President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he will consider Igbo leaders’ appeal to release Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.
Today, November 19, while receiving certain southeast leaders at the statehouse, President Buhari stated that the demand for Kanu’s unconditional release violates the theory of separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary.
The President responded to the demand made by a group led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, under the umbrella of Highly Respected Igbo Greats.
“As the leader of this country, you’ve placed an exceedingly difficult demand on me. Your request has very serious implications. Nobody would suggest that in the six years since I became President, I have confronted or interfered with the work of the judiciary. God has preserved your life and blessed you with a clear mind and a sharp memory at your age. Many people half your age are already confused. However, the demand you made is considerable. I’ll think about it.”
President Buhari emphasized his stance of non-interference with the judiciary after Kanu jumped bail, was arrested, and returned to the country.
“I said that the best thing to do was to put him through the system.” Allow him to present his case in court rather than portraying the country in a negative light from the outside. Giving him that chance feels like a favour to me.”
The President expressed his condolences to Chief Amaechi, who had lately buried his wife, and prayed for her soul’s rest.
The nonagenarian had called the situation in the Southeast as “sad and dismal,” adding that businesses have failed, education has deteriorated, and dread has spread throughout the region.
He pleaded for a political solution rather than a military one, alleged that if Kanu was released to him as last alive First Republic Minister, “he would no longer say the things he had been saying,” and that he could control him because “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”
Chief Amaechi said he had spoken with Nnamdi Kanu twice earlier, and the latter had rescinded orders on civil disobedience.
“I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. Mr President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire.”
His Excellency Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State, Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Chief Barrister Goddy Uwazurike, former President of the Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, and Mr Tagbo Mbazulike Amaechi were among the other leaders of the visiting delegation.