FG Set To Release IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu, AGF Keeps Mum

FG Set To Release IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu, AGF Keeps Mum

The President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration is reportedly under intense pressure to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Melody news reports that Kanu has been in federal government custody since June 2021, after his extradition from Kenya.

Sources within the government indicated that Kanu may be released soon. However, the terms of his potential release remain undisclosed.

The presidency officially refused to comment on the development when contacted last night.

However, sources in the presidency told Daily Trust that the leaders from the South East geopolitical zone have the right to ask for the president’s intervention on the matter.

South-East Leaders Intensify Lobbying

Political leaders from the South-East geopolitical zone have intensified lobbying efforts to secure Kanu’s release in the past few weeks. This includes several meetings and open appeals to the government.

The pressure from the zonal leaders, which transcends political party affiliation, has seen both legislators and chief executives of the five states in the region unite in seeking a political solution to the impasse, which has led to economic and social crises in the zone.

The situation has resulted in hundreds of lives lost since IPOB declared a sit-at-home order on Mondays across the zone, enforced by its paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Federal Government’s Stance

The federal government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, refused to divulge its plans, stating that commenting on the matter would be sub judice.

However, Daily Trust gathered that the governors of the five states would soon meet the president to formally present their resolution.

At the end of a meeting on July 2, attended by Governors Hope Uzodinma of Imo, Alex Otti of Abia, Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra, Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi, and host Peter Mbah of Enugu State, the governors resolved to interface with the federal government to secure Kanu’s release.

A day after the Enugu meeting, senators from the region, under the aegis of the South East Caucus of the Senate, met with the AGF.

Their leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, revealed that aside from pleading for Kanu’s release, the Caucus submitted a passionate letter to President Tinubu.

Abaribe noted that unless Kanu is released, social and economic activities in the South-East zone would continue to suffer.

He lamented that the peaceful demand of Kanu had been hijacked by hoodlums and criminals, leading to the killings of innocent people, including security operatives.

The South-East Caucus in the House of Representatives also announced their support for Kanu’s release.

A statement signed by 43 lawmakers, including Deputy Speaker Benjamin Okezie Kalu (Abia), Deputy Minority Whip George Ozodinobi (Anambra), Caucus Leader Enwo Igariwey (Ebonyi), Deputy Leader Nnolim Nnaji (Enugu), and Secretary Miriam Onuoha (Imo), emphasized that a political solution remains one of the quickest ways to restore peace in the region.

Legal Perspectives and Possible Outcomes

Renowned constitutional lawyer Professor Auwalu Yadudu stated that if the government could extract a commitment from South-East leaders, it could enter a ‘nolle prosequi’—discontinuing the trial.

Professor Seyi Akinseye-George (SAN) added that an out-of-court settlement would require a political decision by authorities.

Barrister Chukwudi Igwe suggested a legal leeway that could be exercised by the President through the AGF to withdraw the charges against Kanu.