Kanu’s Release: South East Govs, Leaders Under Fire

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Igbo youths have accused the five South East governors and other political and religious leaders of the region of abandoning the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in detention.

The Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) categorically claimed that the politics of 2023 had taken pre-eminence over the fate of the Biafra agitator who has been incarcerated for almost 18 months after he was intercepted and renditioned from Kenya, by the federal government, June last year.

Slammed with terrorism charges, Kanu was acquitted by the Court of Appeal, before the federal government proceeded to the Supreme Court. There were other judgements indicating that the IPOB leader’s incarceration was illegal, including the order by the United Nations Committee on Human Rights for him to be freed unconditionally.

President General of COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem said that Kanu was key to peace and stability in the zone, noting that it would be detrimental to the South East governors and politicians to allow him remain in custody during next year’s elections.

The youths warned that some criminal elements might capitalise on the loophole to cause mayhem and disrupt the 2023 elections in the zone.

“It is very unfortunate that the South East governors and key political stakeholders have abandoned the move to secure the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and concentrate on politics, campaigns and electioneering.

“We implore the South East governors to leave politics for now and work out on how to secure the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu. It is better for our governors to look for the black goat in day time than to wait till night when it will be very difficult to get a black goat,” Ibem admonished.

Recently, the wife of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the late Biafra leader, Bianca Ojukwu, stated that no nation stifles the dreams of its citizens and expects peace.

Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Kanu during the 12th Ojukwu Day held in Owerri, Imo State on November 26, she declared: “I do so, firmly convinced that no nation can hold its people hostage and have peace, it is impossible because peace is freedom and also no nation can hold the dreams of its citizens to ransom and prosper.”

Also, the Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) maintained that the unconditional release of the IPOB leader, will calm tension in the region and restore relative peace.

It could be recalled that the South East Governors’ Forum during its meeting on November 30 in Enugu, declared that political solution was still best way to go in the Kanu matter.

In their communiqué read to newsmen by the chairman and governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, they said: “South East Governors are watching with keen interest, the developments with respect to the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu viz-a-viz the Court rulings. However, we believe that a political solution is still very much possible in the circumstance and so we ask the federal government that we are disposed as a people for political solution in this regard.”

Saturday Sun reliably gathered about two months ago that the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, reached out to the Presidency for a possible meeting over the issue.

Though, the Ohanaeze National Secretariat had declined to speak on the effort made so far, former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife hinted of behind the scene moves to secure Kanu’s release.

Ezeife, who said that the Court of Appeal judgement in favour of the self-determination activist was in line with the current spirit of a new Nigeria sweeping across the country, especially amongst young people, posited that the earlier the IPOB leader was released, the better for Eastern Nigeria, the nation and the whole black race.

“I must tell you that our leader, Professor George Obiozor; the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo called me the same day when the issue came up and said he is preparing for us to go to the president and persuade him to do the right thing and I told him that I am ready. Very soon we will organise that appointment and we will go to the president,” the elder statesman had stated.

President Muhammadu Buhari had in previous meetings with delegations of Igbo elders told them that he would not interfere with the judicial process, urging them to allow the court decide Kanu’s fate.

Meanwhile, former National Legal Adviser of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Chief Chuks Muoma, has doubted that Ohanaeze could really pull the strings to free Kanu.

He told Saturday Sun that from his experience during his tenure between 2017 and 2021, the group was not effective in protecting their own from outside exploitation.

“I have never been impressed with the activities of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as a body, due to the make-up. It doesn’t matter who is heading it at any given time, because it has always been made up of people with their own individual agenda, instead of the overall interest of the Igbo.

“It lacks the will power to fight the philosophy of Igbo survival, though there are very few patriotic Igbo that ought to lead the people.”

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia said, however, that the group was not disposed to joining issues with anybody. He insisted that the body was making what he termed “private and confidential” moves to free the embattled IPOB leader.

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