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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Buhari’s Absence: Soludo, Utomi, Demand Nnamdi Kanu’s Release

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A pan Igbo socio-political organisation, Nzuko Umunna, in Abuja on Tuesday demanded the immediate release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, from detention.

They argued that his continuous incarceration, despite subsisting court orders, was a violation of his fundamental human rights.

The organisation, which parades prominent Igbo leaders, including a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo and renowned economist, Prof. Pat Utomi, also condemned the recent killings of IPOB members. They said the perpetrators of the killings should be punished accordingly.

A former chairman of National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Anselm Odinkalu; Law Mefor, Rev. Fr. Jude C., Dr. Udenta Udenta, Emeka Ugwu-Oju, Ferdinand Agu, Tony Nnadi, Sam Amadi, Innocent Chukwuma, Collins Ugwu and Andy Wabali, also signed the text of the press conference read by Soludo.

According to Soludo, the group visited Kanu and his associates in detention as part of a worldwide consultation process on the peace and development of Alaigbo/Nigeria.

Soludo said, “We demand for the urgent release of Nnamdi Kanu, his colleagues and all prisoners of conscience, as part of the process of the search for national cohesion and building a new Nigeria. There is a legitimate debate among Nigerians on the Biafra question, and there are indeed many Igbo who, like many other Nigerians, do not agree with Nnamdi Kanu’s objective or means.

“It needs to be stated, however, that no citizen of Nigeria deserves the kind of treatment meted to him and his colleagues. Government has declined to obey the orders of properly constituted courts in Nigeria for his release. Nnamdi Kanu is not above the law; but nor should he be put beneath it.

“A situation where the state refuses to obey clear and legitimate court orders for his release and holds him until it gets a favourable order; moves the goalposts endlessly through endless amendment to the charges against him; and now seeks to try him in secret clearly constitutes circumstances that would fall well short of the constitutional guarantees of due process.”

The group  also condemned “the use of disproportionate force and live bullets by law enforcement agencies resulting in the killing and maiming of unarmed protesters generally, especially the killing of IPOB/MASSOB members under whatever guise and call on the law enforcement agencies to take steps to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.”

According to Soludo, the charge of treasonable felony, which has now being levied against Nnamdi Kanu, had previously been used against the late Joseph Tarka and the late Obafemi Awolowo.

Kanu’s trial, he said, reminded Nigerians of the travails of “these historic figures in our country and, indeed, of the more recent military era treason trial of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.”

The group stressed that despite its mantra of change during the 2015 general elections, the All Progressives Congress had not been able to deliver on its most fundamental contract with the Nigerian people.

Punch