Release Kanu as S’East Christmas gift, Ohanaeze tells Tinubu

The apex socio-political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked the Federal Government to release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, as a Christmas gift for the South-East region.

The Vice-President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, stated this on behalf of the group while speaking to our correspondent in an interview on Sunday, adding that anything short of Kanu’s release meant the hope of the people in the South-East had been dashed this Christmas.

The call by Ohanaeze comes ahead of the December 15, 2023, Supreme Court judgment in the Federal Government’s case against Kanu.

Okeke-Ogene dismissed as unfounded claims that prominent Igbo people, including governors of the region, were behind Kanu’s continued detention.

He said, “We don’t want to dwell much on the politics about the release of Kanu. If he is released on December 15, it is long overdue because competent courts of jurisdiction have on two occasions found him not guilty and also released him, but till now, nothing was done about it.

“So, we hope that the Supreme Court will equally do justice to it with the expectation that every Igbo man is expecting that President Bola Tinubu should know that the money and lives being wasted on the issue are not worth it. And he should, therefore, set the man free as a Christmas gift to the South-East if he truly wants peace to return to the region.

“The President should emulate former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, who used the carrot and stick approach to stop the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta region. The average Igbo person is also facing the same situation.

“Kanu should be a free man from December 15 and anything short of that has dashed the hope of the whole of the people of South-East this Christmas. If he is not released, it will be a black Christmas in the region.

“We are not in the position to pre-empt the court but for now, we are looking up to the Supreme Court, if it is a country where the judiciary works, we don’t have to be afraid that the Federal Government would influence the judgment.”

Okeke-Ogene, however, berated the Federal Government for its inability to collaborate with the government of Finland to tackle the issue of the autopilot arm of IPOB, led by Simon Ekpa, who is generally acclaimed to be fuelling insecurity in the region in the name of agitation.

“As far as we know, there is a group now using the agitation to cause insecurity in the region. First of all, if Kanu is released, we will hear from him and we will all join hands together to discuss these issues. And our people hiding in the bushes would come out and be rehabilitated.

“On Simon Ekpa and his group in Finland, we believe that the Federal Government is enjoying what they are doing, otherwise there is a diplomatic way of resolving the issue. It is a government-to-government collaboration and the Federal Government has not explored that avenue to resolve the situation.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the Supreme Court judgment, IPOB through its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, has raised concern over the promotion of Justice Tsammani Haruna to the Supreme Court.

Powerful, in a statement he issued on Sunday, claimed that Justice Haruna’s promotion was a reward for remanding Kanu in the DSS detention without any charge.

He said, “Recall that Haruna was the judge who okayed the stay of execution of the appeal of the Federal Government after the Appeal Court judges discharged and acquitted Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on October 13, 2022.

“IPOB hopes that Justice Tsammani Haruna was not hastily promoted to the Supreme Court to influence the panel that will deliver the judgment on Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s case on December 15, 2023.

“It is unlawful for a judge to stay the execution order on a declaratory judgment of the Appeal Court and be made to sit on the Supreme Court to further decide on that case.

“Nevertheless, Justice Tsammani Haruna turned the law on its head and stayed the execution of the Appeal Court judgment that declared the kidnap and extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as unlawful.”

(Punch)

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