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Soldiers’ killing in Abia: Kalu Inaugurates Peace Fund for Victims of Insecurity

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…Over N30 million generated within 24 hours

…as PISE-P members call for calm in Aba

Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has inaugurated a 7man Peace Fund Committee to help raise financial assistance for the victims of insecurity in the South East region.

This was made known in a statement signed by Levinus Nwabughiogu; Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

It will be recalled that the deputy speaker during his condolence visit to 144 Battalion Headquarters in Asa, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State on Sunday announced the setting up of the committee and subsequently made a donation of N10 million to kick start the process.

Barely 24 hours after the launching of the Fund, over N30 million has been contributed by well-meaning members of society from around the country and abroad.

Inaugurating the committee in Bende Local government area of Abia State Sunday night, Kalu named a member of Peace In South East Project (PISE-P), Chief Daniel Akwari as the Chairman and another member, Mrs. Mary Ikoku as the Secretary.

Also, a former speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martins Azubuike is to serve as the treasurer while another member of PISE-P, Sam Ifeanyi Hart will serve as the publicity secretary.

Other members of the committee included the former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, Ph.D; the member representing Bogoro/Das/ Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jaafaru Leko as well the member representing Birnin Kebbi Kalgo Bunza Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed.

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While charging them to be accountable and transparent in their operations, Kalu said that the Peace Fund was in consonance with the rehabilitation objective of PISE-P which he founded alongside the members of the parliament from the South East region.

The deputy speaker also stated that the programme was in tune with the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in restoring hope in many families affected by insecurity.

Kalu further charged the committee to ensure that accurate demographic data of the affected families was gathered, adding that they also have his mandate to reach out to spirited individuals, corporate organisations and agencies in the society to appeal for their support to the Fund.

He said: “Remembering the widows and family members of our fallen heroes in the security forces will make them proud that their husband’s did not labour in vain and motivate those still serving to give their all on their job. Your mandate also extends to communities that have been ravaged by insecurity to provide sucour to them and restore their hope. You are the kickstarters of the Project. Your Committee will soon be expanded to accommodate other interests and critical stakeholders. You are starting from the South East but your mandate will extend beyond the region in due course. Ensure you work with data and remain above board at all times. I have no doubt that with the caliber of people on the Committee, you will meet our expectations”.

Reacting to the killing of the soldiers in Aba, the chairman of the Fund committee, Chief Akwari described the incident as unfortunate.

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“First, let me start by saying that what happened in Aba is one of the most unfortunate incidents. I see people behaving like complete mad people. I wonder what makes human beings to take up arms to go and fight the military. You have no right whatsoever to take up arms against anyone, let alone taking up arms against the military. It is unheard of. It’s not part of our culture. The Deputy Speaker’s visit calls for kudos. He has to abandon the activities in Abuja and decide to come and interface with the bereaved families. That shows humanity. To sympathize with these women that lost their husbands, I commend him, for bringing all of us. He brought some of the members from the northern part of the country to follow him to go and sympathize with the bereaved family”.

Similarly, the committee’s treasurer, Azubuike condemned the ill development.

“Let me add my voice to various others that have condemned this incident, it should not have happened especially at a time like this that we have been working so hard to ensure peace in the south east using non kinetic approach. The call led by the deputy speaker last December is resonating. The government at the center is buying into it and well meaning Nigerians from south East and other regions. We are making progress on it and this happened. We condemn this act. We are pleading with our military and they’ve bought into it. Today they are co-driving a campaign known as Udoka which is akin to what we are preaching in southeast, Udo Ka Nma (Peace is better). I want to thank the deputy speaker for this visit today because it will encourage the military and those still in the service and also condoling those who have lost gallant officers. And also the fund to take care of them is another credit. The first fund that came in I can tell is from a northerner, and that’s the new Nigeria we want to see”.

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Other members of the PISE-P who also condemned the act and lauded the setting up of the Fund included the former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka and also another former Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Stanley Ohajuruka.

Signed:

Levinus Nwabughiogu, Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Federal Republic of Nigeria

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