Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State and Chairman of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, has suggested steps the Federal Government should take in ensuring peace ahead of the November 6 governorship election in the State.
Ezeife said the Federal Government should release over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested over alleged links to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Eastern Security Network, ESN, and embrace dialogue ahead of the election.
He also called for the demilitarization of the South East before the election.
Speaking at a press conference, Ezeife appealed to the Federal Government to opt for “non-kinetic measures” that would restore peace to the region and ensure the election is conducted without any hindrances.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to the increasing militarisation of the South East, and the consequent built-up tension and security challenges in the zone, thus threatening a hitch-free conduct of the scheduled November 6, 2021, Anambra State election.
“The increasing insecurity in the South East has taken a frightening dimension and remains a terrible and worrisome puzzle that must be addressed.
“We, therefore call on the Federal Government to demilitarise the South East.
“Similarly, the Federal Government should immediately release the over 5,000 Igbo youths arrested by security agencies, and dumped in different detention camps in various parts of the country under dehumanising conditions in the name of unknown gunmen, IPOB, ESN, among others.”
Ezeife noted that of the Southeast would ensure a free and fair election during the Anambra State governorship poll.
“It is our firm belief that a secured and peaceful environment is indispensable for the conduct of free, fair and credible election in any democratic state, including Anambra State,” he added.