From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Eminent constitutional lawyer and Chairman, Igbo Leaders of Thought, Prof Ben Nwabueze, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for accepting to consider the release of held leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Igbo leaders led by the first Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazuluike Amaechi, had visited President Buhari in Aso Rock at the weekend, where they requested the president to release the IPOB leader, who was intercepted in Kenya in June this year. Kanu had fled Nigeria in 2017, jumping bail after his Afaraukwu home in Abia State was invaded by soldiers. He is being tried of treason.
When the Igbo leaders met with the president, he said that their request was heavy, but promised to look into it.
Following the commitment, Prof Nwabueze said: “I applaud your decision to consider the release of Nnamdi Kanu not withstanding as you said in your statement, that granting the request will have great consequences.”
The short statement by Nwabueze came on the heels of the applause by the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, of President Buhari, for the warm reception he accorded to its illustrious son, Chief Amaechi and his delegation to the Presidential Villa.
Ohanaeze said that Buhari has shown empathy by mulling a political option for the release of Kanu, the IPOB leader.
While expressing gratitude to Chief Amaechi for his insights, the group joined him in wishing that President Buhari be remembered as “a person who saw Nigeria burning, and he quenched the fire.”
Ohanaeze in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary Chief Alex Ogbonnia, said: “We are particularly delighted that Mr. President has shown empathy in the current Igbo travails by mulling a political option for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Ohanaeze noted that its President General, Prof. George Obiozor had always maintained that the release of the IPOB leader, Kanu required a political solution and that dialogue remained a veritable instrument for a functional democracy all over the world, adding that “what the Igbo want in Nigeria are very specific and a concerted effort towards addressing such needs will go a long way to resolving the present crises in the Southeast.”
Similarly, IPOB commended “the Igbo traditional rulers and elders for their move to ensure that our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is released unconditionally.”
The group, however, insisted on its position that its “leader must be released unconditionally and the sooner the better for Nigeria.”
IPOB who made this known in a statement issued by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, again exonerated the Eastern Security Network (ESN) from “the ongoing secret genocide in our land. Our enemies are the masterminds!”
The group claimed that those currently terrorizing Igbo land under the guise of unknown gunmen are sponsored terrorists.
IPOB, therefore, directed the people of the region “to hunt down and lynch any unknown gunmen seen operating in any part of Biafra land.
“Those paid agents of our oppressors forming groups on social media platforms to unleash malicious attacks and to distract the leadership of this movement will soon have IPOB to contend with. All those paid to cause confusion in our land should retrace their steps or soon regret their actions!”