There are developing signs of uncertainties among many sections of Nigerians, particularly in the South East, over President Muhammadu Buhari government’s refusal to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Days after the Appeal Court’s ruling, which has released the IPOB leader, his opportunity isn’t in sight.
The court decision, which was welcomed with elation, has now turned into tension in the South-East.
INFOXCLUSIVE recalls that the case including the Federal Government and Kanu, verging on terrorism charges, took a sharp bend last week, with the Appeal Court discharging him from every one of the counts of terrorism established against him.
INFOXCLUSIVE reported that Kanu, dissatisfied with the order of Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered him to answer seven out of the 15-count terrorism charge against him, had moved toward the Appeal Court, Abuja, trying to suppress the charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The Court of Appeal panel led by Jummai Sankey struck out every one of the remaining charges against Mr Kanu, ruling that the lower court “lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.”
The court held that Mr Kanu’s extradition from Kenya in June, 2021, to Nigeria without observing the extradition guidelines was a glaring infringement of Nigeria’s extradition treaty and a breach of the IPOB leader’s fundamental human rights.
The decision expectedly evoked mixed responses from various sections of Nigerians.
INFOXCLUSIVE additionally reported that most Nigerians welcomed the judgment of the Court of Appeal with elation, mainly in the South East – where Kanu hails from, where there were reports of boundless celebrations across cities in the Zone.
In any case, the decision by the Appellate Court to free Kanu appeared to be not to have reverberated well with the Federal Government, which since has not concealed its dissatisfaction with that impact.
The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami had in the aftermath of the ruling, insisted that the Court of Appeal just discharged the IPOB leader yet that it didn’t acquit him.
Malami’s response was contained in a statement by his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu. It avoided any obligation to the release of the separatist leader from custody as requested by the Appeal Court.
“The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has received the news of the decision of the Court of Appeal concerning the trial of Nnamdi Kanu. For the avoidance of doubt and by the verdict of the Court, Kanu was only discharged and not acquitted.
“Consequently, the appropriate legal options before the authorities will be exploited and communicated accordingly to the public,” he wrote.
Be that as it may, as opposed to the Federal Government’s response, numerous unmistakable Igbo leaders and politicians have urged the federal government to comply with the court judgment by releasing Kanu.
As per them, it would assist with soaking the pressure and reestablish predictability to the Five South-Eastern States, which have borne the brunt of Kanu’s inappropriate detainment, but as managed by the court.
Conspicuous among those that have settled on such a decision incorporated a previous legislative leader of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Ezeife, while showing up on the Arise TV Morning Show inside the week, said he was prepared to bow or prostrate before president Buhari, if Kanu would be released.
“If President Buhari wants me to kneel down, I will kneel down. If he wants me to prostrate, I’ll prostrate just for Nnamdi Kanu to be released. Going to the Supreme Court is a waste of time. Everyone in Nigeria is looking for a new Nigeria,” he said.
The Traditional rulers and leaders of religious organizations in the South East zone have likewise made a strong call for the release of the separatist leader.
Notwithstanding, days after the Appeal Court judgment, body language of the Federal Government has remained discreet, wrapped in a winding of quietness, keeping the whole country in dull, uncertainty and tension.
Worried by the Federal Government’s activity over the court judgment, the General-Secretary of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, who addressed the INFOXCLUSIVE, urged the Federal Government to consider the option of dialogue, regretting that the detainment of Kanu added to the insecurity being currently experienced in the South East.
The Secretary of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group was conciliatory in his tone.
“The position of the Igbo at this moment is that the Federal Government should assist the people of the South East and the Igbo speaking area of the South-South, including all the Southern Nigeria, to help end the tension that we are experiencing in the South East as regards to the incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu.
“The Federal Government should consider the option of dialogue and not appeal that judgment. We thank God that the Federal Government said it was going to weigh all the available options on the table, and we know that one of the available options is not to appeal and to seek a political solution as regards to the incarceration of Nnamdi kanu. With that, the Federal Government will not waste resources to ensure that peace returns to the South East.
“Whether they accept it or not, whether they believe it or not, the incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu contributed to the insecurity we are having in the South-east, and many criminals and criminal elements have taken the advantage of the genuine aspiration of some people who believe they are agitators, who feel that they are sympathetic to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB’s incarceration.
“So his release will douse the tension and help the Igbo people to find out who are the real perpetrators of these insecurity challenges we are having, that was imported, because it was alien to us. We never expected this in this country, where the South East, which was the safest place in Nigeria, would turn out to be another version of Afghanistan.
“So we are telling the Federal Government, rather than mapping billions of naira in the budget to fight insecurity, they should opt for dialogue, a peaceful way to resolve it without spending billions of naira”, he concluded.
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