The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has declared an end to its sit-at- home order in South-east Nigeria, traditional rulers in the region said Saturday.
The Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council said the group yielded to the appeal of the Anambra government and traditional rulers to pave the way for peace, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Speaking at a one-day peace building and security meeting in Awka, the state capital, the chairman of the traditional rulers council, Nnaemeka Achebe, said IPOB took the stance after Igbo leaders, including religious leaders, declared their intention to find a lasting solution to the insecurity and the incessant sit-at-home directives in the region.
Achebe, who is the Igwe of Onitsha, said Igbo leaders have continually held meetings with the agitators on the way forward for lasting resolutions of the problem.
He said after its meeting with the group on April 1, it was agreed that a call to release the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, would be a step to douse the tension in the state.
He said that after the meeting, IPOB placed a call to all its members to put down their arms and accept dialogue.
“We call on all who had taken the way of guns to put down their guns and take up the olive leaf from the government to better themselves,” Achebe said.
He said the state government has set April 4 for prayers aimed at seeking God’s face to restore peace in Anambra and South-east.
NAN quoted Achebe as saying that it was agreed that on April 4, all churches in Igboland and South-east would come together for prayers to seek God’s forgiveness and to restore peace.
“Igboland has lost so much in economic and social development. We are tired of the situation and want peace.
“It is agreed that on Sunday, April 3, all churches will announce the IPOB decision to their faithful to come out on Monday 11a.m. to their various churches to offer prayers to God for the restoration of peace and economic development,” the traditional ruler said.
Others at the meeting spoke in support of the decision.
They included the speaker of the Anambra House of Assembly, Uche Okafor.
Okafor said the legislators would partner the state government to enthrone peace and economic development in the state and the region.
The national vice president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Damin Ogene-Okeke, urged the public to embrace the decision to establish peace.
He called on the governors of the South-east states to represent their people well and speak the minds of the citizens who elected them into office.
IPOB introduced the sit-at-home order as a means of putting pressure on the Nigerian government to release its leader, Mr Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged treasonable felony and terrorism.
Residents were forced to shut down their businesses, social activities, and stay indoors every Monday because of the order.
Armed men reportedly enforcing the order have in the past killed several people and set ablaze buildings and cars in the region.