The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Benjamin Kalu has advised gunmen operating in the South East to come out of the bushes, drop their guns and negotiate for better jobs and a sound future from the Federal government.
This is even as he launched a Food-For-Peace Program, to tackle hunger in the South East.
Kalu, who addressed journalists in Bende during an All Progressives Congress, APC, stakeholders’ meeting and empowerment program for his constituents, said that President Bola Tinubu has been fair to the South East in appointments and other developmental programs.
He lamented that the economy of the South East region was destroyed by the effects of sit-at-home in parts of the zone, which according to him, made many investors of South East origin flee the area.
The Deputy Speaker described the actions of unknown gunmen as an affront to the Federal Government, arguing that resorting to violence was at the detriment of the South East economy and general development.
Kalu however advised all the agitators in the South East who are still operating from the bush to drop their guns and embrace the Federal Government’s calls for peace, using the Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) as a vehicle.
He noted that Tinubu has given key positions to the Igbos including the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Minister of Works, Chief of Naval Staff and others, he deserves total support of the Igbo nation now and in his future political interests.
Kalu disclosed that he is interested in the release of IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention but said that the process for Kanu’s release can be hastened if enforcers of the sit-at-home and actors of other violent crimes in the South East dropped their guns and embrace peace.
“Sit-at-home is the biggest folly. You can’t match or outrun the fire power of the Federal Government. The best approach is to reduce the level of violence in the South East.
“Tinubu did not contribute to the incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu. Why will we punish him for what he did not do? Calm down, return the guns to the security agencies because PISE-P is designed to create jobs for you,” he advised the unknown gunmen.
He recalled how the Tinubu/Shettima campaign office he established in Abia State was destroyed with more than 200 bullets fired by gunmen before the 2023 general election.
The Deputy Speaker however expressed joy that PISE-P has yielded fruit with the relative peace recorded throughout the South East during the Yuletide.
He also spoke of the need for social cohesion between Ndigbo and other tribes, for the development of the South East.
During the stakeholders’ meeting, about 25 members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the constituency defected to the APC.