Nigerian Women in Clergy has cautioned pro-Biafran groups, Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to suspend their street protests in the interest of peace.
The clergy women under the leadership of Prophetess Nonnie Robberson had in their message to the group emphasised on the importance of dialogue against violent protest that will further lead to deaths and destruction of property in the South East.
A statement issued on behalf of the group by its President, Prophetess Nonnie Robberson, said violent agitation that led to Biafran war was to the disadvantage of all, asserting that victims of the war who managed to survive have continued to tell their horrible stories. She said Nigeria as country would have gone beyond the level it finds itself today, if not for the setback of the war.
Nonnie who advised the group to view dialogue as a better option said, “I was conceived and born during the Biafran war, and it hurts me so much when I recall the pain my mother went through during the period. Reviving this agitation through street protests will further re-awaken the scars most of us have decided to leave behind; hence it’s time to shield the sword.
“Even though the demand for self- determination appears to be within the United Nations charter provisions, the way we go about it will either make or mar our good intention. I will advise that we change our approach as we make our demands. We must not leave the substance or rather, the reason for the protest. We must go back to why we are demanding for self-determination. If the government is ready and willing to address those problems such as unemployment, equal representation, under-development and other sundry issues, then Biafra will have no reason to break away or ask further questions.
Nonnie further said that, ” It’s however difficult to achieve all these by merely invading the streets in protest. It’s difficult to achieve any reasonable result through violent protests. The group must sit with the authorities and place their demands. The question clergy women are asking is, ‘ how does a government listen to a group on the street?’ How does a government call them for dialogue if they resort to insult, violence and intimidation? They must neutralize this radical approach for a more conservative one. By doing so, the government can then listen to them. They must not look as though they have come to attack or overthrow a government. They must be peaceful in placing their demands as they are our children. As women, we are generally known to be peaceful in all we do, and as mothers, clergy women believe that what MASSOB and IPOB seek cannot be found on the street,” Nonnie said.
The group, while calling on the President to order the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu, the alleged Director of Radio Biafra, equally advised the government to look beyond the street protest and hasten up to address the actual reason for the struggle. “The struggle which is mainly for justice, equality, empowerment, fairness, women and youths emancipation must be truly addressed by the government. We urge the government to call these groups for negotiation instead of sending the police and the army after them as force and aggression do not achieve peace,” She said.
She said government must look inward to address the issue of unemployment as majority of Nigerian youths on the streets were doing so because they are jobless. She called for a more inclusive government where everybody is given equal opportunity, saying, more than 90% of our graduate Youths have no Jobs.
“If these youths are properly engaged, the issue of street protest in the country will become a thing of the past. The problem is that majority of our youths are unemployed and unengaged and are always willing to be engaged on the street. Our youths are angry and are waiting for any opportunity to express their anger.
“We at the Nigerian Women in Clergy believe that the issue is really not about Biafra and Nigeria going their separate ways, it’s rather about unemployment, hardship, lack of basic infrastructure, hunger, segregation, exclusiveness, and a host of others. With President Buhari’s change agenda; he must endeavour to form a more inclusive government for all in order to enjoy unimaginable support from Nigerians.”
Nonnie ended by saying that the women were more interested in the unity and progress of Nigeria for the benefit of all, and were ready to offer their motherly advice any time occasion warrants such
Prophetess Nonnie Robberson