Ohanaeze wants Kanu in court, demands fair trial, insists on dialogue

The umbrella Igbo socio-cultural body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has joined human rights and professional groups in urging the Federal Government to produce detained leader of Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in court for hearing on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

Kanu has been in detention since June 2021, when he was brought to Nigeria by means of an extraordinary rendition from Kenya.

During the last adjourned date, the prosecution failed to bring him to court from the custody of the State Security Services, Abuja where he has been for months.

Tribune Online reports that to press for his release, IPOB had put in place an economically and socially debilitating sit-at-home protest holding every Monday since August 9, 2021, in the South-East.

The group had even threatened to make the protest a month-long exercise should Kanu not be brought to court on Thursday.

In a statement declaring the group’s position on Monday, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chiedoziezie Alex Ogbonnia, posited that “the agitation and youth restiveness in the South-East of Nigeria is simply a reaction or an effect or the consequences of an orchestrated alienation by the federal v government over the years.”

Going down the memory lane, Ogbonnia recalled that “the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador George Obiozor, had in his inaugural speech on January 20, 2021, called on the presidency to consider dialogue as a panacea to peace; insisting that the jackboot approach to the IPOB uprising will rather aggravate the precarious situation.

“Professor Obiozor, a seasoned diplomat and scholar urged the federal government to reconsider the use of force in solving the present national crises. Obiozor relied on his knowledge of history and international relations to explain that military and violent means to solve the national question is bound to fail as it leads to further national fractionalization; anarchy and eventual or inevitable disintegration, as in all empires or multinational states or countries.”

He, therefore, reiterated that “Ohanaeze considers the use of dialogue and political solution as the only workable option open to the presidency and indeed all men and women of goodwill that desire peace and sustainable growth for Nigeria.

“Ohanaeze recalls with consternation that on May 2, 2019, a Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Interior, Abdul-Rahman Dambazau, held a meeting with national leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), as part of steps to address the country’s security challenges.

“The meeting was hosted by the Governor of Kebbi State, Alh. Atiku Bagudu. In attendance was the then Acting Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Muhammad Adamu. Bagudu remarked: “This shows the seriousness of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in tackling the security challenges in the country,”

“The President of MACBAN, Alhaji Muhammad Kiruwa, also lauded the Federal Government for mulling such an important interaction; according to Kiruwa, ‘this is the first of its kind in the history of this country, for the president to direct his security aides to interact with an aggrieved party to air its views.”

He averred that “the internet shows the global rating of Miyetti Allah as a terrorist group, yet the Federal Government has met with the body in search of peace”, even as he pointed out that “during the time of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the Niger Delta was at the peak of youths restiveness and Yar’Adua opened a channel for dialogue and the matter was over.

“President Goodluck Jonathan, during his incumbency, had set up a committee commonly referred to as the Presidential Committee on Dialogue with Boko Haram, an initiative which has been sustained by President Buhari administration. As of today, governors in the North have openly demonstrated their desire for dialogue with dreaded groups terrorizing their regions; the videos clips abound,” the Ohanaeze noted.

The apex Igbo body submitted that “based on the foregoing, the Ohanaeze structures, including the Council of Elders, Council of Traditional Rulers, the Igbo Governors, Igbo NASS members, government officials, Archbishops and the clergy, stakeholders, youths and women wings, town union, etc are ready for a meaningful dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria on a plethora of challenges facing the Igbo nation and Nigeria. Our core objective is a sense of belonging in a country anchored on equity, justice and fairness.”

The statement explained that “Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide enunciates that the guardrail of democracy is anchored on toleration, forbearance and dialogue. Good governance is merely an outcome based on the application of democratic norms and values. And not until the right thing is done and seen to have been done, Nigeria will most likely continue in its downward spiral.”

Insisting a fair trial for Kanu, Ohanaeze urged its representatives to live up to responsibilities.

“Finally, we urge the leader of the Ohanaeze delegation to the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife and our legal team led by the National Legal Adviser of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Barr. Joseph Ojodu and Barr. Goddy Uwazurike to put in their very best to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu obtains justice,” it directed.

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