Governor Charles State of Anambra State and IPOB again appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), before exiting office on 29 May.
The appeal was made in a letter Mr Soludo dated 20 April and addressed to the president which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.
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Recall that Mr Kanu was first arrested in 2015, but was granted bail in April 2017. He later fled the country after an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia by the Nigerian military in September of that year.
He was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021, about four years after he fled the country.
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In the letter, Mr Soludo, said the continued detention of the IPOB leader has continued to affect residents of the South-east who are forced to observe a sit-at-home order on Mondays out of fear.
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The governor expressed surprise that despite a call by the United Nations Human Rights Council for the release of Mr Kanu and various court rulings in Nigeria freeing the IPOB leader, the federal government has refused to release him.
Mr Soludo told Mr Buhari to consider granting Mr Kanu an “administrative bail on compassionate grounds and as part of national healing” if there were persisting grounds that would make his unconditional release “untenable.”
“In this circumstance, I am prepared to take him (Kanu) on bail. My government is prepared to provide him with alternative secured accommodation at Awka where he will have access to appropriate medical care, among others, and make him available when required,” he assured.
He said it was necessary for Mr Buhari to release the IPOB leader given that Nigeria has gone through a “very consequential election” and that part of the smart steps to be taken must include an agenda for national healing and addressing lingering insecurity, especially in the South-east.
Soludo also pointed out that the fight against insecurity in the region has not fared well because of lack of “wider constructive engagement/dialogue between the Federal government, South-east leaders and other critical stakeholders on a form of coordinated political solution.”
He said the release of Mr Kanu was not only a legal or compassionate thing to do, but also a patriotic act to advance the cause of security, peace and development of the South-east region.
“As you shepherd a transition process to handover to your successor, you might as well help to smoothen his easy take-off by resolving some of the lingering issues such as Mazi Kanu’s detention.
“I therefore respectfully call on you, as statesman, to discharge a historic show of mercy an
Earlier in April 2023, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Igbo socio-political organization, said Buhari should release Kanu as his parting gift to Nigerians.
Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Ohanaeze’s Secretary-General, said if the Federal Government can grant pardon to Boko Haram members, then Kanu should be released.
“Surely, if Boko Haram terrorists, who took up arms against the Nigerian state can be pardoned and rehabilitated, releasing the IPOB leader is not too much to ask for.”
The indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on Wednesday 24 May 2023 alleged that there was a conspiracy with the silence of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the detention of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
IPOB made the allegation in a statement by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful on Wednesday. The group also their expressed dissatisfaction over the continued detention of its leader as his health issue worsens despite the UN and Nigerian court orders that he should be freed.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra (lPOB) led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu expressed our displeasure on the silence of United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), African Union (AU) and ECOWAS as Nigeria grossly disobeys local and international laws regarding the unconditional release of our leader.
“We are saddened as the international community watches in silence as the health of the leader deteriorates in the solitary confinement dungeon of the Nigeria government where he has been held illegally and unlawfully detained against all UN and Nigerian court orders.