Crises in S’East region reducing under Tinubu, Kalu tells ECOWAS Parliament

Benjamin Kalu, Deputy Speaker

…says President is preaching peace through non-kinetic means

By Tom Okpe

Deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Benjamin Okezie Kalu, has said crises in the South East region occasioned by various agitations have drastically reduced.

He credited the development to the new approach of non-kinetic, adopted by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, saying it is a paradigm shift from the norms.

Kalu gave the testimony at the plenary session of the ongoing 2024 First Ordinary Season of the Sixth Legislature of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament in Abuja on Monday.

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The Deputy Speaker, who was recently inaugurated as a member of the Parliament, said the military has toned down their operations and have heeded the directive of President Tinubu in subscribing to the non-kinetic means of settling conflicts in the zone, rather than wielding the guns.

Kalu revealed that this understanding has helped to restore tranquility in the region and enabled the zone to appeal to the authorities to release the agitators, who are in prison by activating a political solution.

He enjoined the sub-regional body to adopt the same measure in resolving similar issues, saying it is yielding positive results.

“The usual tradition has been to send the military with their arms to crisis areas, to the battle of barrels of guns against barrels of guns. But there is a new wave now in my country where issues are being resolved without sending a military task force with guns.

“It’s a non-kinetic approach. It’s happening in my region, the southeastern region.

“Before the emergence of this administration, it was about Operation Crocodile, Operation Lion, Operation this and that. But through his initiative, he has been able to speak to the military, to look at sociological problems that remain the causative factors for the crisis and begin to look at ways of interpreting them and finding ways to bring the people to the table for resolution purposes.

“It’s a good template that Africa should actually absorb, that ECOWAS should also look into

“It’s working in my region, the nerves that we frayed before now, those who were agitating, the radicalized ones are beginning to see opportunities to look at non kinetic approaches towards resolving the conflict in the area.

“Remember, I mentioned that my zone is the zone that suffered from the civil war.

So, the pain is still there but the approach Mr President is using now is calming the tension there, and it’s commendable.

“We are also hopeful that the region, through this non kinetic approach, is reaching out to the administration, to release some of the people who are in prison for the agitation for separation through non litigious ways.

“My region is getting calmer than it used to be. So, it’s something that we must report,” Kalu stated.

Speaking with Journalists shortly afterwards, Kalu said that the President is supporting the Peace In East Project, PISE-P, in its bid to provide the needed peace and infrastructure for the people in the region.

“It’s important to note that this current administration is actually unique in the sense that they have a new paradigm shift from how crises have been managed over the years.

“And I raised it before the ECOWAS parliament that the president supported the initiative I birthed, which is Peace In South East Project, PISE-P, by sending the vice president to represent him at the official unveiling of the project.

“You are aware that over the years what we have had in Nigeria has been Operation Lion, Operation Crocodile, Operation where military men are sent to crisis areas with a lot of guns. And he is saying, no, this is a new dimension. There is a new dimension to conflict resolution.

“One of them is to find out the causative factors that birthed the conflict and find a way to resolve them using the table, not the gun. So the president is preaching the use the table, not the guns.

“And I heard the chief of army staff visiting the various battalions and barracks across the country and preaching to them the non-kinetic approach.

“The president is supporting me so much in my peace project of reconciling my people fully without the sounds of guns. The barrels of guns. And that is a new thing in Nigeria.”

The Deputy Speaker also used the occasion to congratulate the President on his reelection as the Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments.

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