Apex Igbo sociocultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has moved to adopt a non-kinetic approach to restore peace and end the incessant killings and violence in the Southeast region.
This is just as the President-General of Ohanaeze, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has declared that he would be ready to lay down his life if it is what it takes to restore peace back to Igboland.
The group also said that it does not want Igbos to continue crying about constant bloodshed and violence, declaring that it would start by appealing to people causing bloodshed to embrace peace.
Iwuanyanwu, who disclosed this during a press conference to announce the programme for the September 29 Igbo Day celebration on Saturday in Enugu State, said he was tired of the killing of Igbos by their fellow Igbos.
Iwuanyanwu, who is worried about the constant killings and destructions in Igboland, said: “However, I don’t want us to be crying all the time. As a father, I am tired of the death of my children. Igbos have given me the responsibility of leading them at this time.
“Each time I hear anybody killed, I feel very sad because some of them are doing what they are doing because of hunger and unemployment.
“I am not saying that hunger or unemployment should make somebody become a criminal. But not everyone has the capacity to endure hardship or hunger.
“We have been using kinetic approach before now. I think, we’re going to adopt non-kinetic approach.
“In fact, on the Igbo Day celebration, I’m likely to announce a non-kinetic approach. I will, as a father now, call everybody because Igbos have made me their leader. As a father, it’s my duty to call everybody to peace; to make peace among everybody. So, we’re initiating a non-kinetic approach to restore peace in Igboland.
“What we’re doing now (Igbo Day celebration) is to ensure that when people finish school here, they would have opportunities. We have tried to get a lot of things done”.
The President-General disclosed that he is ready to beg the leaders of the unknown gunmen and even stake his own life to get the youths to lay down their arms and embrace.
He also disclosed that Ohanaeze had perfected plans to send a delegation to Finland and other places to beg those causing bloodshed in the region to give peace a chance.
“I will beg all these people (unknown gunmen). I will even give them my life if that’s what it will take to bring peace back to Igboland, I’m ready to surrender.
“The National Executive Council (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has given me the approval to set up a committee that will go abroad to dialogue with the funders of these people.
“We will go to Finland and other places and beg them. We’re not going there to arrest them. We’re not going there to kill them. I don’t want to kill any of my children. All these unknown gunmen are my children. That’s why we’re going there to beg and appeal to them to give peace a chance. Tell us what we should do and we are doing it already. I’m sure even those who are hungry, we can find what to do to make them happy.
“But you see, the shedding of blood should stop. My new resolution is: ‘enough of bloodshed’.
“I have noticed that these people are determined. It’s not easy to stop a hungry person who probably has been getting his livelihood through the use of guns. But, I’m sure, if I as a father go and cry to them, we will see what will happen.
“I trust in God. My parents were very good Christians and they taught me from cradle to trust in God. So, I believe God will do this for me”, he said.
The Igbo leader said the new approach towards ending the security challenges in the region would require the support of both the state governors and that of the federal government.
His words: “It will be good for the federal government to have peace in the Southeast. It won’t pay anybody to have bloodshed anywhere because nobody is benefiting from it.
“So, whatever sacrifice they(federal government) make to make the non-kinetic approach work and end bloodshed, killings and violence, and so on, will be useful. That’s what I want to do.
“In our constitution, the federal government has a duty to protect the lives and property of every individual.
“So, I want to call on the federal government to put a stop to people stopping its citizens from going about their normal businesses.
“Otherwise, if some aspect of our laws are activated, the federal government maybe paying compensation to those persons who are forced to stay at home. This is because he is staying at home because of insecurity which the federal government could not contain”.
Iwuanyanwu also appealed to the federal government to assist the zone with the reconstruction of railways, creating seaports and more international airports to ease their businesses.
“I want to appeal to the federal government. Many people have been coming, be it service chiefs and all of that. We’re not looking for guns. We’re looking for opportunities for our youths.
“Now they are talking about palliatives. These things don’t affect the lives of a normal Igbo person because it does not change his poor condition. What you can do for an Igboman is to give him an opportunity to make a living for himself.
“What the federal government can do for us is to ensure that we have the same job opportunities others have. We want them to create job opportunities here.
“Also, we want the federal government to support our governors. If they can increase the funding for the five Southeast governors because they’re spending a lot of money on security. You know this security is actually supposed to be federal responsibility, not state responsibility.
“There are other areas that the federal government can help us. For example, our people are traders, commercial people. Now look at the transportation problems. In the whole of Southeast, we have two international airports: Enugu Airport and Imo Cargo Airport. Up till today, Imo Cargo Airport has not started working in terms of bringing cargoes. Our people are traders. It will save them money if that cargo planes are landing in that airport.
“Even in Enugu that’s already operating international flight, only one airline which is an African airline belonging to Ethiopia that is operating there. We need European, Asian and American-bound airlines to be operating there.
“All these will make lift very easy for us. Take for example, railway lines are important for our kind of business. Studies have shown that if we create rail lines in the capitals of the five states, it will be a profitable business. We are going to propose it to the governors and we need the federal government to support it.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank the federal government for the dredging of Oguta Lake. We commend Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State who got the federal government to do that”, he said.