Igbo leaders based in Nigeria and abroad ended a three-day summit in Abia on Saturday with a call for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, and others it tagged ‘prisoners of conscience’ in Nigeria.
The 2016 World Igbo Summit, organised by the World Igbo Summit Group in collaboration with the Igbo Renaissance Centre of the Gregory University, Uturu (GUU), had Ike Nwachukwu as chairman.
In its 10-point communiqué on Saturday night, the summit urged the Federal Government to release Mr. Kanu and other Biafran agitators in line with the Rule of Law “since they do not constitute a threat to national security.”
The meeting restated the commitment of Igbo people to work for a united Nigeria, where “Ndigbo would live and operate as equal citizens, without any discrimination, bias or intimidation.”
The communiqué, which was read by a co-chairman of the summit, Sam Ohuabunwa, noted that “Ndigbo have made the biggest sacrifice and contributions to the building of a modern Nigeria.”
The summit called for legislation by the state and national assembly to prohibit nomadic grazing by herdsmen and establish grazing reserves with public funds.
It specifically called for legislation “against all forms of open grazing in Igboland”, on grounds that the activities of suspected herdsmen pose great danger to peace and security in the area.
The summit further called for a review of the 1999 constitution to recognise the rights of each federating unit to self-determination and regional economy “as enshrined in the 1960 Independent Constitution and 1963 Republican Constitution.”
Summiteers resolved “to take full responsibility for the rebuilding of Igbo economy and development of Igboland”, by adopting the digital economy “as the organising paradigm and implementation framework.”
Southeast governors were urged to establish a joint commission “for the development of Igboland and be supportive of true Igbo initiatives.”
“Henceforth, the Igbo political leadership, whether elected or appointed, must act in the best interest of Ndigbo and be prepared to be held accountable by the people for their actions and inactions.”
The summit commended the contributions of Ndigbo in the Diaspora toward the achievement of the vision and urged them to “think home and invest home.”
It expressed appreciation to the Chancellor of GUU, Gregory Ibe, and the management for setting up the Igbo Renaissance Centre toward the re-engineering of Igbo growth and development.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the summit, with the theme, “Igboka-Visioning the Igbo nation in 2016,” was aimed at producing a road map for economic growth and prosperity in the Southeast and other Igbo-speaking states of Nigeria.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were former Nigeria Ambassador to U.S., George Obiozor; former Minister of Education, Ihechukwu Madubuike; former governor of Anambra, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; and the Chancellor of GUU.
Other participants at the summit were the former Minister of Women Affairs, Josephine Anenih; former Secretary-General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Joe Achuzie (rtd.); the Director-General of the World Igbo Summit Group, Ifedi Okwenna; and representatives of various Igbo groups and associations.
Also in attendance were the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe; and the Chairman, Southeast Traditional Rulers Council, Eberechi Dick, among other monarchs.
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra was represented at the meeting by his deputy, Nkem Okeke.