Ohanaeze, Amaechi tackle ACF for opposing Nnamdi Kanu’s release
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-cultural group and First Republic Aviation Minister, Mbazulike Amaechi have flayed a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani and the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) for opposing the unconditional release of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Recall that the 93-year-old Amaechi last week led a delegation of eminent Igbo stakeholders to meet President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidental Villa, where they appealed for Kanu’s unconditional release.
Responding, President Buhari described the demand as a “heavy one” but promised to consider it.
However, Sani said that the intentions of Igbo leaders in demanding the unconditional release of Kanu, whose offences he said were ‘very grave’, were suspect.
“We are operating democracy which is the rule of law. One would think allowing Mr Kanu to go through the legal processes would improve the tenets of our nascent democracy and peaceful co-existence. Nigerians would know whether felony of secession is an offence against the state or not,” he said.
He added that releasing Kanu unconditionally without testing the legal system would not serve the public good.
In a similar vein, the CNG said in a press conference on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari should not give into demands of an “interest group” from the South-East to release Kanu.
The group said that the demand smacked of “unrelenting desperation by certain interest groups in the South-East to subvert the due process of justice and tamper with judicial process since Kanu’s arraignment.”
Giving a breakdown of atrocities perpetrated by the Kanu-led IPOB between 2017 and 2020, spokesman of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said that 1,230 Northern Nigeria citizens living in parts of the South-East have been killed just as national security assets and democratic symbols have either been attacked or destroyed.
The group further lamented that “several millions worth of businesses, properties and valuable assets belonging to northerners” have been destroyed in a similar fashion.
The group further said that the composition of the Amaechi-led group that visited the president further validated its assertion that Kanu and IPOB enjoy the support of South-East political and religious elite and the general population.
“Any attempt by the President to accede to the demand to release, without prosecuting and punishing Kanu, will inadvertently reduce Nigeria to a completely lawless state where criminals of all shades will commit crimes against the country, and then ask their traditional rulers and other regional or tribal leaders to press for their release.
“Warn President Buhari that the North has today realised that he places more premium on the pursuit for votes and political popularity for his party than he does for the sanctity of lives of northerners and security personnel who stake their lives and welfare of families in the service of the nation,” CNG said.
Reacting, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said any person who opposes President Muhammadu Buhari’s disposition to deploying political solution to resolving the Nnamdi Kanu matter is an enemy of peace and progress.
National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Alex Chidozie Ogbonnia hailed the president for displaying maturity in accepting to consider the request.
“You know we have two groups of Nigerians, those who wish the country well and those who do not wish Nigeria well.
“President Buhari has shown maturity that he is disposed to peace and good of Nigeria. Anybody who is opposed to Buhari’s position on political solution for Nnamdi Kanu’s case does not wish Nigeria well,” Ogbonnia said.
In his reaction, Amaechi said he would not dignify any “street boy” with an explanation for his visit to the president.
“Igbo leaders have discussed with President Buhari who is in charge. How do you expect me to respond to a street boy agitating against our visit. Do you expect me to be responding to anybody walking on the streets, talking rubbish.
“Who is even the man who claimed to be ACF Publicity Secretary, who knows him, where is he from? So, you want to start responding to anybody on the street? That is belittling myself. I cannot come down to that level, to join issue with who, for what? Who is he when I have spoken with the person that matters.
“I cannot bring myself to the level of responding to the comments of street boys. They do not exist and the person that matters to us is Mr. President who we spoke with and he responded like a President of a country and therefore, anybody talking now to me and to us does not matter and we cannot respond to him or them.”