By Christian ABURIME
Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, Anambra State Governor has officially set the truth, justice and peace committee as part of the steps the government is adopting towards building and restoring peace and tranquillity to Anambra State.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof Solo Chukwulobelu officially made this known when he addressed a press conference at Government House, Awka, on Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Below is the full text of the Press briefing
TRUTH, JUSTICE AND PEACE COMMITTEE
Nigeria is facing a historic security challenge, with the character and breadth of the conflicts differing in several parts of the country. In the Southeast of Nigeria, there is a mixture of separatist agitations with crass criminality. Despite the efforts by law enforcement agencies and enormous human and financial resources expended in the bid to contain the conflicts, including the banning/criminalizing of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the insurgency (kidnapping, arson, brutal murder of innocent persons, etc) continues to escalate with humongous toll in lives, livelihoods and properties lost daily.
Following the arrest and detention of the leader of IPOB, the organization had, on August 9, 2021 issued a Sit-at-Home order every Monday throughout the Southeast. The brutal enforcement of the order has caused numerous deaths and incalculable damage to the economy of the Southeast. Despite the repeated announcements by IPOB leadership of the cancellation of the Monday Sit-at-Home order, there is continued vicious enforcement by disparate criminal gangs. Currently, every criminal gang claims to be freedom fighters. In addition to the Monday Sit at Home and its colossal costs, the region is daily experiencing unrelenting doses of kidnapping, killing of innocent persons, banditry, arson, etc. It is estimated that so far more than 150 police and other security personnel as well as an unknown number of innocent persons and criminals have been killed in the raging conflict.Anambra is a key state in the Southeast and Nigeria and has suffered heavily from the unrelenting conflict.
With the cross-border nature of the crisis, no sustainable solution in one state can happen without a comprehensive understanding of the regional and national dimensions. For example, recent arrests of some of the criminals showed that 85% of them are indigenes of one Southeast state and the remaining 15% from another Southeast state. Not one of them was an indigene of Anambra state. Anambra state, and indeed, the Southeast have huge potentials to leapfrog into an axis of prosperity. But the current crisis poses a near existential challenge which must be tackled with every means possible.
A sickness accurately diagnosed is halfway to its cure. So far, there have been ad-hoc discussions about, and reactions to, the raging conflict. There has been no systematic platform or framework to engage the various stakeholders with a view to understanding the causes and dynamics of the conflict. Thousands (mostly innocent persons) have died, injured or dispossessed but these have been largely treated as mere statistics.
How did we get here, and where do we go from here? It is our view that the current situation goes beyond a law enforcement problem. To get to the root of the problem and craft a comprehensive and credible roadmap to the future, we have decided to constitute a “TRUTH, JUSTICE AND PEACE COMMITTEE”.
2.0 The Purpose/Terms of Reference of the Committee:
The purpose of the Committee on Truth, Justice, and Peace is to seek a restorative justice approach for truth-telling or real facts, for the healing of the victims of the violence, accounting for 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 restoration of peace and justice as well as the promotion of development in the State, and the region/Nigeria.
Given the cross-border nature of the conflict, the focus goes beyond Anambra, and possibly covers the entire Southeast.
Specifically, the Terms of Reference for the Committee are:
1) To identify the remote and immediate causes of the agitations, restiveness, violence, and armed struggle in the South East since 1999.
2) Document victims/circumstances of death, brutality and incarceration.
3) Identify stakeholders and groups who have played critical roles in the agitations and conflicts, their roles, capabilities and demands.
4) Address any other issue(s) that may be germane to unravelling the extent of the crisis and charting the roadmap for the future.
5) Make recommendations for sustainable peace and security in Anambra state/Southeast.
The Committee shall have a direct reporting line to the Governor or his designee, and will be provided with administrative support. The Committee shall be free to draw up the methodology to accomplish its assignment.
3.0 Time Frame:
The Committee shall conclude its work no later than 6 months from its inauguration, with its preliminary report due no later than 2 months after the sunset and the final report after 2 months of receiving feedback on the preliminary report from the government. The Committee shall be inaugurated on a date to be communicated to its members.
The members of the Committee are as follows:
1) Professor Chidi Odinkalu— Chairman
2) HE Amb. Bianca Ojukwu — Member/Secretary
3) Dr. Joe NwaorguDr. Udenta Udenta – Member
4) Dr. Uju Agomoh — Member
5) Rev. Fr (Msgnr) Jerome Madueke
6) Canon Dr. Okechukwu C. Obi-Okoye
7) Mr. Charles Oputa (Charly Boy)
8) Dr. John Otu
9) Mr. Ngozi Odumuko
10) Ms Onyeka Onwenu
11)Dr. Joe Abah
12) Mr. Chukwuma Okpalaezeukwu
13) Mr. Sam Egwuatu
14) Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu
Prof. Solo Osita Chukwulobelu
Secretary to the State Government, Anambra State.
5th April, 2022