Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; First Republic Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amechi; Leader of Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ayo Adebanjo among others, yesterday, tackled a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani and the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, for asking the Igbo to allow Nnamdi Kanu to follow the due process of law instead of begging for his unconditional release.
Sani Anthony had said in an exclusive interview with our correspondent that when Igbo leaders asked President Buhari to release Kanu unconditionally,”one is at a loss as to the aim of such plea,considering that the charges which the state has against Kanu and his IPOB are very grave.”
According to Sani ,” We are operating democracy which is the rule of law.One would think allowing Mr. Kanu to go through the legal processes would improve the tenets of our nascent democracy and peaceful co-existence. Nigerians would know whether felony of secession is an offense against the state or not.
“But to release Kanu unconditionally without testing our legal system and,thus,our fledgling democracy may not serve the public good.
“If after going through the due processes of law and Kanu is found guilty,the government is at liberty to release him unconditionally either on compassionate grounds or for political expediency.This approach may serve greater good.
“But if he is released now unconditionally as being requested by the Igbo leaders,it may convey an impression that Danegeld’s theory of rewarding bad behaviour is being encouraged by both the Igbo leaders and the government.”
“I therefore prefer that Kanu goes through all the processes before any consideration for release.And if the due processes do not find him guilty and set him free of the charges,it would still be good for our democracy,” Anthony Sani said.
Similarly, the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) representing rights and civil organizations in Northern Nigeria also called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to attempt freeing the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The call was made at a Press Conference in Kano yesterday which was led by Spokesman of the CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman.
The group expressed concern over the body language of President Buhari when an interest group from the South-East paid a courtesy call on him demanding the release of the IPOB leader, describing it as “unrelenting desperation by certain interest groups in the South-East to subvert the due process of justice and tamper with judicial process since Kanu’s arraignment.”
The CNG further gave a breakdown of alleged crimes committed by IPOB from 2017 to 2020 saying Kanu has instigated the killing of 1,230 Northern Nigeria citizens living in parts of the South-East while the proscribed IPOB also launched attacks and destruction of national security assets and democratic symbols.
“Several millions worth of businesses, properties and valuable assets belonging to northerners and citizens of other regions were destroyed across the South-Eastern cities on the instructions of Nnamdi Kanu within the same period” the group alleged, adding that about 400 security personnel were also killed as a result.
The group said, “The composition of the Igbo elders group has vindicated the position we have exposed since 2017 that the diabolical scheme planned and exhibited in the criminal actions of Kanu and IPOB, is fully supported morally and politically by the vast majority of Igbo elders, elites, politicians, religious elders, traditional rulers, business persons, and the larger population of the South-East”
However, the CNG warned that “any attempt by the President to accede to the demand to release, without prosecuting and punishing Kanu, will inadvertently reduce Nigeria to a completely lawless state where criminals of all shades will commit crimes against the country, and then ask their traditional rulers and other regional or tribal leaders to press for their release.
“Warn President Buhari that the North has today realised that he places more premium on the pursuit for votes and political popularity for his party than he does for the sanctity of lives of northerners and security personnel who stake their lives and welfare of families in the service of the nation” the CNG declared.
But reacting to ACF Sani’s position on political solution for Nnamdi Kanu’s case, Ohanaeze Ndigbo dismissed him and the group as enemy of Nigeria and peace.
According to Ohanaeze Ndigbo, any person who opposes President Muhammadu Buhari’s disposition to deploying political solution to resolving the Nnamdi Kanu matter is an enemy of peace and progress.
The National publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Chidozie Ogbonnia said President Buhari has shown maturity and magnanimity by promising to consider politcal solution to settle the Kanu matter, saying that anyone who is opposed to the President’s position does not mean well for the country.
“You know we have two groups of Nigerians, those who wish the country well and those who do not wish Nigeria well.
“President Buhari has shown maturity that he is disposed to peace and good of Nigeria. Anybody who is opposed to Buhari’s position on political solution for Nnamdi Kanu’s case does not wish Nigeria well”, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said.
Also reacting, Elder statesman and first Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi said that he will not respond to any street boy who is against the visit of Igbo elders to President Buhari on matters concerning Ndigbo, where they also made the demand for the release of IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Chief Amechi said that he was in company of Igbo elders that spoke with President Buhari who has heard them clearly and made a promise to them, that anybody including the street boy who said he was ACF Publicity Secretary, should shut their mouth.
“Igbo leaders have discussed with President Buhari who is in charge. How do you expect me to respond to a street boy agitating against our visit.
Do you expect me to be responding to anybody walking on the streets, talking rubbish.
