Delay in Releasing Nnamdi Kanu Not in National Interest—Group

October 24, 2022
Nnamdi Kanu IPOBR

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The federal government has been warned against delaying the release of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, saying it is “not an action taken in the national interest.”

A few days ago, Mr Kanu was discharged of the charges against him by a court on the ground that his repatriation to Nigeria from Kenya was illegal.

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, said the government has reasons to keep the IPOB leader. The government later appealed the justice and sought a stay of execution.

But a pan-Igbo sociopolitical pressure organisation, the South East Revival Group (SERG), wants the government to release him, saying it was against the “victimisation and exclusion policy of the” President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, saying it was part of the insecurity in the region.

In a statement signed by its President and National Coordinator, Mr Willy Ezugwu, the SERG said, “Before the Court of Appeal ruling discharging Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, President Muhammadu Buhari administration got the legal advice of the United Nations, which demanded the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu based on the violent extradition of the IPOB leader by Nigerian government from Kenya to face terrorism trial in Nigeria.

“Like the Court of Appeal, the United Nations, UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention indicted Nigeria and Kenya Governments for the arrest and extraordinary rendition, torture and continued detention of Kanu without due process.

“We recall that the UN had asked the Nigerian government for the immediate release of Kanu unconditionally and to pay him adequate compensation for the arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights.

“The UN also recommended that government officials responsible for the torture meted to the IPOB leader be investigated and punished.

“The UN further directed Nigeria to report back within six months of the transmission of its opinions on Kanu’s matter, steps taken to comply with all the recommendations thereof.

“The United Nations had referred the case of Kanu’s torture to Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for

further consideration.

“The 16-page report dated July 20, 2022, was adopted on April 4 by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its 93rd session, held between March 30 – April 8, 2022, and reportedly communicated its recommendations to the Federal government of Nigeria on or about

“We’re worried that the current refusal of the Federal Government to first obey the order of the Court of Appeal on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is already being seen as the kidnapping of a citizen.

“This will definitely worsen the security situation in South East as similar extrajudicial action of the Federal Government, which led to the murder of the leader of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, Yusuf Mohammed, by agents of the state, has been widely acknowledged to be the immediate cause of the extraordinary escalation of violence in the North East, which Nigeria is yet to recover from.

“Since the arrest and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the South East has become a theatre of blood, and gruesome killings by state and non-state actors in Igbo land are unprecedented.

“The Igbos have been raising alarm on the marginalization of the South East but turning the zone into a butcher zone by the actions and inactions of the Federal Government of Nigeria in recent time is the worst since the civil war.

“We, therefore, urge President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to order as it is globally acknowledged that injustice brew anarchy is every society.

“If the Federal Government can order the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to first call off their strike in obedience to the order of the Industrial Court before ASUU could be allowed to appeal the judgment, what is the justification for not obeying the order of the Court of Appeal on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu?

“The extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was considered an injustice and a violation of his fundamental human rights by both the United Nations and the Court of Appeal.

“We, therefore, urge the Nigerian government to make hay while the sun shines and free Nnamdi Kanu in accordance with the express order of the Court of Appeal, as this will mitigate perceptions of bias, exclusion and injustice against the South East region over the years”, the SERG stated.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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