure you that once we unite, there is nothing we ask this government that we cannot get including the one you are asking for our brother, it is also achievable.”
Kalu also appreciated the Governors of the 5 Eastern states for the support they are giving to PISE-P.
The Deputy Speaker said that there was nothing political about the project, stressing that it was all about community service.
“The Governors of the various states of the south east, you can’t do without them. I can assure you they all want peace for the south east. None of them is against this. They are in full support.
“You don’t leave the job only for the governors. Let them play from the top, we play from the bottom, then we meet halfway. Then, solve our problems.
“The peace in southeast project is not politics, it’s about community project anchored on peace. That’s why members of the PISE-P are from different political parties.
“I can assure you, through this project the southeast will not remain the same. All the boys who are carrying guns, there’s hope for them, because We will get them gainfully employed, they won’t wasted”.
Kalu also stated that there is no clash of interest between PISE-P and Ohaneze Ndi Igbo.
According to him, the idea of the project was first communicated to the President-General of the apex Igbo socio-cultural body, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, adding that he is in full support of the project.
“Which clash of interest? He’s in full support of this project. He’s passionate about the peace and unity of Igbo land. We are partnering with him”, Kalu said.