Igbo Leaders Seek Immediate Release Of Nnamdi Kanu

By NewsBits

The South-east Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on peace and conflict resolution has demanded the “immediate release” of Nnamdi Kanu.

A Court of Appeal, Abuja Division had last Thursday, quashed the remaining 7-count charge bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony preferred against the IPOB leader. The 3-man panel led by Justice Hanatu Sankey, in its judgement held that the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to try Nnamdi Kanu on the grounds of his rendition to Nigeria which violates the protocol on extradition and the OAU convention, subsequently discharging him.

However, in quick reaction, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, claimed that he was only discharged and not acquitted, insisting that Kanu still had a case to answer, and had since refused to obey the judgement and release. Subsequently the National Security Council met, agreed with Malami and advised that Kanu be kept behind bars.

But the Igbo traditional rulers and spiritual leaders’ statement jointly faulted the position of the federal government, stressing that Government cannot chose court orders to obey or not to obey.

The statement was signed by chairmen of their Traditional Rulers Council, His Majesty Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe (Anambra); His Majesty Igwe Lawrence Agubuzu (Enugu); Most Rev. Dr Chibuzo Opoko (Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia); Most Rev. Dr Valerian Okeke (Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha).

According to the leaders, “the Appeal Court judgement on Nnamdi Kanu presented “a timely and unprecedented opportunity to overcome the challenge of trust that has obstructed the path to peace, and opens the window to winning the hearts and minds of the people.

“We note the opinion emanating from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding the ongoing legal action instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu which was issued on July 20, 2022.

“Among many recommendations or requests made to the Federal Government, the opinion called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in detention for over one year, following his rendition from Kenya in June 2021.”

They insisted that “In the recent past, the joint body (traditional and clergy) has undertaken extensive and intense behind-the-scenes consultations with all stakeholders to broker a permanent, regionally coordinated restoration of the South-East to the status as the most peaceful and progressive subnational zone in Nigeria.

“The body has been consistent and persistent in its call for all stakeholders to not relent in the pursuit of peace building and resolution of security challenges in the South East based on justice, equity, fairness, love, mutual understanding, and respect of all persons.”

The Igbo leaders further demanded the unconditional release of Kanu by the Federal Government to douse the current tensions across the Southeast and create an atmosphere for collaboration towards a constructive resolution of the issues,” stressing that, “We are confident that all Nigerians will rise to the summons of history and act with courage, conviction and integrity.”

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