The Deputy Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu has decried Insecurity in South-East Nigeria adding that the ripple effects have touched on every facet of life in the region.
The Federal Lawmaker disclosed this when Nollywood actors, musical artists and other performers in the entertainment industry, mainly from the south east extraction of the country paid him a courtesy visit and signed up to a new initiative to totally restore peace in the region.
Rt. Hon. Kalu further revealed that the Southeastern region has lost up to N3.8 trillion due to the sit-at-home on Mondays while the transportation sector losses were up to N13 billion, and small businesses crippled by daily losses due to the violence.
He added that the shadow casts by insecurity extends far beyond the economic losses, stressing that it suffocates the breathe of creativity.
Kalu, however, said that PISE-P which will be unveiled on December 29, 2023 in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State has articulated 8 cardinal pillars of Education; Agriculture; Commerce/Industry; Infrastructural Development; Culture and Tourism; Sports/Entertainment; Governance/Leadership and Reconciliation/Rehabilitation/Reintegration to tackle the challenges, urging all hand on deck.
He said: “That is why, in response to the challenges of the South East, a different kind of song is rising – the song of the Peace in South East Project (PISE-P). PISE-P is not about guns and boots; for the sounds of guns and the barrels of guns have not helped us in solving the problem in south east. Militarization has not helped us. Kinetic approach to resolving the problem has not been the best solution. If it is not, then there must be something out there that is better than the guns. It is about education, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, and cultural revival. It is about restoring the fertile ground where your talents can take root and soar.”
“These are the tools, pillars upon which PISE-P stands. How do we use what we have to create peace? How do we use what we have to create peace? How do we bring in those ones who are in the bush, offer them free education? How do we use enterpreneural skills to give them sense of inclusion by telling those people who are angry and agitating? We can give you a grant of N1 to N2 million and say come out from the bush. We can help you start a life. Take the grant, let’s mentor you through the Igba-Boi or let us support your business.
“How do we use agriculture, we have arable land, fertile land across south east, how do we introduce mechanized farming, increase more people that we will employ there, reduce unemployment rate in the south east, calm the nerves of those who are agitating, focus them where they can go and produce more for the nation through our region. How do you use infrastructure, how do we bring in those in the hinterlands and calm the nerves of those who feel they are not included? I can go on and on. This is what PISE-P stands for. We can no longer wait for government to do it for us.
“That’s why we are coming up with this platform which we must buy into to raise funds all around the world. There are organizations that are interested in peace and if building infrastructure will bring peace, they will come. If building those health centres will bring peace, they will come and partner with us. If redefining agriculture to mechanized farming will bring peace, they will come. If increasing the number of classroom blocks will bring peace, they will come. But they are looking for a platform. PISE-P is that platform”.
Kalu who enjoined the actors to deploy their talents towards restoring peace in south east said he was tired of seeing innocent blood of his brothers spilled on the streets.
“We call upon you, the torchbearers of Nigeria’s creative spirit, to join hands with us in this momentous task. We invite you to lend your voices, your talents, and your influence to PISE-P. Craft a social media campaign that ignites the flames of peace, a video or picture endorsement that resonates with millions, and a skit that speaks to hearts and minds in the language of laughter and shared humanity. Issue a clarion call of unity, a statement of unwavering support for the project that echoes through every corner of the land. Let us, in the spirit of your craft, rewrite the narrative. Let us replace the discord of violence with the harmonious chords of collaboration. Let us ensure that the South East becomes, once again, not just a stage for your talents, but a canvas for your dreams to flourish.
“I am tired of the blood of my brothers on the streets. You should be. Whatever explanation that is given behind it is irrelevant. I am tired of seeing the market being burned down. I am tired. You should be. I am tired of students not going to school on Mondays, losing their aspiration in academic and education, if you are not tired, I am and you should be”, he said.
In their separate responses, the actors who agreed with the deputy speaker’s position promised to be part of the project with their creative talents and skills to restore peace in the south east.
In his remarks, Zack Orji said “We are willing to partner with you. We have some projects, in due time we will be discussing some of it with you. We are looking forward to 29 December where we will be in one place to drive a message home. We are optimistic thereafter there will be peace in the South East”.
Similarly, Benedict Johnson said “I’m supporting this cause because I want a safe Igboland. Igbos are not known for killing each other, we are highly hospitable people. I plead with my colleagues to take this very seriously. We should mobilise people and make them understand the importance of peace in the southeast.”
On his part, Francis Duru said “I am elated because you presented a problem, defined an approach and embraced a technique. A non-kinetic approach. I hope you will not go off. There are so many persons waiting for this. You called, we answered, but let it not be said we answered and you left us. Please, don’t let the candle go off. We’ve started and we are not going back.”
Yul Edochie on his own said “History will be kind to you, sir. You have started something laudable. We are in support of this. We can come up with a lot of strategies for peace in the Southeast.”
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