Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, has made a plea to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), before the president’s exit from office on 29 May.
Bellnewsonline.com reports that in a letter dated 20 April, addressed to the president, Governor Soludo expressed concern over the prolonged detention of Nnamdi Kanu, emphasising the adverse impact it has had on the residents of the Southeast, who have been compelled to observe a sit-at-home order on Mondays out of fear.
Governor Soludo expressed surprise that despite calls from the United Nations Human Rights Council and several court rulings in Nigeria ordering the release of Mr. Kanu, the federal government has remained reluctant to set him free.
He highlighted the consequences of Mr. Kanu’s continued detention, referring to it as a source of systemic insecurity in the Southeast.
Governor Soludo noted that some of Mr. Kanu’s supporters have imposed the disruptive sit-at-home order, while criminal elements disguise themselves as “freedom fighters” or advocates for Mr. Kanu’s release.
Furthermore, Governor Soludo drew attention to Mr. Kanu’s reported grave illness, listing severe heart conditions, hypertension, and low potassium levels.
He stressed that these medical conditions that necessitate specialised care and interventions unavailable at the State Security Service (SSS) facility where Mr. Kanu is being held.
Governor Soludo earnestly appealed to President Buhari to consider the immediate and unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, aligning with the demands of the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Federal High Court.
He emphasised that such an action would exemplify Nigeria’s commitment to the rule of law in accordance with international conventions.
If any persisting grounds render Mr. Kanu’s unconditional release untenable, Governor Soludo suggested granting him administrative bail on compassionate grounds as part of national healing.
He assured President Buhari that his government would provide alternative secure accommodation for Mr. Kanu in Awka, where he would have access to necessary medical care and be available as required.
Governor Soludo emphasized the need for Mr. Buhari to release Mr. Kanu, particularly in the context of Nigeria’s consequential election and the imperative of national healing to address lingering insecurity, especially in the Southeast region. He highlighted the lack of constructive engagement and dialogue between the federal government, Southeast leaders, and other critical stakeholders as an obstacle to effectively combating insecurity in the region.
Governor Soludo also underscored that the release of Nnamdi Kanu was not only a legal and compassionate action but also a patriotic one that would advance security, peace, and development in the Southeast.
He called upon President Buhari, as a statesman, to display historic mercy and release Nnamdi Kanu before his handover on 29 May 2023.
Recall that Nnamdi Kanu was initially arrested in 2015 but was granted bail in April 2017.
Following an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the Nigerian military in September of the same year, he fled the country. He was subsequently re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, declared that his extradition was a flagrant violation of Nigeria’s extradition treaty and his fundamental human rights, resulting in the court striking out the terrorism charges against him and ordering his release from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS).
However, the government has refused to release him.