By Tony Adibe
A former national chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and senatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for Anambra Central in the 2023 election, Chief Victor Umeh has appealed to the federal government to release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu without further delay having been set free by the Court of Appeal.
NewsBits recalls that the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had on Friday discharged Kanu, but the Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the judgement of the court did not quash other charges against him before he left Nigeria in 2017. As a result, Kanu is still being detained by the federal government.
Briefing newsmen in Awka, capital of Anambra State, Umeh said the continued detention of the IPOB leader amounted to a violation of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. Umeh said: “In a sense the federal government has been given a golden opportunity to bring to an end the problem between IPOB and the federal government of Nigeria.
“When Nnamdi Kanu was brought home from Kenya last year, I was one of those who asked that the matter be given fair judicial adjudication. Along the line, through a suit instituted by Kanu, a court in Umuahia, Abia State quashed the charges against him and ordered that he should be released unconditionally.
“At that time, I suggested that government should use political solution to resolve the matter and end the security tension, but they did not heed the advice. Now that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the charges against him, it is trite for government to let him go because I don’t think the federal government has any further reason to continue to keep him.
“Someone who is looking for peace should know when God has given him an opening to embrace peace. This judgement by the Court of Appeal is sufficient to end all charges against Nnamdi Kanu and allow him to go. It will also help to solve the security problem in the South East.
“Every Monday there is sit-at-home in the South East, but if they release him now, that will disappear and we will have five working days in a week like others.
“The federal government has nothing to gain by continuing to detain Nnamdi Kanu. If you noticed, tension has already dropped following the court judgment and releasing him will not lead to any challenge anymore. It is for the government to rely on this judgement to release him.
“I also remember that Igbo leaders went to solicit for the unconditional release and Prof Ben Nwabueze even went on a wheelchair with Chief Mbazulike Amaechi to ask for Kanu’s release and President Buhari said he did not want to interfere in judicial processes.
“But now that the Court of Appeal has set him free, I believe that this is a golden opportunity for Mr president to rely on this judgement to release Kanu.
“I believe that if this is done, the country will be better for it, instead of trying to increase the tension by keeping him. If they obey the judgement, everyone will be happy. The recent judgement setting Kanu free was a window for the federal government to embrace peace.”