The Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion of Nigeria holding in Awka, Anambra state which was scheduled to end on Friday, September 23 ended abruptly yesterday out of fear of the threat by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).
Their fear was that about 170 bishops and their delegates attending the meeting could be trapped because of the sit-at-home protest declared by the IPOB for September 23.
IPOB had threatened that markets, banks and other institutions would be shut down on Friday, while movement would be restricted in the South-East and beyond as a protest over the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, by the federal government.
The Bishops had Implored IPOB not to execute their threat. The Primate of the Anglican Communion, Most Revd Nicolas Okoh, had pleaded: “We are not against whatever their agitations are, but we ask them to wait until we leave Awka on Friday.”
The Primate had earlier in the conference expressed fear that the bishops could be trapped in the state should their meeting go on as scheduled.
He had asked the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, to prevail on IPOB members to shelve their Friday protest so that the bishops’ conference could go on.
He said the IPOB sit-at-home protest would hamper their activities and movement of the delegates and we may be trapped in Anambra AS bridge head is the only exit way.
While delivering his opening address at the conference which held at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith, the Archbishop, Primate appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to immediately disarm the Fulani herdsmen who he said have destabilized the peace of the country.
“The Standing Committee wishes to make passionate appeal to the militants to spare our economy and stop the bombing of oil facilities. Shutting down the economy is like pulling down the roofs with all of us inside; nobody will escape the negative impact. We equally call on those who can reach them to join in this appeal for the greater good of all.
“The presence of herdsmen in our countryside is not new, they have always been around. What is, however, new are the unprovoked attacks on their host communities sometimes justified by saying that cow is missing. They lay ambush and waylay people going to their farms, rape women and destroy farmlands; and their victims are at their mercy because they are armed. We call on the federal government to immediately disarm this people to return Nigeria to a state of peace.
“Our roads are in bad condition all across the country. Since our major means of transport is road, we call on the federal government to give the required attention to the roads to reduce the inconveniences, accidents and deaths.
“Airlines operating in the country are going through difficult times, some have grounded operations. No doubt, we need them. We therefore call on the federal government to expedite action on floating the national carrier or rejuvenate the private ones to enable them perform better. Further in this area is the persistent scarcity of aviation fuel which has troubled the country, disrupted many programmes, government and private. We call on the government to solve the problem of aviation fuel permanently so that people can move about their businesses with less difficulty within the country”, they concluded.