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April 19, 2024

Consider dialogue over Nnamdi Kanu’s case, Igbo group urges Tinubu, others

Consider dialogue over Nnamdi Kanu’s case, Igbo group urges Tinubu, others

File Photo: President Bola Tinubu and IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu

The World Igbo Congress, WIC, has called on President Bola Tinubu to consider a political solution over the lingering case of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

In a petition also addressed to the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the National Assembly, the WIC urged that Kanu should be freed unconditionally.

According to the group, the IPOB leader is only advocating self-determination for his people, a fundamental human right that is recognised in international law.

This was contained in a statement signed by the Chairman and the Secretary-General of WIC, Sir Festus Okere  and Sir Chris Ogara, respectively made available to Vanguard by Kanu’s Lead Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, on Thursday.

The statement was titled, ‘The Case for Nnamdi Kanu’s Freedom: World Igbo Congress Calls for Political Resolution based on Justice, National Healing and Unity.’

It read, “Today, World Igbo Congress writes you to discuss a matter of grave concern, a scenario that tests the very foundations of our beliefs in fairness, justice, and the rule of law. The case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is not just an isolated incident but a reflection of a larger, more systemic issue that confronts not only Nigeria but nations worldwide—the struggle for self-determination and the response it provokes from the state apparatus.

“In the heart of this discourse is a man who dared to voice the aspirations of his people, aspirations for self-determination, a principle enshrined in the Geneva Convention and recognized as a fundamental human rights. Yet, his pursuit of this cause has led him down a path of extraordinary rendition, prolonged detention, and a trial that has become emblematic of judicial prejudice and the denial of fundamental human rights.

“The Injustice: The trial of Nnamdi Kanu has raised profound concerns regarding the adherence to the principles of a fair trial, the equality of arms, and the right of a defendant to prepare an adequate defense. The Supreme Court itself has highlighted these as indispensable elements of justice. Yet, in Kanu’s case, these principles have been conspicuously disregarded. 

“The stark proclamation by a High Court that “the defendant cannot dictate to the Court on how to conduct the trial” underscores a dismissal not just of a man’s rights but of the judiciary’s duty to fairness and impartiality. 

“The possibility for the Nigerian government to discontinue Kanu’s prosecution as permitted by the Constitution, draws parallels from previous cases, including: Release of 313 detained Boko Haram terrorists; Hamisu Bala, aka Wadume, the notorious armed bandit who not only killed hundreds of innocent Nigerians, including several Nigerian Soldiers and Security operatives but also kidnapped, and collected millions in ransom payments, where such discretion was exercised for politically charged offenses.

“Others, including Mr. Omoyele Sowore and Sunday Igboho, are all free. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who did not kill, kidnap, or collect ransom, but only was seeking for good governance is still in detention, by DSS, for almost four years. Talk about purposeful injustice.

“The Appeal for a Political Solution: In the light of these transgressions against justice and fairness, we are compelled to advocate for a political solution—a solution that transcends the narrow confines of legal battles and ventures into the broader realm of human compassion, national unity, and the acknowledgment of the peoples’ right to self-determination. Such a solution recognizes that the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu serves no constructive purpose but only deepens the divisions within our society. 

“It acknowledges that true peace and progress stem from dialogue, understanding, and respect for human rights, including the right to self-determination.

“The Path Forward: The path to justice and reconciliation is clear. It lies in adhering to the calls from national and international bodies—from the African Union’s condemnation of IPOB’s proscription to the United Nations’ directives for Kanu’s release and the respect for self-determination. It involves honoring the rulings of our own courts, which have declared his detention a violation of his fundamental human rights.

“Let us not forget that the greatness of a nation lies not in its ability to subdue dissent but in its capacity to engage with it constructively. Nigeria, a nation born out of the determination for self-rule, now stands at a crossroads. Will we honor our history, our commitments under international law, and our constitution? Or will we ignore the principles that underpin our very identity as a nation?

“The Call to Action: To the government, we say: Embrace a political solution. Release Nnamdi Kanu as a gesture of goodwill and a step towards national healing. To the judiciary, we urge: Uphold the tenets of fair trial and justice without bias or influence. And to the people, we appeal: Stand together for the principles of fairness, equality under the law, and the right to self-determination.

“In conclusion, let us seek a political solution—one that fosters dialogue over division, justice over injustice, healing over hostility, and ultimately, peace over persecution. For in the end, it is not just the freedom of Nnamdi Kanu at stake, but the very soul of our nation.”