President Muhammadu Buhari has declined a plea by South Eastern leaders bordering on the charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in the country.
Buhari stated this during a meeting he had on Friday, May 6 with the South-East leaders, including the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at the new Government House, Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
The President, who has ended his two-day working visit to the State, pointed out that the determination of the court on the matter was necessary.
Buhari also commissioned the newly completed King David University of Medical Sciences in the Ụbụrụ Ohaozara local government area of the state.
Chairman of the Southeast Traditional Rulers’ Council, Eze Charles Mkpuma in his address had called on the President to grant the plea for Kanu’s release.
“We stand by you in all efforts towards the fight against insecurity in South East and the country in general. We however plead with you as a compassionate father to temper justice with mercy in the case of our son, Nnamdi Kanu.
We have started a dialogue to ensure that all those who feel aggrieved are brought to round table discussion. We shall continue to support you and your administration. Do not listen to those advocating for the interim government for they are inviting anarchy.
We urge you to look inwards and build the rest administration around the South Easterner who has outstanding performance.”
Also, Chief Mbazululike Amaechi, the former Minister of Aviation in the First Republic stressed that he wants to see peace in the South East and Nigeria as a whole before he joins his ancestors.
“I want to see peace in this country before I join my ancestors. I want to see peace in the South East, particularly where there is an upsurge of crisis and something that will lead to that peace is around the corner and we are asking you to give me the mandate and I will give you peace. I guarantee you this, Mr. President.
We say in Igbo land that a mad man is owned by his people. If somebody was mad yesterday, and on guarantee of elders, like me and other elders, I will bring him out and that is to get peace. Help us to get the peace and I will give you peace in this part of this country and also in Nigeria, because I am a Nigerian. I took part in the struggle for the independence of this country.”
Speaking on behalf of the religious leaders, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria in Ebonyi, Rev. Father Abraham Nwali called on President Buhari to grant Nnamdi Kanu freedom.
“We pray that he be granted pardon as we call on all agitators to cease all forms of hostilities and other demands for a nation, where the plight of the poor, the weak, and the oppressed will be addressed.
As a body that is of genuine counsel, our country is currently challenged greatly by insecurity and societal conflict here and there with a high level of poverty. A great number of our families are living in the fear of the unknown.
Your Excellency, as a father of our dear nation and South East, we bring to your notice that the sit-at-home has crippled the economy of South East and banditry is engulfing the nation.
Our society is growing by violence with a lot of youth restiveness. We know that you are doing your best to solve these problems, but we request kindly your Excellency for more dialogue with all nationalists and more empowerment to the various security agencies to tackle this monster called insecurity.
We request that you exercise the promotion of equity, fairness, and social justice by all institutions and political parties, especially as we approach the year of transition.
We plead for your political solution as a father, a loving father, a forgiving father to grant Nnamdi Kanu freedom. He prays that he be granted pardon as we call on all agitators to cease all forms of hostilities and other demands for a nation where the plight of the poor, the weak, and the oppressed will be addressed.
Your Excellency, history shall be kind to you and you will have the greatest ovation in the world if your administration can do that which all think will not be possible to assist for the emergence of President of Nigeria in South East of Igbo extraction come 2023.
It was done in South West in 1999 and NADECO and other agitating groups ceased all hostilities. Agitations in the South East will likewise disappear if you grant us that unique privilege.”
Responding to the plea, President Buhari said;
“I have listened carefully to various appeals from the elders and traditional leaders regarding a wide range of options and as I have said previously, this matter (Kanu’s trial for treason) remains in the full purview of the law court, where it will be properly adjudicated.
“My worry is for our hardworking and innocent civilians for whom life is already tough and will like to go out and earn a good and honest living. There are many that fit this profile and the government owes them that obligation to protect their lives and property.
“I will once again repeat; no one has the right to carry an AK-47 and anyone in any part of the country doing so and is not a law enforcement officer is a threat to our peaceful coexistence and should be treated as such.”