“Who is even the man who claimed to be ACF Publicity Secretary, who knows him, where is he from? So, you want to start responding to anybody on the street? That is belittling myself. I cannot come down to that level, to join issue with who, for what? Who is he when I have spoken with the person that matters.
“I cannot bring myself to the level of responding to the comments of street boys. They do not exist and the person that matters to us is Mr. President who we spoke with and he responded like a President of a country and therefore, anybody talking now to me and to us does not matter and we cannot respond to him or them.”
In a similar vein, the Igboezue International Association, Nigeria and the Diaspora, IIAND, also replied the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, over their attack against Igbo elders and Ohaneze Ndigbo’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, where they demanded the unconditional release of the leaders of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
In a statement by Chief Pius Okoye, the IIAND’s National President Worldwide, after their meeting at Tracy Hotel Awka, Anambra State, the group berated ACF for fighting against the release of Mazi Kanu because he was against what they support which is herdsmen attack of Igbo communities and killing of the people in such communities.
Igboezue in reply to ACF, said that Mazi Kanu, has not been convicted for any known law in Nigeria “but thousand of Boko Haran killers, Fulani terrorist herdsmen who have killed and sacked people in their communities in the country, supported by Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, who claimed responsibly of such killings have been pardoned and integrated into the society and alleged to have been drafted into security agencies and they did not say anything against their pardon and integration.”
IIAND wondered why ACF will be so concerned with punishment of Mazi Kanu, whose alleged offence has not been established but has deliberately kept quiet to the pardon and integration into the Nigerian society of known killers, murderers, bandits and arsonists in the Northern states who have also rendered people homeless.
IIAND, challenged ACF, to come up with the proof of one single person killed by Mazi Kanu, that should warrant his illegal abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria.
According to IIAND, Kanu is asking for equal treatment for all Nigerians and stoppage of terrorist attacks of communities by killer herdsmen from the North, asking the ACF to explain the reason behind herdsmen attacks of people and sacking them from their communities and also to explain the reason for Boko Haram and bandits attack of states in the North including Abuja.
IIAND asked the ACF to explain with evidence how many soldiers and Army officer killed by IPOB or Nnamdi Kanu, saying that Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen and Northern bandits have killed uncountable Army, Navy, Air force and Police men and yet, they are being pampered by the North and ACF keeps quiet and pretends that such killings did not occur, but anything concerning the Igbos, IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu, they will be alive and ready to condemn.
“We in IIAND are therefore telling ACF to stop convicting Mazi Kanu when the court has not done so and if Kanu should not be released, they should make the federal government to rearrest all their so called repentant Boko Haram, bandits and killer herdsmen arrested and released.
“ACF should therefore bury its head in shame for not speaking out against thousands of security men, civilians and children killed and displaced, kidnapped and driven out of school by their pampered different group of bandits and terrorists that have made the North inhabitable, but will be fast to demand the crucification of innocent Nnamdi Kanu that has never been convicted of any crime.”
However, the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo also faulted the ACF’s position saying Kanu has not done anything wrong.
Adebanjo said: “I don’t believe in begging Buhari. Kanu has not done anything wrong. Did Kanu or Sunday Igboho do anything wrong? I don’t support the approach of Ohanaeze Ndigbo going to beg Buhari. Buhari is wrong and he should be told that.
“Let them (FG) prove what wrong Nnamdi Kanu has done. Now, some northerners are saying he should go through due process.
Did the federal government bring him through the right process? I believe Buhari is wrong, he should free Kanu and Igboho and compensate them for the harm done to them.”
Meanwhile, the immediate past President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has accused the federal government of Nigeria of treating the Igbo race as second class citizens.
Nwodo who made the allegation while delivering a paper on:”Nigeria’s Political and Economic Future – the Dangers We Can Avert”, lamented the exclusion of the Igbo race in the security architecture of the country as well as other sensitive and strategic public positions.
His words: ” We are grossly marginalised and treated by the federal government as second class citizens. No Igbo man for instance, heads any security arm of the Nigeria Armed Forces.
” Our area is the most heavily policed as if there was a deliberate policy to intimidate us and hold us down.
” The brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concern the South East is provocative.
” We invest and contribute to the economic and social life of the communites where ever we live. We are proudly Christians but very accommodating of our brothers of other persuasions.”
The former Information Minister regretted that the militarisation of the South-East zone and the high-handedness of the federal government in dealing with the zone were the reason for the growing disenchantment among youths in the zone.
Lolo Ijeoma Njoku Obinwannem News Writer / Nov 23, 2021