The South-East Caucus in the House of Representatives has urged the President. Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to act like a statesman and consider a political solution to the issues surrounding the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
Members of the caucus, who made the call across party lines in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the recent judgment by the Court of Appeal freeing Kanu was a window for the Buhari-led regime to consider political resolution of its issues with the IPOB leader.
The South-East Caucus made the call in a statement titled ‘Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: Time to Win Peace,’ which was signed by the Deputy Majority Whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha; and Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu.
The PUNCH reported that the Court of Appeal (Abuja Division) had last Thursday freed Kanu of the terrorism and treasonable felony charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.
The three-member panel of Justices of the Appeal Court had, in the judgment, set aside the judgment of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which quashed eight out of 15 counts preferred against Kanu.
In the statement, the caucus said it had noted the unanimous decision of the appellate court on Kanu as well as the reaction of the Federal Government through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), stating that the government would explore the legal options before it and communicate to the public, accordingly.
The lawmakers said, “It is a fact that the country is presently contending with terrorism in the North-East; terrorism and banditry in the North-West; farmers-headers clashes and banditry in the North-Central; abductions and armed attacks in the South-West; restiveness and attacks by unknown gunmen in the South-East, and abductions, cult wars, vandalisation of oil installations and oil theft in the South-South region. No part of the country is spared of violent crimes.
“The combined effect of all these has plunged the nation into untold socio-economic malaise.
“For the South-East, the enforcement of sit-at-home by faceless gunmen on account of Nnamdi Kanu’s incarceration, even long after IPOB revoked and washed its hands off it, has led to wanton loss of human lives, caused disruption of educational and social activities, and unleashed grave economic consequences on the region.
“The reality is that the nation cannot enjoy organic peace so long as any part thereof is troubled. Global experiences and our realities as a nation tell us that heady times like this require not only kinetic options, but also non-kinetic approaches if we must restore and build a peaceful and secure nation where socio-economic and political activities can thrive unhindered.”
The statement further read, “We believe that it is always better to jaw-jaw than to war-war. This underscores the decision of the South-East Caucus of the National Assembly after its extraordinary meeting on September 15, 2021 to advocate a political solution to the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu matter.
“In the communiqué signed by the Leader of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly and former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and other leaders, we underscored the need for constructive interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution.
“The decision resonated with other key stakeholders and groups in the South-East, including the First Republic minister, Chief Mbazuluike Amechi, who led some Igbo leaders to Aso Rock to solicit the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. We recall that on that occasion, President Muhammadu Buhari maintained that his government was committed to non-interference with the judicial process, hence the matter should be allowed to run its full judicial course.
“Consequently, we see the decision of the Court of Appeal as a window of opportunity that should be exploited to solve the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu question, find lasting peace and normalcy in the South-East region, and stimulate national unity, healing, and solidarity. Times like this call for statesmanship.
“This is, therefore, a special appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to take a fatherly introspection on this issue and toe the path of negotiated solution with guarantees on both sides; and we trust that Mr President will not allow this veritable opportunity to win peace and write his name in gold pass by.”