Chief Edwin Clark, a politician from the Niger Delta and the head of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to free Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), who was just cleared of terrorism charges by an appeals court.
Clark made the request in a statement released yesterday in Abuja. He said he was disappointed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and the National Security Council’s decision at its meeting last Friday to agree with him that the Court of Appeal’s decision only released Kanu, but did not clear him of the charges he was facing.
The former federal commissioner said: “I consider this stance of the federal government rather imperious and needless. I, therefore, earnestly call on President Muhammadu Buhari to obey the judgement of the Court of Appeal and order the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu in the interest of peace in the country and the southeast in particular.”
“Most Nigerians greeted the judgement of the Court of Appeal with elation, mainly in the southeast where there were reports of widespread jubilation across cities in the zone. It would, therefore, be detrimental for the federal government to still keep Kanu in detention and provide any pretext for malefactors to continue to take advantage of the situation in perpetrating all sorts of atrocities in the zone.
“Even though certain activities of Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB followers have been a nuisance and very disturbing, the federal government went too far in going all the way to Kenya to abduct him on the ground that he jumped bail.”
Clark told how leaders, elders, and traditional rulers from the southeast begged Buhari at a meeting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, to let Kanu and other pro-Biafra activists out of jail.
He said, “The President responded that Nnamdi Kanu’s fate would be decided by the court and even when they (Igbo leaders) visited him at Aso Rock, the president again said the matter was no longer in his hands and the security agencies, but in the hands of the judiciary and that whatever the court decides would be final.”
“Now that the Court of Appeal has given its judgement on the matter, I am imploring the president to obey the judgement of the court and release the young man, and allow peace to reign. At this time, when insecurity is the order of the day, anything that would enhance the peace and stability of the country must be embraced.”
“Instructively, President Muhammadu Buhari should, without further ado, honour the order of the court and allow Nnamdi Kanu to be released, perhaps, with conditions that he would maintain the peace and work to bring to an end the needless Monday sit-at-home order, which has disturbed businesses and civil activities in the south-east. I am certain that Kanu’s release from detention will also expose those perpetrating the kidnappings and horrifying killings of security officers and other innocent citizens in the zone,” he added.