13 September 2017

Nigeria: IPOB - PDP Calls for Restraint, Dialogue Over South-East Clashes

Photo: This Day
Nnamdi Kanu

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has called for caution and restraint in handling the conflict that has erupted in Abia State between the military and members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB.

In a press statement on Wednesday, the PDP national chairman, Ahmed Makarfi, said while the party is still committed to the continued corporate existence of Nigeria as one indivisible country, it also acknowledges and respects the rights of the people anywhere to express their yearnings and aspirations within the confines of the laws of the land.

The Nigerian military has reportedly clashed with IPOB members in Abia and Rivers states, which made the government of Abia State to declare a three-day curfew in Aba on Tuesday.

The PDP said at this time that tempers seem to be flaring up, dialogue, rather than violence was the only viable option to resolve whatever problems are on ground in the South-east and indeed the entire country.

It stressed that at a critical juncture in which Nigeria is grappling with numerous challenges in virtually all facets, the country could ill afford a further descent into anarchy in any of its constituent parts.

Mr. Markafi said: "What the country needs at this time is an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, without which no meaningful positive development in whatever sector can be attained, and the situation unfolding in the South-east, which is a very important component of the Nigerian family, is no doubt, inimical to our collective quest to take Nigeria higher.

"It is therefore in our enlightened interest as a people and as a nation to rise up to this challenge intelligently without undue egotism, and with the best interest of the country at heart."

The party said it believes the situation was a family squabble that the country should be able to deal with without unnecessary bloodshed.

It reminded "both the government and IPOB that no matter whatever would eventually happen, at the end of the day, a sit-down is inevitable; it is always better to make it a first resort."

PDP further appealed to the government even as it goes about discharging its constitutional mandate of ensuring the protection of the territorial integrity of the country, to deploy constructive engagement, involving effective and efficient communication strategies that would allay all fears as well as assure all component parts of Nigeria of their assured place in the national scheme of things.

It also appealed to the IPOB and its leadership to reciprocate such gesture where and when offered, reminding them that their continued recalcitrance would achieve nothing other than subjecting people of their area to untold hardship and harm.

The party commended the Government of Abia State for the mature way it has so far been handling the delicate situation and urged people of the state to continue to support and cooperate with it "in these difficult times that could necessitate the taking of difficult and painful, nevertheless necessary decisions."

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