By Emeka Aginam
An Igbo diaspora group, Igbo World Assembly has called on the Federal Government to immediately release the Director, Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally.
In a statement jointly signed by IWA Chairman, Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze and Oliver Nwankwor, Secretary General , the group said that Kanu is part of the Mass Media and should not be arrested or detained because of expressed opinions.
The group in the statement stated that freedom of speech is guaranteed by Section 22 and Section 39 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution as amended and such right is also enshrined in the Geneva Convention Universal Human Right Declaration Article 19 when it stated that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression
The detention and harassment of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, according to the group is an affront to a free press and speech of all Nigerians.
“Radio Biafra of which Nnamdi Kanu serves as the Managing Editor is part of the Mass Media and should not be arrested or detained because of their expressed opinions.
“The detention and harassment of Kanu, is an affront to a free press and speech of all Nigerians.
Suppressing press freedom is something many Nigerians associated with the dictatorship of the military rule in the past. All Igbo and indeed all Nigerians should defend press freedom and the right of Radio Biafra to express its views on Nigeria publicly. Igbos must not be subjected to a different treatment from other Nigerians
“This incessant harassment and in some cases killing of members of Igbo organizations must be put to an end. MASSOB or Radio Biafra have not picked up arms against or challenged the Nigerian Government by force
“Arrests and harassment of Igbo leaders is sending a wrong signal and message to young and newer generation of Igbos under 45 who did not witness the genocide war against people in the east
“Peaceful freedom movements are going on in Western Cameroon, Scotland; Quebec in Canada, or in Texas, in the United States and nobody has been arrested or detained by the governments of these countries”, IWA noted.
The group further stated that all Nigerians of goodwill should join in the campaign to restore freedom of speech and movement in Nigeria which has been abridged by the arrest and detention of Kanu, adding that Nigeria cannot go back to violations of freedom of speech and press as witnessed in the past under military regime.