Chukuwemeka Ezeif, former governor of Anambra state and president of the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, has highlighted the steps taken by the federal government to ensure peace ahead of the November 6 gubernatorial election in the state.
Ezeif said the federal government should release more than 5,000 Igbo youths arrested on charges of alleged links to indigenous peoples of Biafra, IPOB, and Eastern Security Network, ESN, and embrace dialogue before the election.
He called for demilitarization of the Southeast before the elections.
Speaking at a news conference, Ezeif appealed to the federal government to choose “non-kinetic measures” that would restore peace in the region and ensure that elections were held without hindrance.
“Our attention has been drawn to the increasing militarisation of the South East, and the consequent built-up tension and security challenges in the zone, thus threatening a hitch-free conduct of the scheduled November 6, 2021 Anambra State election.
“The increasing insecurity in the South East has taken a frightening dimension and remains a terrible and worrisome puzzle that must be addressed.
“We, therefore call on the Federal Government to demilitarise the South East.
“Similarly, the Federal Government should immediately release the over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies, and dumped in different detention camps in various parts of the country under dehumanising conditions in the name of unknown gunmen, IPOB, ESN, among others.”
Ezeife noted that the Southeast would ensure a free and fair election during the Anambra State governorship poll.
“It is our firm belief that a secured and peaceful environment is indispensable for the conduct of free, fair and credible election in any democratic state, including Anambra State,” he added.
Recently, tensions have increased in the southeast over insecurity.
Some have been killed, while properties were destroyed as a result of the activities of unidentified gunmen, believed to be members of either the indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, Eastern Security Network, ESN, or the Biafra National Guard, BNG .
These groups claim to fight for the reality of Biafra, a position that has escalated into criminals hijacking the movement and perpetuating all manner of evil in the southeast.
On Monday, the Nigerian military insisted that IPOB members were responsible for insecurity in the southeast.