Anambra State governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has proposed amnesty for armed members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other groups, urging them to lay down their arms
He particularly appealed to those still carrying arms and forcing people to stay at home on Mondays in Igboland to lay down their arms and embrace the path of peace in the interest of the people.
The governor, who spoke at St Joseph’s Catholic Cathedral, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government area where he participated in the prayer session organised in all churches in the state said things should not continue the way they had been.
The governor noted that the IPOB had issued a statement putting an end to the Monday sit-at-home and wondered why it should continue.
He observed that the people and the state were the major losers anytime the sit-at-home order was enforced, adding that children were deprived from going to school every Monday just as economic activities were also grounded.
He said that the state could not continue in that manner, stressing that it was time to take back Anambra State and build it as a home of peace and the light of the nation.
Governor Soludo also informed the congregation that the state government had put in place measures to rehabilitate and train the youths to be gainfully employed, as well as the setting up of Peace and Reconciliation Commission to reconcile all aggrieved parties
According to him, with the prayers offered in the churches across the state, the Monday weekly sit-at-home is officially over and urged the people to come out every Monday to conduct their businesses, while schools and other essential institutions/agencies were also required to open for business every Monday as well
The Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, Most Rev Ebele Okpalaeke, who led the prayer session, charged the people to embrace peace.
He observed that nothing could be achieved without peace and harmony in the land and appealed to those who were bent on creating fear and tension in the land to desist forthwith and embrace the olive branch offered by the state government for peace to return to the State.
At the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, who led the congregation in the prayer session, observed that the Igbo people were faced with a very serious situation.
“There is no doubt that Igbo are not well treated in this country. You cannot just be a visitor in a place that belongs to you. Igbo are a big force to reckon with right from independence and unfortunately we say we are one country, but some people are not well treated,” the cleric said.