The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday advised President Muhammadu Buhari against releasing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
The President had promised to consider releasing Kanu during a visit by Southeast elders, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi.
“The demand you made is heavy. I will consider it,” the president said.
NEF said President Buhari should rather allow Kanu’s trial to run its course.
The IPOB leader is on trial on terrorism and treasonable felony charges before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Reacting, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide urged the president to ignore NEF’s advice.
Also yesterday, a former Abia State governor, now Senate Chief Whip, Orji Kalu, said he met with Kanu and cautioned him on his utterances and actions because of the consequences they have on his people.
NEF, in a statement by the Director of Publicity, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said there was no basis for President Buhari to grant the Southeast elders’ request.
The statement reads: “Northern Elders Forum has carefully studied the request of Igbo Elders for President Buhari to terminate the trial of Nnamdi Kanu and release him unconditionally.
“It has also noted President Buhari’s response which both raised very weighty issues related to the request, and his commitment to consider it.
“The Forum notes that there are no safe, constructive or informed grounds for granting the request.
“It advises that President Buhari will do serious injury to a country already threatened by multiple challenges to its security and territorial integrity if he delays announcing the only responsible response, which is that the judicial process in the case of Kanu must be allowed to run its course.”
Ohanaeze disagrees with NEF
Ohanaeze Ndigbo believes that a political solution is the best way to handle the Kanu matter.
Its spokesman, Alex Ogbonnia, told The Nation: “The issues we have in the Southeast and some other parts of the country are the problems that need dialogue and political solution, especially that of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB.
“They’re not so complex. Dialogue is an essential tool in every democracy.
“The earlier Nigerians understand it the better. What Ohanaeze is saying is something that can help solve the problem.”
The group urged NEF not to think the security challenges in the Southeast affect the Ndigbo alone.
Ohanaeze called on President Buhari to go ahead with the promise he made to the leaders of Southeast over Kanu’s release.
“Some people are being myopic in thinking that this problem is that of Southeast alone. No. Any problem in any other part of the country affects every other part whether you appreciate it or not.
“So, we’re calling on the father of the nation, President Muhammadu Buhari, not to relent on the political option for the release of the leader of the IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,” Ogbonnia said.