S-East monarchs, church leaders demand Nnamdi Kanu’s release

Prominent South East leaders, comprising of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops On Peace and Conflict Resolution have called on the Federal Government to release detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IpoB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu following the decision of Court of Appeal.


They said that the unconditional release of Kanu by the Federal Government would douse the current tension  across the South East and create an atmosphere for collaboration towards a constructive resolution of the issues.

The leaders spoke as Counsel to the detained IPoB leader, Mr. Nnaemeka Ejiofor, has raised the alarm over what he termed as the enforced disappearance of 24 persons that were arrested by security agents, following their alleged link with the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

According to the southeast leaders:”We note the opinion emanating from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding the on-going legal action instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu which was issued on 20th July 2022.

“We welcome this judgment and assert that the wisdom of the Appellate Court presents a timely and an 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, therefore, unequivocally support the call for the immediate release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in line with the unanimous judgment of the Court that his extradition and subsequent trial was illegal, and the lower court had no jurisdiction to hear the case”.

The statement further said: “We also note media reports confirming that on Thursday, October 13, 2022, a three-man panel of The Court of Appeal in Abuja led by Justice Hanatu Sankey held that the Federal High Court  lacks  the  jurisdiction  to  try  Mazi  Nnamdi Kanu  on  the  grounds  of  his rendition to Nigeria which violates the protocol on extradition and the OAU convention, and subsequently discharged“PAGE 2 OF 2   5.  6.

“The march towards peace and the restoration of normalcy in our society and economy requires the collective action of all people of God.

“We are confident that all Nigerians  will  rise to the summons of History and act with  courage,  conviction  and integrity”.

The statement was signed by Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha and Chairman, Anambra State Traditilnal Rulers Council,“Most Rev.  Chibuzo R. Opoko, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia; H.M. Igwe Amb. L. O. C. Agubuzu, Chairman Enugu State council of traditional rulers and Most Rev. Dr. Valerian M. Okeke.

24 persons arrested over alleged link with Kanu missing, lawyer cries out

Briefing  newsmen in Abuja over the issue, Ejiofor bemoaned the fact that some of the missing persons he said were arrested from their homes since August 2021 have not been seen, nor have they been charged before any court.

“The offences of these men and women are that they are members of the IPOB or close associates of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“None of these victims of enforced disappearance have received anything like trial since their arrests.

“None of them has ever been allowed to contact their lawyers or family and all judicial efforts made to see them or get them released have been illegally thwarted and frustrated.

“These 24 identified victims are just a fraction of the number of persons who were arrested and disappeared as so many very gory and scary reports of extrajudicial execution, murder in the cruelest manner such as by suffocation, starvation and or summary execution abound”, Ejiofor stated.

According to the senior lawyer, among those that are being detained, include a 20-year-old lady, Joy Godwin Udoh, also known as Idara Gold.

He narrated how Miss Udoh who hails from Akwa-Ibom State, was arrested on her birthday by operatives of the Department of State Service, DSS, at the home of her fiance, for allegedly wearing a dress that was considered the colour of the Biafran flag.

“She went to celebrate her birthday with her fiance when officers of the state security service stormed the house in search of her fiance, Mazi Chuks Egwuatu. She was arrested alongside all the siblings of her fiance.

“While her fiance’s siblings were released after about five days in detention, she was transferred to the Abuja office of the DSS on the 16th day of November 2021.

“Joy Udoh’s offence was that she dressed in a certain coloured dress for her birthday and the DSS concluded that such coloured dress was advertising and influencing the IPOB.

“Joy, like others before and  after her, was transferred to a military holding cell without an order of the court and contrary to all known laws in Nigeria”, Ejiofor insisted.

He decried that despite an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the DSS, denied the detained lady access to her lawyers and had since then, failed to produce her in court.

“Till today, we do not know where Joy Godwin Udoh is, neither has any of us, including her family, been able to see or meet or hear from her”.

Ejiofor further listed 11 persons; Pius Awoke, Fortune Okezie, Chinedu Nwoba, Chinomso Onyeibe, Eze Joseph, David Ogbonnaya, Ajah Joseph, Igwe Johnson, Kenneth Ojima, Wisdom Ezika Nwambana and Uket Godwin, he  said were arrested on July 26, 2021, while on their way to Ebonyi State after they appeared in court to witness Kanu’s trial.

“After the case of Kanu on the said date at the Federal High Court, Abuja, they boarded two vehicles back to Ebonyi State only to be intercepted by a Navy Unit stationed at Lokoja, Kogi State.

