The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has given conditions for lasting peace with the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo,South East governors and Nigeria in general.
The group on Sunday met with the highest Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and leadership of the Prof Ben Nwabueze-led Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), demanding the unconditional de-proscription of the group labelled “terrorist” organization, insisting it was part of the terms for peace with the federal government and southeast governors.
Also, IPOB demanded an end to all criminal prosecutions of their members arrested in various parts of the country over their self-determination agitation as well as the recognition of rights of individuals as contained in the Nigerian constitution.
During a meeting held at Prof. Nwabueze’s countryhome in Atani, Ogbaru local government council, Anambra state, the organization also demanded compensation for all IPOB members killed during the last Operation Python Dance in the southeast and the prosecution of security men that murdered them.
They reportedly were said to have demanded an end to the constant and indiscriminate harassment and arrest of its members in any part of the country by security operatives.
It was gathered that during the meeting, IPOB was said to have noted that in all the prosecution made so far against its members, none had been found guilty or convicted for crimes, insisting that “since the Ohanaeze and Southeast governors gathered together to proscribed the group, they should also gather together to de-proscribe it”
Although the IPOB team to the meeting from Germany led by their General Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, had staged a mild walk out from the meeting following what they regarded as poor presentation and acceptance of their demands by the Ohanaeze leadership to the meeting, it was however agreed that another meeting involving the five governors of the zone would be held in Enugu on August 8, where the issues would further be deliberated.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Constitutional lawyer and elder statesman, Prof. Nwabueze noted that the de-proscription of the organization as a “terrorist” one was key among other demands presented at the meeting.
He stated that the Igbo leaders of the Thought and Ohanaeze leadership have agreed in principle to do all within their power to ensure that the organization was de-proscribed, adding that it would guarantee peace in the country.
Nwabueze, who stated that Ndigbo was desirous for the peace, unity and development of the country, said such was not achievable with the level of disenchantment in the land by various groups.
According to him, this was part of the reasons why Ndigbo was pursuing for the restructuring of the country, adding that should the country be restructured, agitation for secession would automatically be checkmated.
He said: “This is what we told the IPOB members who attended the meeting in their number and made several demands. We will surely continue our discussions with them. That is why we are involving the governors of the zone and calling for another meeting in Enugu on August 8 to enable continue. We had met some days ago in Enugu with the leadership of IPOB and that was where we agreed for a ceasefire on attacks on Ohanaeze leadership and the rest of the country. I am happy to report that they have abided by the terms of that agreement and are willing to discuss further.”
Nwabueze who was flanked during the briefing by Ohanaeze President General, Chief Nnia Nwodo and Bishop Emeritus, Rt Revd Maxwell Anikwenwa, leaders of Jewish worshippers among others, restated that Ndigbo were not interested in producing a president for the country in its present political structure.
He said that it would be difficult for such a president from Igbo extraction or any other ethnic group in Nigeria to function effectively, hence the need for quick restructuring of the country to avoid total collapse.
He said the meeting affirmed the need for rotation of the office of the president as it would give a sense of belonging to all the geo-political zones.