Again, Ohanaeze asks Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu
The group also speaks on secession agitation by IPOB.
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has again asked President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The President-General of Ohanaeze, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, disclosed this on Thursday in Oguta Local Government Area, Imo State, during the flag-off ceremony of Oguta/Orashi Rivers dredging project which was broadcast live on Channels TV, a Lagos State-based television station.
Mr Buhari was represented at the event by the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“Our vice-president, tell our brother and our son, Buhari, that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, (made up of) over 60 million Igbos, requests that he should release Nnamdi Kanu,” Mr Iwuanyanwu said at the gathering.
He dismissed claims that the Igbo-speaking people of the South-east would secede from Nigeria if the IPOB leader was released.
“Igbos are not seceding (from Nigeria). I don’t see why anybody should say Igbos are seceding. Igbos are everywhere. We have investments. Are we going to leave our investments (by seceding)?” he said.
Mr Iwuanyanwu said he was passing the message to Mr Buhari because the president had been given honourary membership in the Ohanaeze and therefore under his (Iwuanyanwu’s) authority despite being Nigeria’s president.
“I am now telling him (Buhari) that Nnamdi Kanu should be released before he (Buhari) departs office,” he added.
Not the first time
Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other Igbo groups have repeatedly asked Mr Buhari to release Mr Kanu who has been in the custody of Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service (SSS).
Mr Iwuanyanwu, shortly after emerging as the new president-general of the Ohanaeze last month, resolved to meet with Mr Buhari to secure the release of the IPOB leader.
IPOB is a group leading the agitation for an independent republic, Biafra, which it wants carved out from south-east and some parts of south-south Nigeria.
Mr Kanu was first arrested in 2015, but was granted bail in April 2017. He fled the country after an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, 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.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on 13 October, held that the IPOB leader was extra-ordinarily renditioned to Nigeria and that the action was a flagrant violation of the country’s extradition treaty and also a breach of his fundamental human rights.
The court, therefore, struck out the terrorism charges filed against Mr Kanu by the Nigerian government and ordered his release from the custody of the SSS.
But the government refused to release the IPOB leader insisting that he (Kanu) could be unavailable in subsequent court proceedings if released and that his release would cause insecurity in the South-east.
The government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, later appealed the court ruling and subsequently obtained an order staying execution of the court judgement at the Supreme Court.
Mr Kanu is challenging the stay of execution order stopping his release from the SSS custody.
The IPOB leader asked the apex court to set aside the stay of execution order on the grounds that the Appeal Court judges erred in law when they halted the execution of their own order which freed him.