“They were held down at the checkpoint for over five hours till a team of the DSS came to take them back to Abuja.

“Upon being sued in court to challenge their arrest and detention, they were said to have been transferred to WAWA Military Barracks in Niger State.

“Neither their lawyers nor their families have seen them or spoken to them nor have they been brought before any court for trial”.

Others Ejiofor included in the list of alleged IPOB members that were arrested and are yet to be seen, are: Ikechukwu Henry, Emeka Ngonadi, Kingsley Onovu, Ogbonna David, Emmanuel Onyibe Chinomso, Ogbonna Christian Ndubisi, Eze Ernest Chukwuemeka, Ibeleme Tochukwu, Emmanuel Ike, Rev. Cletus Whole, Chinonso Anyanwu, Kelechi Okeke, Godspower Chilemu and Chukwuma Nwaokike.

“We want the federal government to do the right thing by producing these victims and releasing them to their families with apologies and compensation”, Ejiofor added.

Among those at the media briefing, included wives, children, and relatives of some of the detainees.

FG has no reason to detain Kanu further —Victor Umeh

Meantime, former national chairman of All Progressive  Grand Alliance, APGA, and senatorial candidate of the Labour Party, LP, for Anambra Central for the 2023 election, Victor Umeh has also called on the federal government to release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu since the Court of Appeal had freed him.

Umeh spoke as a 2019 APC Presidential aspirant, Charles Udeogaranya also advised the Nigerian federal government to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention without unnecessary delay after the Court of Appeal verdict.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had on Friday discharged Kanu, but the attorney general of the federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said the judgment of the court did not quash other charges against him before he left Nigeria in 2017.

As a result, Kanu is still being detained by the federal government.

Speaking with reporters in Awka, Umeh said the continued detention of the IPOB leader amounted to a violation of the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

He said: “In a sense, the federal government has been given a golden opportunity to bring to an end the problem between IPOB and the federal government of Nigeria.

“When Nnamdi Kanu was brought home from Kenya last year, I was one of those who asked that the matter be given fair judicial adjudication. Along the line, through a suit instituted by Kanu, a court in Umuahia, Abia State quashed the charges against him and ordered that he should be released unconditionally.

“At that time, I suggested that government should use a political solution to resolve the matter and end the security tension, but they did not heed the advice.

“Now  that the Court of Appeal has dismissed the charges against him, it is time for government to let him go because I don’t think the federal government has any further reason to continue to keep him.

“Someone who is looking for peace should know when God has given him an opening to embrace peace. This judgment by the Court of Appeal is sufficient to end all charges against Nnamdi Kanu and allow him to go. It will also help to solve the security problems in the South East.

“Every Monday, there is sit- at- home in the South East, but if they release him now, that will disappear and we will have five working days in a week like others.

“The federal government has nothing to gain by continuing to detain Nnamdi Kanu. If you noticed, tension has already dropped following the court judgment, and releasing him will not lead to any challenge anymore. It is for the government to rely on this judgment to release him.

“I also remember that Igbo leaders went to solicit for the unconditional release and Prof Ben Nwabueze even went on a wheelchair with Chief Mbazulike Amaechi to ask for Kanu’s release and President Buhari said he did not want to interfere in judicial processes.

“But now that the Court of Appeal has set him free, I believe that this is a golden opportunity for Mr president to rely on this judgment to release Kanu.

“I believe that if this is done, the country will be better for it, instead of trying to increase the tension by keeping him. If they obey the judgment, everyone will be happy.”

“The recent judgment setting Kanu free was a window for the federal government to embrace peace”.

Win peace, release Kanu, S-East Reps urge Buhari

Also yesterday, the southeast caucus in the House of Representatives appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to release him.

In a statement last night, the caucus appealed to Buhari to win the peace and unity of the country through the judicial window, release Kanu and write his name in gold.

Titled “Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: Time to Win Peace”, the statement was signed by the Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu; Deputy Whip,  Nkiru Onyejeocha, and all the caucus members.

The caucus also urged the president to  take a fatherly introspection on the issue of negotiated solution and not allow the opportunity to pass him by.

The statement read: “The South East Caucus of the House of Representatives has noted the unanimous decision of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which discharged the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, of the terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government on the grounds that the trial court lacked jurisdiction due to faulty extradition and extraordinary rendition process.

“The Caucus has also taken cognisance of the reaction of the Federal Government through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, stating that the Federal Government would explore the legal options before it and communicate to the public, accordingly.

“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  gunmen in the South East, and abductions, cult wars, vandalisation of oil installations and oil theft in the South South region. “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.

“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 political solution to the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s 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.”


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