…says Kanu’s protracted detention has continued to affect residents of South-east
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to release leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the before exiting office on 29 May.
He assured Buhari of safety of the Biafran warlord, in a secured accommodation in Awka, as well as his availability anytime he is needed by the Federal Government.
Mr Soludo made the appeal in a letter dated 20 April and addressed to the president which was obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.
Soludo, in the letter, said Kanu’s protracted detention has continued to affect residents of South-east who are forced to observe a sit-at-home order on Mondays out of fear.
The governor regretted federal government’s refusal to release the IPOB leader despite a call by the United Nations Human Rights Council for his release and various court rulings in Nigeria freeing the detainee.
Soludo said, “In the meantime, the continued detention of Mazi Kanu has created what, for want of a better description, can be seen as systemic insecurity in the South-east.
“Some supporters of Mazi Kanu have imposed the obnoxious and harmful sit-at-home order every Monday in the South-east, while all manner of criminal gangs- kidnappers, bandits, armed robbers etc.- now masquerade as ‘freedom fighters’ or those fighting for the release of Mazi Kanu.”
According to Soludo, Mr Kanu was reported to be “gravely ill” with life-threatening conditions, including serious heart condition, hypertension and low potassium levels.
He stressed that the medical conditions require specialist medical care and interventions which are unavailable at the SSS facility where Mr Kanu is being detained.
“In the light of the foregoing, it is my earnest prayer that Mr President may kindly consider the immediate and unconditional release of Mazi Kanu as demanded by the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Federal High Court.
“This will be the right thing to do as a country that should extol the principle of the rule of law in compliance with the international law and conventions that Nigeria is signatory to,” Soludo added.
The governor told Buhari to consider granting Kanu an “administrative bail on compassionate grounds and as part of national healing” if there were persisting grounds that would make his unconditional release “untenable.”
“In this circumstance, I am prepared to take him (Kanu) on bail. My government is prepared to provide him with alternative secured accommodation at Awka where he will have access to appropriate medical care, among others, and make him available when required,” he assured.
He said it was necessary for Mr Buhari to release the IPOB leader given that Nigeria has gone through a “very consequential election” and that part of the smart steps to be taken must include an agenda for national healing and addressing lingering insecurity, especially in the South-east.
Soludo pointed out that the fight against insecurity in the region has not fared well because of lack of “wider constructive engagement/dialogue between the Federal government, South-east leaders and other critical stakeholders on a form of coordinated political solution.”
He said the release of Mr Kanu was not only a legal or compassionate thing to do, but also a patriotic act to advance the cause of security, peace and development of the South-east region.
“As you shepherd a transition process to handover to your successor, you might as well help to smoothen his easy take-off by resolving some of the lingering issues such as Mazi Kanu’s detention.
“I therefore respectfully call on you, as statesman, to discharge a historic show of mercy and release Nnamdi Kanu before you handover on the 29th May, 2023,” Mr Soludo said in the letter,” he concluded.