Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) comprising Civil Rights Concern, Hope Givers Initiative and Justice Development and Peace/Caritas have charged the leaders in the South East to step up efforts towards securing the zone.
The charge was contained in a communique signed by Okey Onyeka Udegbunam and Rev Fr Edwin Udoye made available to journalists at the end of their meeting.
The CSOs observed that peace, security and public safety are the primary responsibilities of every government all over the world noting that in a democracy, free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections are the foundations for the emergence of legitimate leadership.
“Unfortunately, these elements of democracy, good governance, and sustainable development are being threatened in the Southeast region of Nigeria, particularly, in Anambra State with the rising insecurity and “no election” campaign by agitating groups, and this has escalated since the arrest and detention of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“As concerned lead civil society organizations working in partnership with associations and community groups in Anambra State and the Southeast region, we are pained by the unbridled escalation of insecurity and public safety that result in killings, burning of vehicles, public facilities, and private properties.
“We held a meeting on Monday, 4th October 2021; to brainstorm on the dynamics of the crisis and how to resolve the rising violence which could mar the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 6, 2021.” The group noted.
The CSOs commended the South East governors for their resolve to tackle the challenges of insecurity in the zone and arriving at decision to work from the understanding that hoodlums have descended on Anambra State from many parts of the country and possibly from beyond to scuttle the November 6, 2021 election for varying reasons.
The decision that South East Ebubeagu security outfit be launched in all the South East States and laws passed in the
various the South East States before the end of 2021 as well as provision of support to security agencies to restore peace in the southeast according to the CSOs is commendable.
They also applauded all the groups and the clergy for their efforts at interfacing with the youths and mandating the clergymen, Bishops, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), town unions, Ohaneze, and Traditional rulers to continue to dialogue with the youths for peace.
The Civil Society Organizations after reviewing the decisions reached during the governors meeting recommended that political leadership, the clergy, and church leadership should urgently hold a meeting with the agitating group leaders by virtual or any other means to dissuade them from any further actions that may derail the scheduled Anambra State election on November 6, 2021.
The CSOs stressed the need to make the groups understand that their name is at stake as all the violence being committed in the southeast now are being framed on them.
They also harped on the need to encourage and support the town unions and community vigilantes to secure their communities from violence as well as dialogue with the federal government to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu is brought to the court on the next court on Thursday
to douse the tension that may come up with his none appearance and physical presence in the court.
“The community leadership in every community in the Southeast region should be encouraged to organize town hall meetings to promote peace, security, public safety, and peaceful elections in Anambra State and the entire Southeast region. They should hold meetings with Anambra State INEC to understand its challenges to know how to support it and to urgently seek political solution to the case of Nnamdi Kanu with the federal government.
“In the light of the above, we observe that strengthening peace through discussions and dialogue for security is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders which should be pursued more vigorously by everybody now, to stop the current waste of life and property in the zone.We also believe that political leaders, town unions, church and community leaders have very critical roles to lead the society in these efforts.” The lead CSOs concluded.