|Chief Mascot Uzor Kalu|
Umuahia, the Capital of Abia State recently witnessed some upheavals that have elicited reactions from various quarters. It was reported that members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had a fracas with members of the Nigerian Army who are currently carrying out Operation Python Dance II (also known as Operation Egwu Eke II) in the South East.
The incidence occurred when the Army was said to have tried to invade the Ancestral home of the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
In another development, the Army attacked journalists at the National Union of Journalists house in Umuahia which led to series of heated exchanges on various media. Based on these developments, the Abia State Government has imposed a curfew on the State for 3 days in order to douse the tension and monitor the security situation.
The Former Chief of Staff to the Abia State Governor and a renowned Investment Banker, Chief Mascot Uzor Kalu has lent his voice to speak about the recent altercations in Umuahia, capital of Abia State.
Chief Mascot Uzor Kalu called on all parties to tread cautiously and to recognise the sensitivity of the times. He tasked the Army personnel that are on Federal assignment to focus on maintaining peace and order rather than heating up the polity. In his remarks, he said – ‘’One must understand the very strange circumstance in which Abians have found themselves. However, the Army must go about their lawful duty without unduly harassing or intimidating law-abiding citizens. It is possible to achieve peace without exhibiting a reckless display of force that might infuriate the sensibilities of peace-loving Abians.’’
On the other hand, he called on the members of IPOB to know that their desires can be conveyed to the appropriate authorities without resorting to violence. He said that there is the need for calm because no one benefits when the State is thrown into chaos. He asked them to always think about the children and the aged who may be put in harm’s way if things are not done in a proper manner. Chief Mascot commended the leadership of the Army that was quick to distance themselves from the unruly behaviour of their personnel at the NUJ house.
He said – ‘’There are so many angles to this current melee but we need to address the core issues in a pragmatic manner. I do not subscribe to violence or undue intimidation by any group in order to score a point. People must embrace the channel of dialogue in order to find a way to forge ahead irrespective of our differences.’’
Chief Kalu reminded Abians to keep upholding the lofty ideals for which they are known. He said that Abia State has etched its name in gold based on the result of the Aba Women’s Riot in November 1929 which led to the appointment of women to serve on Native Courts. Also, the triumph of Enyimba Football Club of Aba on the continental turf in 2003 and 2004 (African Champions League) remains strong in the memories of sports loving Nigerians.
In the area of commerce, the State has continued to thrive as members of the Leather Products Manufacturers Association (LEPMAS) in Abia State received a N10.4 million loan from the Bank of Agriculture. The loan, aimed at supporting the standardization of finished leather products, was facilitated by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and Market Development in the Niger Delta (MADE).
He further said that – ‘’Industrialisation is what catalysed the development of today’s advanced economies and Abia State is poised to play a pivotal role in helping Nigeria reach for new heights’’.
He reminded the citizens that the goal of building a self sustaining State which does not solely rely on Federal Government subventions must be pursued. According to him, Abia State has all the potentials to become the hub of commerce and industry in the West African region.
As part of his charge to Abians, he reiterated that – ‘’Every time we look for ways to build on our accomplishments; we are carving a niche for ourselves and working for posterity. I will urge all the good citizens of Abia State to remain focused and carry out their lawful business even in these trying times. I know that the birth pangs that we feel today will ultimately lead to the development of a viable and very prosperous Abia State.’’
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