A diaspora Igbo sociocultural organisation, Igbo Ekunie Initiative, on Saturday insisted that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was not a terrorist organisation.
It said the purported proscription of the organisation by the Federal Government was presumptuous and uncalled for.
Speaking at a press conference in Awka, the Anambra State capital, President of the organisation, Mr Tochukwu Ezeoke, asked President Muhammadu Buhari to dialogue with IPOB before 2019 general election or the Igbo would be forced to review their relationship with him and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The group said, “2019 is around the corner. It’s a time to take decision. Herdsmen cannot be killing our people and somebody will look the other way, but proscribed IPOB that is innocuous. It is disingenuous to allow that”.
“We therefore call on President Buhari, governors of the South East, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, opinion leaders, and human rights groups to engage IPOB and other self determination groups in fruitful dialogue that will address their grievances and permanently end agitation across Nigeria.
“In the same vein, we call for immediate withdrawal of all charges against IPOB members and the unconditional release of all their detained members.
“In a democratic and heterogeneous state, dialogue should be championed above repression as that is the only way to achieve lasting peace.”
While lambasting the Buhari’s government for what it called “returning Nigeria to full blown marginalisation and vexed politics of exclusion”, the group restated the need for restructuring of the country.
“By now, it should be obvious that the status quo is unsustainable and attempting to retain it is at best suicidal,” it noted.
“The time has come for fundamental restructuring of Nigerian state to a structure and system that provide optimal governance that meets the needs of the populace and more importantly allows each region to develop at their own pace.
“The fundamental of restructuring suffer no conflict, as all proponents, virtually agree that more control/ autonomy in all facets should be given to states and regions as the case may be.”