IPOB: South-east senators demand Kanu’s release

Olabode AfurewajuJuly 4, 20244 min

Senators from the Southeast region of Nigeria have demanded the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

Senators from the south-east geopolitical zone of the country have called for the release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

The federal lawmakers made the demand in a eeting with Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi. They were led to the meeting by the senator representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Even though the meeting was held virtually, Senator Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said he was optimistic that the AGF would persuade the federal government to heed the call for Kanu’s release.

He maintained that the continued detention of the IPOB leader was responsible for the rising level of insecurity and agitations in the south-east region. According to him, social and economic activities within the region will remain stagnant unless Kanu is released.

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Abaribe disclosed that he had already met with Kanu at the Department of State Services, DSS headquarters. He said the embattled IPOB leader agreed to abide by any condition the FG would give for his release.

The meeting between the lawmakers and the AGF barely came after all the governors from the South East region had resolved to approach President Bola Tinubu to beg for Kanu’s freedom. Earlier, about 50 members of the House of Representatives from various parts of the country urged President Tinubu to free the detained IPOB leader.

The representatives, who identified themselves as “Concerned Federal Lawmakers for Peace and Security in the South East,” prayed President Tinubu to direct the AGF to invoke Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to terminate the terrorism-related charge pending against Kanu before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

It will be recalled that Kanu was first arrested in Lagos on October 14, 2015, upon his return to the country from the United Kingdom, UK. Trial Justice Binta Nyako had, on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health grounds after he had spent about 18 months in detention. Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison. However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his country home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the death of some of his followers.

Senator Abaribe, who initially stood as his surety, alongside two others, subsequently applied to the court to be allowed to withdraw from the case. Not satisfied with Abaribe’s claim that he was unaware of the defendant’s whereabouts, the trial court ordered him to forfeit the N100 million he deposited as a bond to secure Kanu’s bail.

Meanwhile, Kanu was later re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021, and extraordinarily renditioned back to the country by security agents on June 27, 2021. Following this development, the trial court remanded him in custody of DSS on June 29, 2021, where he has remained until date.

Olabode Afurewaju

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