Igbo leaders under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats have appealed to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to ensure the release of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra’s leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The group led by First Republic parliamentarian and former Minister of Aviation, 93-year-old Mbazulike Amaechi, made the appeal during a visit to the State House, Abuja, on Friday.
Other members of the delegation were former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, former President of Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, Goddy Uwazurike and Tagbo Amaechi.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Buhari while responding to the Igbo leaders, stated that though the demand was heavy, he would consider it.
Buhari said unconditional release of the IPOB leader, who is currently standing trial, runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and judiciary.
The President said, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as the leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the judiciary.
“God has spared you (referring to the ex-minister), and given you a clear head at this age, with a very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”
During the meeting, the nonagenarian described the situation in the South-East as “painful and pathetic,” lamenting businesses had collapsed while education was crumbling amid fears.
He promised that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic minister still alive, “he (Kanu) would no longer say the things he had been saying.”
Meanwhile IPOB has sought the intervention of the United Kingdom, urging the British Government to embark on an “aggressive diplomatic engagement” to ensure Kanu was released unconditionally. ‘‘in the shortest possible time.’’
It also alleged that over 300 IPOB members were being held across detention camps nationwide.
The lead lawyer to IPOB, Chief Ifeanyi Ejiofor, stated these in a letter to the British High Commissioner in Nigeria dated November 17 and obtained by Saturday PUNCH in Abuja on Friday.
The petition read in part, “The British Government is respectfully urged to do everything to protect the life of its national, our client, who, from every indication, is gripped by the vice-like, vengeful, and unrelenting stranglehold of the present Federal Government of Nigeria. Britain cannot afford to shirk the obligation it owes our client.
Similarly, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has condemned the condition Kanu was allegedly subjected to at the detention facility of the Department of the State Services.
The spokesman for Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, who spoke to our correspondent in Enugu, noted, “Ohanaeze advises that Nnamdi Kanu should be handled with care and whatever is happening should fit into the global best practices; trial of Nnamdi Kanu, condition he stays should be made open.”
This is just as the Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia issued an order restraining security agencies from deploying their personnel to the court premises each time Kanu’s case is being heard.
The court, presided over by Justice Benson Anya, also restrained them from arresting anybody who attends the court to witness Kanu’s proceedings.
The order was prompted by over 100 security agents who cordoned off the premises of the Abia State High Court in Umuahia at the resumed hearing of Kanu’s human rights suit against the Federal Government and seven others filed by his special counsel, Aloy Ejimakor.
The suit is aimed at challenging Kanu’s abduction in Kenya and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria.
The matter was adjourned to December 10, 2021 for adoption of processes and a hearing on the substantive application seeking Kanu’s release from detention and his repatriation to Britain.
Meanwhile, IPOB has alleged a plot by the Federal Government to kill Kanu in detention and declare a state of emergency in ‘Biafraland.’