S/EAST AGITATIONS: ODINKALU HEADS TRUTH, JUSTICE & PEACE COMMITTEE TO ENGAGE WITH IPOB, OTHERS

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    Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, the academic, lawyer and former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has been appointed by Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State to head a 15-member Committee charged with addressing the alarming state of insecurity, banditry and agitations in the state and in the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria in general.

    In a a statement issued on Wednesday by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, the Odinkalu-led Truth, Justice and Peace Committee, which is set to be inaugurated in a-yet-to be announced date, has 6 months to conclude its activities.

    The membership of the Committee, which cuts across the 5 South Eastern states (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo) includes such heavyweights as Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu, widow of the late Biafran leader and Nigeria’s former ambassador to Spain (who serves as the Committee’s secretary); Dr Joe Nwaorgu; Dr Udenta Udenta; and the noted correctional reforms advocate Dr Uju Agomoh. Others are Rev. Monsignor Jerome Madueke; Canon Dr. Okechukwu C. Obi-Okoye; popular artiste and TV personality Charles Oputa (aka Charly Boy); Dr. John Otu; Mr. Ngozi Odumuko; the elegant stallion Onyeka Onwenu; Dr. Joe Abah; Mr. Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu; Mr. Sam Egwuatu and Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu.

    According to the statement, the purpose of the Committee is to seek a restorative justice approach based on facts, aimed at healing the victims of the violence, addressing the responsibility and accountability of the actors, conditional mercy for the repentant perpetrators, restitution for certain losses and rehabilitation of the perpetrators, for the overall aim of restoring peace and justice as well as the promotion of development in Anambra State, the region and Nigeria as a whole.

    “Given the cross-border nature of the conflict,” the statement added, “the focus goes beyond Anambra; it covers the entire Southeast. Specifically, the Terms of Reference for the Committee are to identify the remote and immediate causes of the agitations, restiveness, violence, and armed struggle in the South East since 1999; and document victims/circumstances of death, brutality and incarceration. It is also to identify stakeholders and groups who have played critical roles in the agitations and conflicts, their roles, capabilities and demands; address any other issue(s) that may be germane to unravelling the extent of the crisis and charting a roadmap for the future; and make recommendations for sustainable peace and security in Anambra State and the South-east.

    The statement assured all stakeholders that the Committee shall be free to draw up the methodology to accomplish its assignment.

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