Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The World Igbo Congress, WIC, has urged Nigeria’s Supreme Court to order the unconditional release of the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as the apex court is set to deliver judgment tomorrow, Friday December 15, on the IPOB Leader.
WIC, in a statement by its Chairman, Dr Festus Okere, argued that Kanu is a freedom fighter, and an advocate of the Igbo cause, and not a terrorist contrary to allegations by the Federal Government.
The apex Igbo organisation in the Diaspora, also urged the apex court to ignore any pressure on it to postpone tomorrow’s judgment for whatever reason.
According to the statement, “WIC’s view that Kanu is a freedom fighter and a leading advocate of Igbo interests within the Nigerian polity has been ratified by the recent ruling of the High Court of Enugu State.”
WIC urged the Supreme Court to vindicate Kanu who it said, “is being unjustly persecuted.”
The statement made available to Ikengaonline read: “This Court held that the secretive classification of IPOB as a terrorist group by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and its sub-national entities violates Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“It is now settled that IPOB was never, and is not a terrorist entity; it has always been and remains, a non-violent organisation advocating for the right of self-determination of The Igbos.”
“WIC and most Igbos have always considered the extraordinary rendition and solitary confinement of MNK as part of the FGN’s overt and covert policy of unjustified discrimination against the Igbos, especially during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari. The Buhari administration considered the Igbos as a “dot” and an underserving “5%” voters of the Nigerian polity.
“This erroneous view led to its unjustified and unconstitutional but consistent persecution of the Igbos in whole or in part. MNK was a collateral damage of that discriminatory and oppressive act by the FGN .
“The Igbos are aware that MNK was extraordinarily renditioned in Kenya by the FGN; and that the Nigerian Courts and other International Tribunals have held that it was illegal for the FGN to do so. Since June 27, 2021, MNK has been in solitary confinement in Nigeria. Even with his poor health conditions, he has been denied the opportunity to obtain appropriate medical treatment.
“WIC notes that many other sub-national groups\tribes within the Nigerian polity including the Northern Elders Council (NEC), and the Oduduwa nation, have expressed similar view urging the right for self-determination as IPOB. None of their leaders or members are currently confined.
“Similarly, the leadership of Boko Haram, an internationally certified terrorist organisation freely operating within the Nigerian polity, appears to be pampered by the FGN.
“Regardless of the growing negative perception of the Supreme Court amongst the Nigerian populace, it continues to be the last hope of the common man. WIC believes that the Supreme Court will uphold the rule of law including the right of free speech and freedom of association enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution; and that it will ratify the numerous judgements\orders of its subordinate courts, and of various International tribunals, which have all unanimously ordered the unconditional and immediate release of MNK.”
Kanu has remained in a solitary confinement at the Abuja headquarters of the Department of State Services, DSS, since June 2021 following his extraordinary rendition from Kenya.
There has been increasing clamour from across Nigeria for Kanu’s unconditional release.