Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has asked the Federal Government to immediately release detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Ortom, noting that Kanu’s issue is a social-political challenge that must be dealt with politically, said releasing him will pave way for the peace process in the country to be taken seriously.
The Governor spoke when he received in audience, the American Veterans of Igbo origin in Washington DC, United States.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, Rev. Peter Ichull in Washington D.C, Ortom said observed that even members of Boko Haram who posed a greater threat to the country’s unity have often been freed, resettled and some integrated into the armed forces.
He maintained that the South East must be given a sense of belonging to erase the impression of persecution of a section of the country.
The Governor further enjoined the Igbo veterans in the United States to believe in one Nigeria, even as he said that no country on earth is without its challenges.
“The Benue State Governor told the group that power shift to the South East is 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 so that all Nigerians will be free to practice their faith without intimidation or molestation in any part of the country.
“He thanked the group for appreciating his modest contributions to national discourses but challenged South-Eastern Nigerians living abroad that charity begins at home, saying ‘there is nowhere better than home but only peace and security can guarantee the success of your investments back home.’
“The governor then called on the veterans to support the peace efforts in the South East region so that both their communities and investments will experience sustainable growth and prosperity”, the statement added.
In his remarks, the president of the group, Dr Sylvester Onyia, praised Ortom for his fearlessness position on Nigeria’s ills, saying 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 however expressed fears for the upcoming general election owing to the spate of insecurity in the country and called on Governor Ortom not to relent on pursuing the best security options.
“They assured the Governor of its support in amplifying his voice in peace-building to their representatives in the American Congress.
“You are not alone; we are with you. Continue speaking the truth; truth is the manifestation of God”, the statement said.
Other members on the entourage included the Vice President of the Group, Dr Prince Joe Nduka, Dr Ofo, the group’s PRO and Nigeria’s former ambassador to South Africa, Dr Mrs Ajulu.