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A former National Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and senatorial candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for Anambra Central, Victor Umeh, has asserted that the federal government has no reason to continue to keep Nnamdi Kanu, after the Court of Appeal judgement.
The Eastern Updates had earlier reported Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had on Thursday discharged and acquitted Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) of terrorism charges, but the attorney general of the federation, Abubakar Malami said the judgement of the court does not quash other charges against him, before he left Nigeria in 2017.
The freedom fighter is still being held in detention by the federal government, in defiance to the Court of Appeal order.
But Umeh in an interview with journalists said the federal government has no reason to continue to keep him.
“The news of the Court of Appeal judgement is very soothing and gladdening, in the sense that the federal government of Nigeria has been given a golden opportunity to bring to an end the controversy between IPOB and the federal government of Nigeria.
“When he (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 installed by Kanu, a court in Umuahia quashed the charges against him and ordered that he should be released unconditionally.
“At that time, I had told the federal government to use political solution to the matter, and end the matter and stop the political and security tension, but they did not.
“Now that the court of appeal has quashed the charges against him, it is trite for the FG to release him and let him go. Already, the United Nations had made an earlier order for the release of Kanu.
‘While the UN and the world was waiting for the government to toe that line, the Court of Appeal has also made an order for his release. I don’t think the federal government has any reason to continue to keep him.’
Umeh who also spoke on the press release from the attorney general and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, which insisted that Kanu had other cases to answer said the recent judgement setting Kanu free was a window for the federal government to embrace peace.
‘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 he 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.
‘Federal government has nothing to gain by continuing to detain Nnamdi Kanu. If you noticed, tension has dropped recently. Releasing Nnamdi Kanu will not lead to any challenge anymore. It is for the government to rely on this judgement to release him.
‘I remember that Igbo leaders went to solicit for the unconditional release and Prof Ben Nwabueze even went on a wheel chair 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, the Court of Appeal has set him free. I believe this is a golden opportunity for Mr president to rely on this judgement to release Kanu, which the UN had earlier called for. I believe if this is done, the country will be better for it, instead of trying to exacerbate the tension by trying to keep him. I believe if they obey the judgement, everyone will be happy.’
Umeh joins a growing list of politicians who have called for the release of the detained IPOB leader.