Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called on the federal government of Nigeria to release the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Ortom stated that Kanu was not a terrorist and his issue was a socio-political challenge that must be dealt with politically for the peace process in the country to be taken seriously.
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, United States on Wednesday.
Ortom challenged that even members of Boko Haram who pose a greater threat to the country’s unity have often been freed, resettled and some allegedly integrated into the Armed Forces.
He noted that the South-East region of Nigeria must be given a sense of belonging to erase the impression of persecution of a section of the country.
The Governor 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.
He assured that a power shift to the South-East would be possible if people of the region put their differences aside to pursue the objective of unity.
The Governor also explained that his call for freedom of worship was not only to protect the rights of Christians but to ensure all Nigerians are free to practice their faith without intimidation or molestation in any part of the country.
Earlier, Dr. Sylvester Onyia, leader of the group praised Ortom’s fearless confrontation of Nigeria’s ills, insisting 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 fear for the upcoming general election owing to the spate of insecurity in the country and called on Governor Ortom not to relent in pursuing the best security options.
They assured the governor of their support in amplifying his voice in peace-building to their representatives in the American Congress.