The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has said the striking out of eight charges bordering on terrorism and felony against the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, is a welcome development.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday, struck out eight of the 15 terrorism and felony charges preferred by the Federal Government against Kanu while ruling on a preliminary objection filed by the IPOB leader.
Reacting, the spokesman for Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, in an interview with our correspondent, said the decision by the court indicated that victory for Kanu was near.
Ogbonnia said, “It is a success story for IPOB. It shows that he will soon be released. It is a success story for us all. In furtherance to that, today being Friday, all parts of South-East have been shut down because of Kanu’s trial. On Monday, there is likely to be another shutdown.
“How long can we continue like this? That is why Ohanaeze appeals to the presidency to consider the option of dialogue. By the time we go through the judicial process, nobody knows when this matter will end. The masses in the South-East will continue to suffer for it.
“The manner the armed forces have taken over the southeast will not ameliorate the trouble in the South-East now. Rather, it will only escalate it. The President can make a statement today and there will be jubilation everywhere. The issue of mobilising soldiers everywhere, making the South-East turn into a siege area does not even solve any problem.
“It deepens the problem. It is the policies of the government that determines the extent of the joy and happiness of the people. Whatever happens on the side of the people is a reaction to the government policies on the people. When the state is very harsh on the individual, the people will also be harsh on the state. There is still a need for dialogue to address the issue of the South East.”
Also speaking, the spokesman for the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Mr Ken Robinson, said it was unfortunate that the Buhari regime has pursued the case with Kanu with a bias.
He said, “It is unfortunate that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has biased disposition to issues in the country. It is also playing out in the way and manner he has pursued the IPOB and Sunday Igboho’s issues.
“The IPOB started as a non-violent, peaceful agitation for the perceived marginalisation of the southeasterners. Reactions of the military, approved by the government, affected the operations of that group and they deteriorated into violence.
“The continued detention and trial of Nnamdi Kanu is heightening the disaffections in southern Nigeria as a whole when you look at the kid-gloves manner with which the government is pursuing the disruptive bandits and terrorists killing and destroying lives and properties in the country.
“The best thing for the government to do is to drop all the charges against Nnamdi Kanu. The judiciary should do its job; as we know, it is blind and works with the facts presented to it. The striking out of eight of the most frivolous charges against Nnamdi Kanu is welcome, but what we expect is his unconditional release.”
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