Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Worried by the growing insecurity in the South-East following the continued detention of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the people of Igede tribe in Benue State, have passionately appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to comply with the court orders authorising Kanu’s immediate release.
The people also urged Tinubu to end the protracted marginalisation against Ndigbo by the Federal Government, and show the tribe a sense of belonging in the spirit of brotherhood.
Describing Kanu’s continued detention against court orders as “a stain on Nigeria’s democracy,” the Igede natives urged Tinubu not to delay action on the growing clamour for Kanu’s release.
The tribe in a statement jointly signed by Obo Mike Omenka and Agori Dennis Eka, said that Kanu’s release would help restore peace to the zone.
According to the statement made available to Ikengaonline, agitation for self determination is never a crime but a bonafide fundamental right of the agitators.
“We, the Igede natives, write to profoundly appeal to your sense of justice and integrity, urging you to take swift action in effecting the immediate release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from unjust detention.
“It is no longer news that, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, has been unlawfully arrested and detained by the Nigerian government for advocating civil rights and the emancipation of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
“Having been charged to Court, faced the rigours of criminal trial, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was discharged and acquitted by Courts of competent jurisdictions, even the appellate Court. Nigeria Government under the previous administration in contemptuous and flagrant disregard to the rule of law and natural Justice yet continually kept Kanu in detention, causing civil unrest not only in the South-East but across the entire country.
“This unjust situation has left lives in perpetual trauma, properties in constant shambles, and has resulted in significant economic shortfalls in the South Eastern Region and Nigeria as a whole.
“Mr. President, we urge you to set Mazi Nnamdi Kanu free. By doing so, you will not only bring hope and freedom to the Igbo people but also demonstrate your commitment as the father of our nation to upholding justice, equity, and fairness.
“A man unjustly silenced during civil proceedings is an affront to the very essence of justice. A region relegated to the background in national dialogue is a testament to the height of inequality. Witnessing the violation of human rights by the very institutions meant to protect them is the epitome of unfairness.
The Igede natives further noted with detest, the systematic marginalisation against the South-East by the Nigerian State.
“We firmly believe that no government can thrive on a foundation of injustice. A region that feels marginalised and voices its grievances deserves genuine inclusiveness or their right to demand freedom. Denying them these fundamental human rights is a stain on our democracy.
“Release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to enable him to address his deteriorating health challenge adequately; create a robust economic baseline in the South-Eastern Region to boost its development; re-integrate the region into the national fold and find a permanent solution to the burning issues in the Eastern Regio; and establish a conflict resolution council aimed at unearthing the bond that will foster understanding and harmony among the diverse ethnic groups in Nigeria.”
The statement challenged other nationalities as well as Civil Society Organisations and the international community to speak out against Kanu’s continued illegal incarceration.
“We aappeal not only to you, Mr. President, but also to advocates of civil liberty, human rights, civil society organisations around the world to raise their voices against this injustice that plagues our collective peace.
“We feel strongly that the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu would bring lasting peace to the South-East and contribute to robust economic development in Nigeria.”
They expressed solidarity to South-East in the current travails of the zone, urging for calm and resilience.
“We stand in solidarity with the Eastern part of our nation, which is currently in dire need of a voice of reason to prevent further descent into chaos and oblivion.
“The situation on the ground is evident, with valleys raging, creeks getting muddier, and the path to daily hustles becoming increasingly slippery. People are living in horror and facing unimaginable hardships for a cause within the realm of humanity.”
The statement also challenged Igbo political elite and intellectuals to show concern and be genuinely involved in the efforts to find lasting solution to the unrest in the region.
“To the Igbo political leaders, we implore you to embark on a journey of soul-searching and self-realisation. Show sincere support to quell this festering injustice, as exploiting it for personal political gains is an apparent shame. We challenge all Igbo political leaders to wield their red caps, Ofors, scepters, and all royal insignias, taking a bold stand to engage relevant institutions and authorities to expedite the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“To the Igbo intellectuals, we ask, how long will you stand idle while a finger is poked into your eyes? Engage in critical conversations to advocate for the speedy freedom of Chief Nnamdi Kanu, who courageously challenged the ongoing marginalisation of your region. A united civil movement demanding Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release will restore hope to the common Igbo person, safeguard their freedom of expression, life, and association.”