The Governors of the five South East states including: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo are some of the guests expected in Umuahia, Abia State capital, on Friday, December 29 at the unveiling of the ‘Peace in South East Project’.
Also expected at the event are traditional rulers, opinion leaders, captains of industry as well as eminent personalities drawn from across party divides.
The PUNCH reported that addressing a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the Chairman of the Media and Communication Committee of the project, Mrs Mary Ikoku, said the project coincides with the homecoming reception for the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu.
According to her, the two events are slated to appreciate Kalu’s commitment to public service and outstanding contributions to the people of the South East and the nation.
She noted that the event is being organised by the Peace in South East Project and the people of Bende Local Government Area of Abia, the Federal constituency of the Deputy Speaker.
“The PISE-P Team and Kalu’s community take immense pride in the remarkable achievements and tireless efforts of the Deputy Speaker who has consistently demonstrated a profound dedication to the well-being and progress of our people.
“As the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, he has played and still plays a pivotal role in shaping policies that address the needs and aspirations of the people of Bende Local government Area, the people of South-East, and the nation at large,” she said.
According to her, the peace initiative believes in the use of a non-kinetic strategy as against the prevailing option of applying total military force to address security challenges in the region.
Ikoku called on the Nigerian military to adjust its current strategy by engaging the people more to build mutual trust and cooperation.
“We don’t need the military to leave the South-East. We recognise the sacrifices the security agencies are making in keeping the insecurity in the South East but we ask for a twerking of their operational strategy through embracing the people by negotiation.
“A beacon of hope is here with a new non-kinetic approach. Let us dialogue and have a conversation with our people who are up in arms. All we want is peace in the South-East,” she added.
While speaking on the thematic areas of focus, Head of Programmes, Mr Ogbonna Ukuku, commended members of the House of Representatives for passing the bill on the establishment of the South-East Development Commission, saying the development will assist greatly in bringing about peace in the region.
Ukuku said the programme will mark the formal declaration of peace in the South-East, adding that, “All people across the country are coming. It’s a significant gathering and a declaration of peace in the South-East.”
He listed possible areas of intervention to include agriculture, education, leadership and good governance, sports and entertainment, culture, and tourism, among others.