By Leonard Okachie/Ihechi Chigemere-Uwom
The co-Chair, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, has called for the release of Miss Leah Shuaibu, who has spent four years in captivity with her abductors.
Onuoha made the call on Wednesday in a keynote address at a one-day National Security Sensitisation and Re-orientation Campaign in Umuahia.
The theme of the campaign, organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), was “Building a people of peace: Towards Enhancing National Security”.
The News of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Shuaibu was among the 110 students abducted on February 19, 2018 by the Boko Haram insurgents at the Government Girls’ Science Technical College, Dapchi.
Some girls were released later by the insurgents but Shuaibu and a few others are still in captivity.
Onuoha, who is the President of Vision Africa Radio, Umuahia, described Shuaibu as “an image becoming increasingly difficult to explain to the young generation, the youths and international friends.
“Why has Leah remained in the hands of her abductors for four years now?
“The truth remains that as long as Leah and others remain captives we all are in captivity,” he said.
The clergyman also called on government at various levels to invest in youth education and empowerment programmes.
He described such measure as the only panacea against youth ectiveness and violence in the country.
He further urged the government to quickly address the yawning gap between the rich and poor and rescuscitate the nation’s middle class.
Onuoha called for the abolition of the “state of origin” policy in government documentation.
NAN reports that the campaign was organised by NOA, in collaboration with the Abia State Ministry of Information and Strategy.
In a speech, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu expressed government’s readiness to partner with NOA to promote national security.
Ikpeazu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Chris Ezem, said that the theme addressed the current nation’s need to tackle the security challenges in the country.
He promised that the government would provide adequate support to the agency to boost its sensitisation and advocacy campaigns on the issue.
“I charge everyone to be security conscious, provide the relevant agencies with intelligence reports and report all suspicious movements around us,” Ikpeazu said.
Earlier, Dr Ngozi Okechukwu, the State Director of the agency, described peace as the cornerstone of development and social reintegration.
Okechukwu described the task of building a safer and secure nation as the responsibility of every citizen.
“If we fail to take decisive actions to improve the GDP, foreign reserve, employment, electricity and stop inflation and foreign debt, for sure youth agitations will continue and we may not escape the mayhem,” she said.
Also, the Corp Marshall of Federal Road Safety Corp, Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, said that peace and security remained fundamental to societal growth and economic advancement.
Oyeyemi, represented by the Sector Commander of the corps in Abia, Mr Paul Ugwu, promised that the organisation would work in synergy with the agency to ensure that the objectives of the campaign would be achieved.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Janet Agbede, described education as an important factor in addressing the problem of insecurity and building national security.
Agbede, represented by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Odion Ekeinde, described public education as an effective tool for mobilising the citizenry to support government’s efforts in building national security.
Earlier, Mr Kenneth Nwosu, the Chairman of the occasion, commended the agency for its efforts in discharging its mandate of educating the public to develop progressive orientation.
Nwosu called on relevant agencies to evolve efficient strategies on peace-building to complement the efforts of NOA to build a secure and safer nation.
In an interview with newsmen, Dr Eze Chikamnayo, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said the campaign was part of government’s efforts to further deepen people’s orientation for peace and security in Abia.
NAN reports that the event featured the investiture of the patrons of War Against Indiscipline, and presentation of the Abia Mobiliser, a NOA magazine on wide-range strategies on peace-building. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)