Listen to article
Following yesterday’s ruling of the Supreme Court which rejected the bid to release the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), many Nigerians have advocated that a political solution be sought to free the secessionist leader and bring a closure to his continued detention, believed to be responsible for the insecurity in the South-East.
The Eastern Updates reports that the IPOB leader had been on trial for various charges relating to terrorism, agitation for secession, and other felonies. Despite acquiring bail, Kanu left Nigeria in 2017 and was later arrested and extradited back to the country to face trial in 2021.
The Supreme Court’s verdict is the latest in a string of judgments that Kanu has faced in court.
Human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), advocated a political solution to free Kanu, saying it is not too late to explore political solution with a view to bringing about peace in the South East. He appealed to President Bola Tinubu to allow political solution to work.
Said he: “I wrote a 36- page letter to former President Muhammadu Buhari. I genuflected and said that we needed to return peace to the entire South East, which is often locked down, by giving this young man (Kanu) the permission to go home, and this can easily be done through the legal process with the attorney general of the federation, entering a nolle prosequi to discontinue the matter.
Read Also: Why Tinubu Must Ensure Kanu’s Release – IPOB
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a great opportunity in the world to come out like a great statesman by ordering the release of this man. He would have won tons and tons of mileages of the buy-in of the entire Ndigbo because they are all concerned. Nnamdi Kanu is just a metaphor struggles within the Nigeria space.
“Even as the Supreme Court has said that he should face the remaining seven-count charge at the High Court, after I got eight dismissed and I got the Court of Appeal to dismiss the remaining seven ones, setting him and never again be arrested or prosecuted for the same offences. But the apex court today has held otherwise.
“The Supreme Court agreed that the invasion of his house was wrong; that his extra ordinary rendition from Kenya back to Nigeria without following due process was wrong and put Nigeria in bad light before the international community. It also agreed that even his earlier revocation of bail by the lower court was wrong because a person fleeing from his life is not just jumping bail.
“The apex court, however said, the manner a person is brought to court if it’s wrong does not prevent the prosecution of that person. It cited examples. That is the opinion of the Supreme Court, which we all know is final in the land. They have spoken that the trial should go on again before the lower court.
“But my appeal to President Tinubu is that political solution, which I have always craved for, is still possible, even at this stage. It is not too late at all so as to bring about peace in the South East, because if you have a whitlow in one of your fingers, you won’t be able to sleep, as the rest of the body is useless. So, Nigeria itself cannot be healthy, happy and joyous that a whole geo-political zone, made up of five states, is locked down now and again over Nnamdi Kanu that the Igbo see as a metaphor for their struggle.”
The Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), noted that the Federal Government has missed the opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the IPOB crisis based on the Supreme Court’s decision to have Kanu kept in detention.
Executive Director of the group, Mr. Okechukwu Nwanguma, noted that the trial of Kanu was more political than legal, and that his release would have provided the opportunity to pursue peace through dialogue and engagements to douse the separatist agitation in the South-East.
He said: “It was my expectation that the Supreme Court, in its decision, would exhibit sensitivity to the need for de-escalation of violence, disrupting insecurity, and addressing grievances in the South-East. Granting the application for the release of Nnamdi Kanu would have provided the opportunity to pursue peace through dialogue and engagements to douse the separatist agitation in the South-East.
A lawyer, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, in a veiled statement said Kanu would one day walk free no matter how long it takes.
Uwazurike, who is president of Cultural Credibility and Development Initiative (CCDI), likened the ordeal of the detained IPOB leader to those of late South African President and anti-Apartheid activist, Nelson Mandela; late Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda; late Kenyan leader, Jomo Kenyatta; and late Ghanaian President, Kwame Nkuruma, noting that the struggle to free Kanu had only begun.
Meanwhile, the President of the Indigenous Igbo Youth Congress (IIYC), Chief Mayor Echefu, expressed dissatisfaction over the refusal of the Supreme Court to free Kanu.
According to him, the group had last week, implored President Tinubu to release Kanu as Christmas present to the Igbo.