Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), could be released soon if ongoing talks between parliamentarians from the South East and Igbo leaders succeed.
Kanu was apprehended in Kenya in June and extradited to Nigeria for trial.
Mr. Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, disclosed that the arrest was the result of a joint operation by Nigerian security services and Interpol.
Kanu has subsequently been re-arrested on allegations of terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms, and management of an unlawful society to continue his trial.
In the South East, Kanu’s arrest has sparked a series of protests, with IPOB announcing a ‘sit-at-home every week since his trial resumed.
This combined council, which includes officials from the South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, has called the Federal Government to quickly roll out measures for the suggested political solution.
The joint body agreed that the AGF’s remark was in keeping with a recommendation previously made by the group and other well-intentioned individuals and organisations in Nigeria.
Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, and Most Rev. Chibuzo Raphael Opoko issued a statement thanking Kanu and the IPOB leadership for listening to their request and lifting the sit-at-home order. According to the statement, the action has provided some alleviation to the region’s already troubled social and economic life.
“This body, therefore, eagerly awaits the concrete steps that would be taken in this regard,” the statement added.
“The joint body is relieved that the Anambra State gubernatorial election went off without a hitch or major incidents.” It also expresses gratitude to the people of Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security forces, the National Peace Committee, and all other actors who helped ensure the election’s success.
“The joint body is deeply worried by the IPOB legal team’s repeated concerns about the challenges it faces in dealing with the Department of State Services (DSS), particularly the tragic events that occurred during Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s court appearance on Wednesday, November 10. This group is urging the court to uphold Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s, his lawyers’, and other parties’ fundamental rights. Failure to do so would give credence to rumours that a secret trial is being planned in some quarters, as well as derail all efforts to bring peace to the South East.
“The joint body recognises the contributions of various other Igbo organisations and groups to fostering peace in the South-East zone and urges all to continue the current effort until true peace, based on justice and equity, is achieved in our land.”
Aloy Ejimakor, the IPOB leader’s special attorney, stated that no negotiations would take place on his behalf unless his client was free.
“There can be no negotiation while Kanu is in chains, as other freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa experienced during the apartheid regime.”
However, according to numerous sources, selected leaders from the South East have met with heads of security agencies to discuss the matter. As part of a larger team meeting with key government agencies, senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors, ministers, traditional rulers, and officials of the British High Commission in Nigeria, according to one source.
He said two key figures would meet in the coming days for final talks on the subject, which might lead to Kanu’s release. He stated that the negotiating team has contacted Malami and is awaiting feedback on a potential face-to-face meeting. If the discussion goes well, the minister will set up a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is anticipated to approve Kanu’s release if certain criteria are met.
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However, the source refused to reveal details of the conditions set by government agencies that the negotiating team from the South East had previously met, claiming that they were too sensitive to discuss in public.
Ike Ekweremadu, the immediate-past deputy senate president and leader of the National Assembly’s South-East caucus, affirmed that a political solution would be adopted. He said Kanu may go free again if continuing conversations with appropriate government agencies go well, and he urged his people in the South East to let their leaders work out a solution that would defend their interests.
“I believe in dialogue,” Ekweremadu remarked. I do not believe that violence is the best solution for Nnamdi Kanu’s position. We’ll look for and find a political solution.”