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Nnamdi Kanu: Ohanaeze, Arewa youths take stand on proposed political solution

  By Seun Opejobi   South-East governors announced on Tuesday that they will interface with the federal government for the release of Ma...


By Seun Opejobi


South-East governors announced on Tuesday that they will interface with the federal government for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.


This formed part of the communiqué issued after a meeting of the Forum in Enugu.


At the meeting, which also had other stakeholders in attendance, were governors Hope Uzodinma, Dr. Alex Otti, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Rt. Hon. Francis Nwifuru of Imo, Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi states, respectively, as well as the host, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State.


The move comes after Kanu, who is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, expressed willingness to get the Nigerian Government to agree to an out-of-court-settlement.


On June 19, 2024, Kanu who is facing trial charges bordering on terrorism had through his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor informed the Federal High Court in Abuja of his intentions to seek reconciliation with the Federal Government.


Ejimakor had informed the court that he had discussed the out-of-court settlement with the counsel of the Federal Government, Adegboyega Awomolo.


However, Awomolo, who told the court that he had no instruction of his client to embark on any negotiations with the defendant, said: “I told him to go to the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, who has the power. If he is interested in negotiating he should go there, his office is just here.”


But Justice Binta Nyako observed that the court has no problem if the parties want to discuss negotiation, urging Kanu to approach the AGF who is the proper person to negotiate with.


Similarly, about 50 members of the House of Representatives from different parts of Nigeria and political parties known as concerned federal lawmakers for Peace and Security in the South East have appealed to President Bola Tinubu to invoke section 174 of the constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and section 107(1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, to ensure Kanu’s release.


The lawmakers appealed to President Tinubu to commence a presidential peace initiative to address all issues and challenges bedevilling the southeast region of Nigeria. These were contained in a 3 page letter signed by the lawmakers, dated June 19, 2024 and addressed to Mr President.


Presidential candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi has also backed calls for Kanu’s release, noting that it would foster peace.


Giving his views on the continued detention of Kanu, Obi said: “I don’t see any reason for his continued detention, especially as the courts have granted him bail. Government must obey the court.


“Rule of law is an intricate asset that we must cherish and live with. I use this opportunity to plead with the government to ensure that all those who are in similar conditions are released and discussed with. We are in a democracy and we should not be doing things that are arbitrary and not within the law.”


Kanu should sign bond of peace – Lawyer, Idam


On his part, activist lawyer, Madubuachi Idam described the move by the IPOB leader to seek an out-of-court settlement with the Nigerian Government as the right move and not cowardice.


Idam stressed that such a move would avail Kanu the opportunity to voice out his grievances to the Nigerian Government and table his demands at the negotiation table.


Speaking with DAILY POST, the constitutional lawyer said: “Asking for an out-of-court settlement as the one being asked by Nnamdi Kanu is not an act of cowardice neither is it a sign of weakness.


“Kanu is not at war with the Nigerian state, he has no problem with the Nigerian state. Kanu is agitating to be free from Nigeria. It should not be misconstrued that he’s afraid of the Nigerian state.


“Kanu opting for out-of-court settlement is the right thing to do, it’s an opportunity to inform the state and explain his agitation.


“It’s an opportunity to vent his grievance and table his demands before the state if it will be met on a negotiation table without the need for him to continue the agitation.


“For me, it’s the right step he has taken. It’s well thought and prudent for him to have toed that line and I encourage the Nigerian state to accept that application.


“Kanu is a citizen as far as Nigeria has not broken up, and when a citizen who controls a lot of people is making a demand, he must be listened to. His continued detention is not in the interest of anybody.


“Having said that, the current Attorney General of the Federation is a thorough lawyer who understands what it means to hold the state together. He understands that negotiations with the defendant in accordance with the Federal High Court rules are encouraged by law.”


The constitutional lawyer noted that Kanu should be made to sign a bond that part of the settlement would include preaching peace if released.


He stressed that the Biafra agitator should not be seen as an enemy of the state.


Idam added: “Kanu’s continued detention serves no purpose, it’s using a sledgehammer to kill an ant, it’s needless and unwarranted.


“If Kanu was tried by the Nigerian government the first time he was arrested in 2017, this tension would have been averted. The state popularized Kanu’s issue, he’s only asking to be free, let my people go.


“He should not be misconstrued as an enemy of the state. Kanu’s release will douse the criminal activities in the Southeast. What will they be agitating?


“Kanu should be encouraged to sign a bond that he will preach peace if released and I will encourage the state to toll the line. He had said severally that people should stop killings in the Southeast, he had even preached it in the open court that those killing are enemies of the Southeast.


