**Denying Kanu legal rights, representation’ll hurt peace moves in South-East
**Commend IPOB for cancelling sit-at-home for Anambra poll
By Clifford Ndujihe
THE South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops have urged the Federal Government to concretize its statement that it was open to dialogue and political solution to the issue of detained Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The monarchs and religious leaders also commended the IPOB leadership for listening to them and cancelling its seven-day sit-at-home that paved the way for the peaceful Anambra State Governorship election, last Saturday and Tuesday.
Disturbed by the denial of some lawyers of Nnamdi Kanu access to the courtroom on November 10, they urged the court to affirm the fundamental rights of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyers, and other stakeholders.
“Failure to do so would lend weight to the suspicion in some quarters of a planned secret trial, as well as neutralise all the efforts being made to establish peace in the South-East,” they said in a joint statement by the Obi of Onitsha,His Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka A. Achebe; Methodist Archbishop of Umuahai,Most Reveeend Chibuzo Opoko; and Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Reverend Anthony Obinna.
The statement read: “The South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and the Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops commend Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the entire leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, for listening to our appeal and calling off the sit-at-home order. This has offered some relief to the already distressed social and economic life of our people.
“The Joint Body is relieved that the Anambra State Gubernatorial Election was conducted without any major incidents or breach of the peace. It also commends the people of Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Security Forces, the National Peace Committee, and all the other actors who contributed to the successful conduct of the election.
“The Joint Body is highly disturbed by the persistent complaints by the IPOB legal team about the difficulties it encounters in dealing with the Department of State Services, DSS, and, especially, the sad events which occurred during Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s appearance in court last Wednesday, November 10.
This Body urges the court to affirm the fundamental rights of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyers, and other stakeholders. Failure to do so would lend weight to the suspicion in some quarters of a planned secret trial, as well as neutralise all the efforts being made to establish peace in the South-East.
“The Joint Body acknowledges the statement by the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, in which he affirmed that the Federal Government was open to a political solution to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s case.
This statement is in line with the proposal earlier made by this Joint Body and by other well-meaning persons and groups in Nigeria. This Body therefore eagerly awaits the concrete steps that would be taken in this regard.
“The Joint Body acknowledges the roles played by various other Igbo organizations and groups in fostering peace in the South-East zone and calls on all to sustain the current effort until true peace, based on justice and equity, is achieved in our land.”