The South-Eastern Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of the Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, on Tuesday, demanded the immediate release of the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
This was contained in a statement jointly signed by the Igbo bloc of the traditional and spiritual leaders through the chairmen of their Traditional Rulers Council, His Majesty Obi Achebe (Anambra); His Majesty Igwe Agubuzu (Enugu); Most Rev. Dr Chibuzo Opoko (Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia); Most Rev.Dr Valerian Okeke (Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha).
They lamented the continuous detention of the IPOB leader, adding that the move to continue to keep him in detention will be detrimental to the peace of the country.
The Igbo leaders said, “the Appeal Court judgement on Nnamdi Kanu presented “a timely and unprecedented opportunity to overcome the challenge of trust that has obstructed the path to peace, and opens the window to winning the hearts and minds of the people.”
“We note the opinion emanating from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding the ongoing legal action instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu which was issued on July 20, 2022.
“Among many recommendations or requests made to the Federal Government, the opinion called for the immediate and unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in detention for over one year, following his rendition from Kenya in June 2021.”
Recall that a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal in Abuja led by Justice Hanatu Sankey had on Thursday, October 13, 2022, held that the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to try Nnamdi Kanu on the grounds of his rendition to Nigeria which violates the protocol on extradition and the OAU convention, subsequently discharging him.
But Attorney Generation of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, claimed that he was only discharged and not acquitted, thereby foreclosing his freedom.
The National Security Council which met subsequently agreed with Malami and advised that Nnamdi Kanu remains behind bars.
However, the leaders added, “In the recent past, the joint body (traditional and clergy) has undertaken extensive and intense behind-the-scenes consultations with all stakeholders to broker a permanent, regionally coordinated restoration of the South-East to the status as the most peaceful and progressive subnational zone in Nigeria.
“The body has been consistent and persistent in its call for all stakeholders to not relent in the pursuit of peacebuilding and resolution of security challenges in the South East based on justice, equity, fairness, love, mutual understanding, and respect of all persons,” they maintained.
Continuing, the Igbo administrators pressed for the unconditional release of Kanu by the Federal Government to douse the current tensions across the Southeast and create an atmosphere for collaboration towards a constructive resolution of the issues, stressing, “we are confident that all Nigerians will rise to the summons of history and act with courage, conviction and integrity.”