The South East Caucus in the National Assembly has called on the Federal Government to address the root cause of agitations in the South East.
This, they believe, will halt growing tension in the area over calls for Biafra to secede from Nigeria.
In a communiqué released on Wednesday in Abuja at the end of a meeting of the Caucus, the federal lawmakers also rejected the categorisation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the military.
On Monday, Senate President Bukola Saraki had faulted the proscription of IPOB by South East Governors and categorisation of the group as a ‘terrorist organisation’ by the Nigerian military as unconstitutional.
The communique jointly signed by Chairman of the Caucus in the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe and his counterpart in the House of Representatives Chukwuka Onyema, however called on the organisation to suspend their activities, to enable federal lawmakers explore political solutions to the ongoing face-off.
“We condemn all acts of terrorism. In the case of IPOB, we reject the branding of any organization in Nigeria as terrorist without cause or following due process where such cause do exist. We take this position because of the implication of such branding to innocent citizens from the area who may be affected by the consequences. This branding we believe will foreclose any possible dialogue that will bring about a peaceful end to the activities of such group.
“We call on the leadership of Nigeria to look into the problems that feeds the never ending agitation by the youths of the South East and other Geopolitical Zones in this country.
“That we condemn the use of hate speeches and remarks by anybody as the dignity of human persons must be respected at all times, even while dissenting on any issue,” the communique read.
They affirmed their support on Nigeria’s unity anchored on ‘justice, equality and fair treatment to all parts of the country’.
Recall that the Nigerian Army had deployed troops to the South-East for what it termed ‘Operation Python Dance II’, to halt growing tension in the area over calls for Biafra to secede from Nigeria.
Last week, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to dialogue with IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, even as ex-President Goodluck Jonathan had urged Buhari to convene a Council of State meeting to get the input of all ex-Presidents of the Federation, former Heads of the Government, former Chief Justices of Nigeria, all serving governors amongst others, with a view to finding a lasting solution towards growing tension in some parts of the country.
Also, in a statement on Monday, Saraki pointed out that upon resumption from recess by September 26, the National Assembly will ’embark on a fact-finding investigation aimed’ at unravelling the military’s invasion of the region.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja, BusinessDay