Feature

South East Insecurity: Return to the table of negotiation to stop the violence, Dickson Iroegbu appeals to stakeholders

I have been distressed about the state of Nigeria, particularly the South Eastern geo-political zone, especially my beloved Imo state.

The development that led to the gruesome assassination of Alhaji Ahmed A. Gulak, a former Presidential Adviser and former Speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly, gave me cause for concern.

I am troubled because the nation is nose-diving at great speed. We are just watching history about repeating itself in our country.

I condemn, in strong terms, every kind of violence, be it violence perpetrated by the government on citizens, citizens on the government or citizens on fellow citizens. Therefore, let no one misunderstand this message as a call for a violent change in Nigeria.

However, it is obvious that the people of Nigeria have been pushed to extreme position and are now reacting to the ineptitude of the government.

It is true that Nigeria is divided along ethnic, religious, political and other boundaries. But it has never been this abysmal. In fact, I’ve never been this disturbed about Nigeria as I am today.

As a citizen that is actively committed to the patriotic engagement of citizens, vis-à-vis the development of the nation, I am upset that the eastern Nigeria is being bombarded and young people are being slaughtered at will by the government of the Nigerian State under President Muhammadu Buhari.

It is clear that based on the position of the Governor of the state as the chief security officer of the state, his report as one on ground, should be taken as rightful and accurate regarding the happenings in Imo state.

The Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has clearly reported at various times, mediums and speeches, that most of the events with respect to insecurity situations in the state are perpetrated by mercenaries and outsiders who are neither indigenes nor residents of Imo.

The attack on the Imo state Police Command headquarters, Correctional facility, and other pockets of violence, arsons, destruction and killing of security personnel in the state, were done by people that are neither indigenes of Imo state nor of Igbo ethnic group. So who is the fifth columnist? This is the main crux of the matter.

Who is the fifth columnist behind the recent escalation of violence in the southeast, particularly, Imo state. Who is killing able bodied Nigerian youths of Igbo extraction? Tax payer’s money was used to procure arms and ammunitions for our security agencies; the army, navy, air force, police and others. And these same arms and ammunitions are now being used against citizens by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

This is a repeated occurrence for the past six years of this administration. Of course, one notable occurrence was the #EndSARS protest where the government of President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the army to shoot at harmless National Anthem singing protesters who were waving the green-white-green flag of Nigeria. Young people were killed in their numbers while government of the day denied complicity and has refused to bring the military and non-military perpetrators to justice.

I condemn in strong terms every kind of banditry, terrorism and violence perpetrated by an Igbo, Fulani, Yoruba, Hausa, Ijaw, Ibibio, Idoma, Tiv, and all other ethnic groups that make up Nigeria.

I believe that peaceful protest should be appreciated by the authorities. Peaceful protest of citizens, either by sit-at-home or street protest should be respected in the democratic environment by everyone, including those in authority.

I call on President Muhammadu Buhari to please commence the process of de-escalation in Eastern Nigeria. The stick approach is not the only alternative to governance; there is also the carrot approach.

If citizens of our nation are complaining, and rightly so, they should be listened to and not mauled down, killed nor assassinated.

I condemn therefore, in strong terms, the killing and the quick conclusion of the government of the day to demonize, assassinate, kill and maim young Igbo citizens of Nigeria, who go by the name IPOB or ESN.

It is on record that the Minister of Defence of Nigeria of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has asked that citizens of Nigeria should defend themselves.

The President of our country recently lost his Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Ibrahim Attahiru, yet, citizens are being killed and maimed for simply protesting against injustice, inequality and lack of fairness in the system – this is wrong and must be condemned by all citizens, all men and women of goodwill. This is the time to promote dialogue more than violence. We should jaw-jaw and not war-war.

I call through this medium, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, led by my brother (I cannot deny him), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to please de-escalate the rhetoric.

We need to change tactics, and all stakeholders must change tactics. Please, let us adopt more of dialogue approach to de-escalate the tension, de-escalate the rhetoric, and return to the table of negotiation.

I call on the elected officials, our executive Governors of the Southeast, members of the Senate from the Southeast, members of the House of Representatives from the Southeast, members of the States Houses of Assembly from the southeast, and every other elected and appointed state actor, to please change tactics.

I call on my Governor (of course he is my Governor as a citizen of Imo state), His Excellency Senator Hope Uzodimma, to please change tactics. Let us all adopt the dialogue approach. Let us all put the state first above personal interests and individual conflicts or disagreement. Our people are dying in droves, the bloodletting is too much, and we must call this to a halt immediately.

I thank you for adhering to this solemn call for dialogue.

God bless Imo state, the heartland of the South Eastern Nigeria

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank You.

Mazi Dickson Nnamdi Iroegbu

Multiple award winning filmmaker and anchor of Nigeria Right Now on AIT

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