Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, may soon be released if ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government spearheaded by lawmakers from the South East and Igbo leaders pull through. In June this year, Nnamdi Kanu was intercepted in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria for trial.
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, had revealed that the arrest followed a collaborative effort between security agencies in Nigeria and Interpol. Nnamdi Kanu has since been re-arraigned for the continuation of his trial on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society.
In the South East, the detention of Nnamdi Kanu has led to a series of unrests with IPOB declaring a ‘sit-at-home’ every week since the continuation of his trial began. Abubakar Malami had last week said government was open to political solution for the release of Nnamdi Kanu and the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho.
The Apex Igbo organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo lauded the government for toeing into the path of dialogue and indicated readiness of Igbo leaders to meet with the government team. This is a joint body comprising of South East Council of Traditional Rulers and the representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops asked the Federal Government to swiftly roll out modalities for the proposed political solution.
The joint body acknowledged the Attorney General of the Federation statement was in line with the proposal earlier made by the group and other well-meaning persons and groups in Nigeria. A statement by Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe and Most Rev. Chibuzo Raphael Opoko also commended Nnamdi Kanu and the entire leadership of the IPOB for listening to their appeal and calling off the sit-at-home order. It said the action has offered some relief to the already distressed social and economic life in the region.
Part of the statement said; “This body, therefore, eagerly awaits the concrete steps that would be taken in this regard. The joint body is relieved that the Anambra State gubernatorial election was conducted without any major incidents or breach of peace. It also commends the people of Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security forces, the National Peace Committee, and all the other actors who contributed to the successful conduct of the election.
“The joint body is highly disturbed by the persistent complaints by the IPOB legal team about the difficulties it encounters in dealing with the Department of State Services (DSS) and, especially, the sad events which occurred during Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s appearance in court last Wednesday, November 10, 2021.
This body urges the court to affirm the fundamental rights of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyers, and other stakeholders. Failure to do so would lend weight to the suspicion in some quarters of a planned secret trial, as well as neutralize all the efforts being made to establish peace in the South East.
“The joint body acknowledges the roles played by various other Igbo organizations and groups in fostering peace in the South East zone and calls on all to sustain the current effort until true peace, based on justice and equity, is achieved in our land.”
However, special counsel to the IPOB leader, Aloy Ejimakor, warned that no negotiation would take place on behalf of his client without his being free. There cannot be any negotiation while Nnamdi Kanu is in chains, that was the situation for other freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela of South Africa under apartheid regime.”
But multiple sources told us that selected leaders from the South East have met with heads of security agencies on the issue. One of the sources listed senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors, ministers, traditional rulers and officials of the British High Commission in Nigeria as part of a wider team meeting with relevant government agencies.
He said two important leaders would be met in the coming days for final talks on the issue that may eventually lead to the release of Nnamdi Kanu. He said the negotiating team has reached out to Abubakar Malami and awaiting a feedback on a possible face-to-face meeting. If the meeting is successful, the minister would arrange for a final meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is expected to give a nod for the release of Nnamdi Kanu if certain conditions are met.
But the source refused to divulge details of the conditions given by government agencies already met by the negotiating team from the South East as they were too sensitive to be discussed in public. Immediate-past deputy senate president and leader of the South East caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, confirmed that a political solution would be adopted.
He said if ongoing negotiations with relevant government agencies pan out, Nnamdi Kanu could again walk free again and called on his people in the South East to allow their leaders work out a solution that would protect their interest.
Senator Ike Ekweremadu said; “I believe in dialogue. For Nnamdi Kanu’s situation, I don’t think violence is the way. We will find and seek a political solution,” he stated.