Human Rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, and former Minister of Power Professor Chinedu Nebo have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to order immediate release of the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Ozekhome spoke in a keynote address at the Handshake Across The Niger 2, held in Enugu. The forum organized by Nzuko Umumna is a project seeking to close the gap among major tribes in the country for a better Nigeria. The famous lawyer expressed concern sadness that a Nigerian court ordered the release of Kanu but the federal government which should protect the rights of its citizens filed for a stay of execution.
Ozekhome, who is the lead counsel for the IPOB leader, insisted that Kanu never jumped bail as was erroneously bandied by the federal government.
He said, Kanu rather escaped to save his life, which was heavily under threat during the invasion of his home by the armed soldiers. He said, “We are telling the federal government that this is not proper. Set this man free. Nnamdi Kanu is not well. He has ear pains. The DSS doctors have confirmed that he is not doing well, health wise.
“But they would still not allow him access to his own private doctor. We have told the Supreme Court to do the needful. The case has been adjourned till 11th of May. “Please sir, on my bended knees, you can order the release of Nnamdi Kanu today. You can do it through the Attorney General of the Federation, who has the power to discontinue the case. You don’t have to wait for the Supreme Court decision before you do the right thing.
“For the information of those harbouring the thought that it was an illegality or unconstitutionality, his self determination agitation, is in line with the Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); African Charter of Human and People’s Rights; Article 3&4 of United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (2007) among others.”
Newly inaugurated president of Nzuko Umunna, Prof Nebo explained that the group’s major focus will be the Economic Integration of the Southeast and Igbo speaking areas.
“We will work with Ohanaeze Ndigbo to provide channels for cohesive engagement. We will do our best to do heavy lifting in areas of Economic Integration, Health and Education advocacy and sustaining National alliance with our partners.
“Handshakes Across Nigeria is a channel for the continuous engagement of our partners in the New Nigeria project and we shall continue to oil this vehicle”, he said.
The presidential candidate of Labour Party in the last general elections, Peter Obi, commended the Nzuko Umunna headed by former minister of power, Prof. Chinedum Nebo, for their initiative in trying to engineer good governance and ensure peaceful and harmonious coexistence between the Igbo and other Nigerians.
“All we want is a better Nigeria, where our children will live without regrets, where son of nobody will rise to any position he worked for on merits. We must continue to work until Nigeria becomes what all of us want if not, if we don’t do something, it will consume all of us. Anarchy knows no class. Once it sets in, it will consume everybody”, Obi said.
The Tor Tiv and Chairman of the Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse said the Handshake Across The Niger by Nzuko Umunna is what Nigeria everywhere needs to do. He said, “The challenge of Nigeria is the failure to build bridges. Nzuko Umunna is drawing us to something very important that we have failed to do overtime”.
He called for self examination, justice, equity and fairness in trying to build bridges of peace across the country, calling upon all people of goodwill to support what the group is doing because Nigeria needs it. Newly inaugurated president of Nzuko Umunna, Prof Nebo joined Ozhekome in the call for the release of the IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu urging Mr. President to set him free before leaving office.
He explained that the group’s major focus will be the Economic Integration of the Southeast and Igbo speaking areas.
“We will work with Ohanaeze Ndigbo to provide channels for cohesive engagement. We will do our best to do heavy lifting in areas of Economic Integration, Health and Education advocacy and sustaining National alliance with our partners. Handshakes Across Nigeria is a channel for the continuous engagement of our partners in the New Nigeria project and we shall continue to oil this vehicle”, he said.
The event was attended by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; the Deputy Governor of Imo, Prof Placid Njoku and Gov. David Umahi sent in a representative. Others are: Dr Peter Mbah, Governor-elect of Enugu State; the Deji of Akure, Aare Gani Adams, Aare OnaKakanfo of Yorubaland, chairman of Ekiti state council of Obas and host of others.