Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, has called for the immediate release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Gov Ortom argued that even members of Boko Haram ‘who pose a greater threat to the country’s unity have often been freed, resettled and some integrated into the armed forces’.
Ortom stated this when a group, under the aegis of American Veterans of Igbo Origin, met with him in Washington DC on Wednesday.
This was disclosed by his senior special assistant on diaspora affairs, Rev Peter Ichull, in a statement made available to Adadareporters on Thursday.
He said Nnamdi Kanu’s issue was a social-political challenge that must be dealt with politically.
Governor Ortom, according to the statement, said the South East of Nigeria ‘must be given a sense of belonging to erase the impression of persecution of a section of the country’.
He said power shift to the South East was possible if the people of the region put their differences aside to pursue the objective in unity..
Ortom said his call for freedom of worship was not only to protect the rights of Christians, but to avoid intimidation or molestation of the generality of Nigerians in any part of the country.
He challenged South-Eastern Nigerians living abroad to think home, adding that ‘there is nowhere better than home but only peace and security can guarantee the success of your investments back home’.
The veterans’ president, Dr Sylvester Onyia, commended Ortom for his fearless position on Nigeria’s ills, insisting that only such a stand from leaders could build bridges of understanding and give hope to despairing Nigerians abroad that one Nigeria is possible.
The group expressed fears for the upcoming general elections owing to the spate of insecurity in the country.
Onyia said, “You are not alone; we are with you. Continue speaking the truth; truth is the manifestation of God.”
Other members on the entourage its vice, Dr Prince Joe Nduka; Dr Ofo, the group’s PRO, and Nigeria’s former ambassador to South Africa, Dr Mrs Ajulu.