Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has called for the immediate release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs to the governor Rev. Peter Ichull on Thursday, the governor made the call when a group under the aegis of American Veterans of Igbo origin paid him a courtesy visit in Washington DC, USA on July 13th 2022.
He stated that Kanu’s issue is a social-political challenge that must be dealt with politically, and argued that even members of Boko Haram who pose a greater threat to the country’s unity had often been freed, resettled and some integrated into the armed forces.
Ortom maintained that the South East of Nigeria must be given a sense of belonging to erase the impression of persecution of a section of the country.
He tasked Igbo veterans in the United States of America to believe in one Nigeria, pointing out that no country on earth is without its challenges.
The 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 of 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 the 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, however, 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.
Earlier, the President of the Group, Dr. Sylvester Onyia, who led the delegation was full of praises of Ortom’s fearless position on Nigeria’s ills, insisted 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 Ortom not to relent on pursuing the best security options.
He assured the governor of the group’s support in amplifying his voice in peace-building to their representatives in the American Congress.
Other members of Onyia’s entourage included his vice, Dr. Prince Joe Nduka, Dr. Ofo, the group’s PRO and Nigeria’s former ambassador to South Africa, Dr. (Mrs.) Ajulu.