“If his agitation has nothing to do with killing people and insecurity, so why should anybody be afraid that if he’s released, insecurity will continue?


“Kanu has said it by himself and I can tell you that if Kanu is released today, he will stand by his words and that will be more beneficial than having him in detention.”


Ohanaeze’s stance on out-of-court settlement


The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Alex Ogbonnia, said a political solution is key, stressing that Kanu’s release would quell insecurity in the Southeast.


Ogbonia noted that the Biafra agitation was a fundamental issue and beyond Kanu.


“The issue of Nnamdi Kanu demands a political solution. The kinetic approach in the Southeast that has created unnecessary tension is not the solution to the problem.


“The Nigerian government should look into the cause because Kanu represents what’s happening in the Southeast of Nigeria. For example, the marginalization of the Southeasterners in the 2023 elections where there was so much shenanigan.


“Nnamdi Kanu represents all these agitations in the Southeast, so what he’s saying is that it’s either you treat us equitably in all fairness or you allow us to go; and it’s a simple message.


“Ohanaeze Ndigbo is saying political solution that requires non-kinetic approach, there are some kind of statement from the government that will lead to celebration galore in the Southeast.


“Releasing Kanu will surely quell the insecurity in the Southeast and the Monday sit-at-home will stop. The agitation for Biafra is no longer about Kanu, it’s very fundamental; the agitation is a reaction to stimulus,” he told DAILY POST.


Court should be allowed to decide Kanu’s fate – Arewa Youths


Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, thinks otherwise.


The group is of the opinion that the court and not the Nigerian Government should be allowed to decide Kanu’s fate based on proven evidence.


National President of AYCF, Yerima Shettima said the IPOB leader should be made to face the “music” of his action if found guilty by the court or released if proven innocent.


Speaking with DAILY POST, Shettima said: “It’s within the government’s confines to look at it, if they want to settle out-of-court or they want the court to continue.


“For me, I would have been comfortable if the court decided his fate at the end of the day based on what is before the court, they should do the needful.


“Kanu should face the music if he’s found wanting or be allowed to go if proven innocent. His punishment should serve as a deterrent to those who think that they can disobey the law and take impunity as a right either deliberately or ignorantly.


“However, if the government decides to settle out-of-court then so be it but at least, we all know now that nobody can do anything and get away with it.”


Nigeria should amend constitution to make room for self-determination


Shettima also urged the Nigerian government to amend the country’s constitution to allow for self-determination.


According to the AYCF National President, people should be allowed to decide if they want to become Biafra or remain as Nigerians.


“The proposed settlement is within the law and it’s for the government to deem it fit, necessary if that is what they want.


“Some of us are products of struggles and I can tell you that you can agitate for whatever you want from religion to tribe but when it becomes critical that somebody has to lose his life, that is no longer an agitation; it’s something else. And this has been our worry and fear.


“The right to self-determination is guaranteed under international law and Nigeria is a signatory to that agreement, unfortunately, we signed a charter but locally our constitution does not reflect it, self-determination is alien to our constitution.


“At the same time, a referendum is not in our constitution. These are areas I feel if the government is sincere we should be able to amend the laws to reflect these two key issues.


“If you sign an agreement that you believe in self-determination by the international standard, locally it should reflect it and that is why today we have an issue where there is no way of exit in the country.


“Somebody can’t wake up and say we should divide corporately, it’s not reflected in our constitution. They should amend the constitution so that you can’t force people to stay with you, there should be an exit through referendum,” he stated.


Kanu, Ekpa have no control over Biafra agitation, criminals have taken over struggle


Shettima also observed that Kanu and the self-acclaimed Biafra Prime Minister, Simon Ekpa have lost control over the agitation.


“They say it’s easier to destroy than to build; when they started this agitation, they never envisaged that they would be consumed.


“Even if you release Kanu and bring Ekpa to beg for pardon, they can’t control this madness anymore because criminals have cashed into it in the name of agitation.


“How does agitation become kidnapping, looting, robbery, killing innocent people? It’s not done anywhere.


“This is a criminal act and they should be dealt with as criminals. Whether you release Kanu or not, he has no control because if he did, with all he has been saying, killing would have subsided.


“Can you say in all honesty that these criminals in the Southeast are listening to what he’s saying? They are not.


“They engage in all sorts of criminality in the name of Biafra struggle, sit-at-home and all sorts.


“I don’t think Kanu will be safe if released today, going by what we are seeing. It has become a criminal activity and all of us must come out to condemn this act,” Shettima cautioned.


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