Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev Godfrey Onah, has called on South-East governors to intensify efforts for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) from detention.
The Bishop, who made the call on Sunday during mass at St Theresa’s Cathedral Nsukka, said it is believed that Kanu’s continued detention in the Department of State Services (DSS) facility is largely responsible for the unrest in South East and until that is addressed any hope of achieving peace in the region “will only be superficial.”
The call followed the declaration by the newly inaugurated governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, that there will be no more observance of sit-at-home orders on Mondays in the state, which has been on since September 2021.
Mbah also urged President Bola Tinubu to Fast-track the release of Kanu.
Bishop Onah, while acknowledging that the efforts of governors in the South-East were geared towards restoring peace in the region, advised that part of the initiative should include efforts by the governors to secure the release of Kanu, as his continued detention is highly responsible for the unrest in the South East.
READ ALSO: Sit-at-home: Bishops Onah, Chukwuma, Enugu Town Unions Back Mbah, Seek Kanu’s Release
“I understand that the initiative by some state governments in the country, especially the newly inaugurated government in Enugu State is to restore normalcy in the South East, but I want to believe and affirm that this initiative must of necessity include an increase in the efforts and coordination of all Eastern governors to secure the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention.
“Because we all believe that his continued detention despite the ruling of a court of law, and despite the powers invested in the president by law to intervene in such cases, his continued detention is highly responsible for the insecurities and unrest we experience in South-East, and until that is addressed, any peace we hope to achieve will only be superficial,” Onah stated.
The cleric urged the government to always protect the interest of Nigerians and work for their safety.
“I am pleading with those who swore an oath in the name of God to protect the interest of Nigerians and work for their safety and well-being. This can only be achieved by understanding the nature of that God in whose name they took the oath. It is only in this way that we can hope to reduce the suffering among our people.
“I am begging in the name of that God in which many swore the oath of offices and in the name of that God who is love in the father, gift in the son, and communion in spirit and that God whose image we are made” he added.
He noted that many people may be angry about the state of affairs in the country and may have genuine reasons but should be calm. He pleaded to both the government authorities and the non-state actors agitating for one thing or the other, to shift ground.
The bishop also advised that people should be mindful of the way they express their anger to avoid causing more problems.
“Those that are angry are much, and there may be reasons for their anger, but I strongly believe that the entrenched positions of both the government and the agitators in this regard have not brought us the peace we have been looking for. This is the time to shift ground.”
He pleaded with the people to give the newly elected government benefit of the doubt.
On the order, for residents of Enugu State to go about their businesses on Mondays, it was complied with in some parts of the state on Monday, 5th June, while in other areas, people stayed at home for fear of being attacked by those enforcing the sit-at-home.
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