Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has called on the Federal Government to release the detained Radio Biafra Director and the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu without further delay.
Ekweremadu who is sore displeased that, Kanu and other pro-Biafra agitators should be held even when courts of competent jurisdiction have ruled that he should be released, wondered why they should still be held even we are preaching for peace and oneness.
The law maker who made the call in Enugu yesterday during the South East Economic and Security Summit that took place at Government House, Enugu, explained that the continued detention of Kanu was part of the marginalisation of the Igbo Race in Nigeria and asked that Ndigbo should be included in the governance of Nigeria for peace to reign.
He said that without the inclusion of Ndigbo in governance, “there is no way there will be peace in Nigeria.”
He also wondered how no Igbo man is not included in the security council of the nation which is an attestation that Ndigbo are being elbowed aside in Nigeria.
“For true security to be ensured in Nigeria”, Ekweremadu noted that “state police has to be created”, pointing out that the “current police strength cannot contain the prevailing insurgencies – Boko Haram, armed robbery, insurgency, herdsmen menace, kidnapping, etc”.
“In a country like Nigeria it is important that every part of Nigeria should be included in the governance of this country; there is no Igboman in the commanding height of the security management of this country. When the issues of governance of this country are decided Igbos are absent, when issues of security of this country are deliberated Igbos are excluded.
“I must say my mind because any part of country anywhere in the world that feels marginalized that country cannot have peace and it is time for us to rethink and address the issue of marginalization and include all part of this country in the governance of this nation”.
The Deputy Senate President complained bitterly that his picture was not contained in the brochure for the programme for the Summit probably because some people thought that he was not in good terms with the president; explained that he had no problem with the presidency.
“Put me in the programme. Nobody is going to arrest you. I have no problem with the president,” Ekweremadu said.
Special guest of honour to the occasion, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former president, stressed on the importance of security in ensuring the economic growth of the nation.
Obasanjo said that there was no way the economy can boom in the face of a prevailing security challenges.
“You cannot have security if the economic well-being of a nation is not taken care of. If security is not taken care of, the economy cannot grow,” Obasanjo said pointing out that the Summit would open up avenue for people to do what they can do for themselves.
He said that one of the challenges that beset the nation is youth restiveness occasioned by lack of employment noting that, without jobs after education, there is no way youth restiveness would not arise.
“There are millions of graduates who have not job; there are millions of skilled youths who have no job, therefore there is no way there wouldn’t be youth restiveness. Insecurity in one part of this country is insecurity in the entire country.”
He counseled the South East governments and people to work in synergy to ensure security and economic prosperity of their people who he described as enterprising and adventurous people.
Speaking about agriculture, Obasanjo described the South East as the ‘food basket’ of Nigeria because of their vast arable land, pointing out that when harnessed well, there could be agric shows in Igbo land to showcase the agric products they have comparative advantage over other states to encourage farmers and ensure bumper harvest.
The Chairman, South East Economic and Security Summit, Prof. Barth Nnaji in his address at the occasion said that Nigeria had a lot of challenges that ought to be identified and redressed for progress to ensue.
Speaking particularly about South East region, Nnaji said that the challenges include poor infrastructure such as bad roads, rail road, electricity, ecological devastation among others. He however said the problems did not start with Buhari government but pointed out that it could redressed in his time since successive governments had neglected Ndigbo since the end of the Civil War.
Nnaji frowned at the incessant, unwarranted and unprovoked attacks on the people of the South East in parts of Nigeria and even right here in Igboland, especially attacks that are carried out by herdsmen, noting that was part of the challenges to be redressed.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State in his goodwill message lamented sorry state of the Federal Roads in the South East which he attributed to the devastation of the Civil War because earth tremors caused by the war equipment affected the texture of the land, thereby making it impossible for the roads to last.
He advised that good contractors should be invited to work on the roads in the South East for them to withstand the test of time before they deteriorate.
On his part, Gov. Ugwuanyi called on the Federal Government to make haste and repair failed Federal Roads in the South East and re-imburse the states for embarking on the rehabilitation of the Federal roads in the zone.
Ugwuanyi lamented that his state is lacking revenue that should accrue from federal institutions like UNN, Federal Government College, Eha- Amufu and Orthopaedic Hospital which are owing tax returns up to the tune of over N12. 9 billion.
The summit was attended by dignitaries such as the former vice president, Alex Ekwueme, Jim Nwobodo, Emeka Anyaoku, Frank Nweke jnr, Gen. Ihejirika, Ogbonnaya Onovo, Ken Nnamani, governors of Enugu, Ebony and Abia State, among others.