Northern community in Abia, Methodist Bishops pledge to support peace in south east
Northern community and the Bishops of Methodist Church in Abia State have pledged to support the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) to ensure it achieves its objectives.
It will be recalled that PISE-P, the brain child of the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives,Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu which calls for a non kinetic approach to resolving the security issues in the south East region was recently unveiled in Bende Local government Area of Abia State.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Deputy Speaker in Bende on Friday, the leader of the northern community, Alhaji Saliru Idris said they will rally round Kalu to ensure the aim of the project is sufficiently achieved.
He appreciated Kalu for coming to their aid when the Lokpanta cattle market in Umunneochi Local government area of the state got burnt.
He said: “We will rally round to support this movement. Part of the reason why we are here is because, when our brothers in the cattle market had a problem, when you heard about it, you asked me what was the problem. Immediately you took action by forming a committee of the House of Representatives who were sent to this place for a fact finding mission.
“The people were overwhelmed with joy and pleaded with me that whenever an opportunity comes for them to thank you physically, they will like it. That’s why when they heard about this, they quickly said let’s come and show you the appreciation. That made us to believe that, indeed, we have a brother in the House of Representatives”.
Earlier in his remarks, the Deputy Speaker sued for peace amongst them and their host communities.
“The northerners are very trustworthy, that’s the truth. We are one nation. We are one. We should always find a reason to come together. I have northerners working with me.
“This is the spirit I want to build around Nigeria. Let me tell you, because of my love for one Nigeria, that was why the Emir of Kano, and Emir of Bichi were here for the unveiling of PISE-P.
“It’s the first since 1914, you have the leader of the south west, Ooni of Ife here, Emir of Bichi, Kano, Obi of Onitsha all in one place talking about peace. Some donated cows, money and so on. They said they like what we are doing. I want you to like what we are doing as well because you will benefit from it. Let’s have one Nigeria where there’s peace”, Kalu said.
Similarly, Bishops of Methodist Church led by the Arch Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, His Grace, Chibuzor Okpoko said the Church will fully get involved in spreading the message of peace across the south east and indeed, Nigeria in general.
He said: “Let me say this. We thank God that we have an opportunity for our son to be the number 6 man in the nation. We want to also thank God that from the state government, Governor Otti planned a reception for you. It has never happened before. We as Methodist Bishops are also happy that you made the whole country come to Bende Local Government Area. We are happy that there was no security issues.
“The Issue of peace is what we are involved in. No peace, no security. I want to thank you for the peace initiative you just started. We are committed to this. The good thing is that the governors were involved. For me to see the governors make a pledge, it was a perfect synergy.
“I want to say that we will pray for you. We don’t care about the party but the personalities and the people who are ready to impact our people. We have to be pragmatic.
“We have a role to play. The impact of the clergy is not to be doubted at all. We are standing with you on this bold step. We will pray for you and ask God to give you more wisdom”, Okpoko said.
In his remarks earlier, Kalu asked the clergy men to support the peace initiative, stressing it will help integrate the south east into the national political mainstream.
“Talk about it and tell the people why peace is needed. The Muslims are supporting this peace and Christians must also support this peace. Let’s use the non kinetic means. We can achieve those things agitating you but not through the barrels of guns. The President of Nigeria loves the South East and he is in support of this initiative.
“I want to tell Mr. President that these were the general that partnered us. I don’t want to do it alone. I have pushed for a platform that will stimulate reintegration.
“I need you to support this initiative, back me up with prayers. It’s a long journey but no matter how long, starting with prayers will reduce it.
“In the next 6 months, Peace in South East will be building roads, markets, roads. We will get the results we have been waiting for”, Kalu said.