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The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and Igbo National Council (INC), among others, have jointly called on the Federal Government to immediately respect the order of the court by releasing the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The Eastern Updates had earlier reported that an Appeal Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Oludotun Adebola, on Thursday, discharged and acquitted him. However, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has noted that the court didn’t acquit the IPOB leader.
While reacting to the development, the MBF President, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said while Malami could say anything, national interest supersedes any personal interest.
‘If the court has adjudged Nnamdi Kanu to be free from the charges and allegations against him, Malami is free to say what he wants, but I can assure you that he can’t go far. There are things you resolve through the courts, while there are others you resolve through the political process.
‘At a time like this, both processes can be applied – political and court in the case of Kanu. We have many characters out there who are parading themselves as terrorists and whatever; in this country things have gone very wrong, but we are managing each other with a view to achieving a harmonious living in a country that is so diverse as ours.
‘Whether the judgement has some political inclinations, I wouldn’t know, but the attorney general should look at things positively as a nationalist rather than as somebody working on sentiments,’ Pogu said.
In the same vein, the President of PANDEF, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien urged the Federal Government to obey the court order and release Nnamdi Kanu.
According to him, the government should first release him and then appeal if it considers it necessary. He warned that there should be no discrimination, stressing: ‘The manner the government is handling Kanu’s matter should be the same way it handles other terrorists, kidnappers and agitators.’
Also, the Igbo National Council (INC) has warned the government against politicising the case of the IPOB leader, even as it noted that his release would ensure peace in the Southeast. President of INC, Chilos Godsent, who disclosed this in a statement, urged the Federal Government to respect the decision of the court and free Kanu; he also enjoined the Nigeria government to stop further politicisation of the case of the IPOB leader. Arewa Consultative Forum also said there was nothing wrong with the court judgment on the IPOB leader, as long as the process of law was diligently followed.
Secretary General of ACF, Murtala Aliyu, told reporters that it was the business of government if it could not defend its case in court.
According to Aliyu of ACF: ‘We in the ACF always believe in the rule of law. If the court of law found Nnamdi Kanu not guilty, fine, he should be treated as such.
‘If the government that took him to court cannot defend it, it is the business of government. “We hope that this judgment will give Kanu the chance to believe in Nigerian judiciary, Nigerian system and also do the appropriate thing as a Nigerian citizen.
‘Not just Kanu alone, but whoever is in incarceration, we are of the opinion that the process of law must take its course.’
However, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) faulted the court judgment, saying the judgment was ridiculous and a bad precedent.
A statement by the Spokesperson of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman which was obtained by The Eastern Updates, emphasised that the judiciary needed to reclaim its credibility and retain the confidence reposed in it by the people.