90 days in cell, Ohanaeze tells Buhari to release him to Igbo leaders.
Agitation by MASSOB, IPOB misguided —Arch-Bishop Chukwuma
The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has threatened to continue its protest in the South East and South South states of the federation if by January 18, 2016, its leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu was not released from the cell of Department of State Services, DSS.
IPOB alleged that apart from denying Mr. Kanu access to his doctors, the Federal Government through the DSS, has devised another way of complicating his already deteriorating health condition, by making him to sleep on bare floor, thereby making him to contract pneumonia, which may possibly kill him.
‘Release Kanu to Igbo leaders’
Similarly, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu to Igbo leaders, assuring that they would make him realize the futility of continuing his pro- Biafra stance.
Chairman of state presidents of Ohanaeze in the seven Igbo -speaking states, Dr. Chris Eluemunoh, told reporters in Awka, Anambra State, that Igbo leaders were equally concerned with the security challenges posed by the activities of the pro-Biafra group, adding that once Kanu was released to Igbo leaders, they would sit him down and discuss with him and make him realize the negative effects of continuing with efforts to actualize the Biafra Republic.
Also, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, a rights group, has called for the release of Kanu, 90 days after he was arrested by the DSS in Lagos, and taken into its underground custody in Abuja and held without trial or conditional (bail) release or unconditional release till date.
The group in a statement by its chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, insisted that “the arrest and detention of Citizen Kanu and their circumstances are in grave violation of all known constitutional, regional and international conventional liberties or civil and political rights.
“Gravest of these violations by Buhari and his DSS are the provisions of Section 35 (4) (a) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as well as Sections 293, 295 and 296 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Ac, ACJ, of 2015.
“Therefore, we feel saddened and alarmed over Buhari administration’s anarchic approaches and dispositions, which are steadily leading Nigeria to irreparable destruction of its organised society, public morality and decency. The consequences of the Buhari administration’s contempt for rule of law are economically, politically, socially and ethno-religiously calamitous. Economically speaking, for instance, no rational foreign investor will risk his or her investment or capital in a country where its president boldly appeared on national television and declared disobedience to judicial decisions and disrespect to rule of law as sacrosanct and the corner stone of his administration.
“Citizen Kanu’s detention of over 60 days without trial or bail release is prohibited by Section 35 (4) (a) of the 1999 Constitution which clearly stated that “any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection 1 (c) of this section(reasonable suspicion of committing any criminal offense or preventing commission of a criminal offense)shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of: (a) two months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail (in capital offenses), he shall (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date.”
Agitations by MASSOB, IPOB misguided
However, worried by the agitation for Biafra and release of Nnamdi Kanu mounted by the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and IPOB, the Arch- Bishop, Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, yesterday, took a swipe at the pro-Biafra groups describing the demonstrations as misguided.
The cleric said the protests by the youths were borne out of frustration occasioned by abysmal infrastructure decay in the South-East geopolitical zone that led to many ideal hands in the region.
IPOB’s Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful, who addressed newsmen in Nnewi, said, the Federal Government had devised a systematic way of snuffing life out of Mr. Kanu. Apart from denying him access to his doctors, they have subjected him to sleeping on the bare floor, which made him to contact pneumonia, which can possibly take his life.
“Information reaching us from DSS office is that Mr. Kanu has been complaining of pains at both sides of his lungs. He has been having persistent cough for the past two weeks, and the coughing is so severe that traces of blood is noticed in the sputum. He is equally having respiratory problem now.
“They have also perfected another plan and way of killing his morale and frustrating him in the DSS cell. They are doing that through denying him access to newspapers and magazines, all in an attempt to shut him out of what is happening, because according to them, he is a ‘never say die’ type of activist that needs all manner of frustrating and intimidating measures to make him renounce his agitation,” he said.
The group allegedly gathered that Kanu was also being tortured and harassed to the extent that sleeping had become the most difficult thing he could have, and therefore, warned that what Boko Haram was doing in the North East would be a child’s play to what they would do if anything unsavoury happens to Mr. Kanu.
“We are Biafrans, our level of technological development has gone beyond what people know, If we can do what we did during the Nigeria-Biafra war, then one can imagine what we will do at this computer age. That we decided to be non-violent does not mean that we cannot do what Boko Haram insurgents are doing.
“We are being pushed to the wall by the present Nigerian government, and we will soon display a little of the stuff we are made of, if Mr. Kanu is not released on January 18, when his case is coming up in court,”he warned.
IPOB urged all its members, all pro-Biafra groups and agitators to be in Abuja on January 18, 2016 for Mr. Kanu’s court appearance to witness the proceedings of that day.
Meanwhile, IPOB has replied a former Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, Chief Maja Umeh and a former council chairman in the state, Chief Dennis Ngene, who accused its members of causing trouble in Anambra State, saying they were looking for political relevance they lost in the state since they could not use their position to positively affect lives .
Chief Umeh, an All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, chieftain who served under former Governor Peter Obi’s administration and Chief Ngene, now an All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, accused IPOB of causing trouble in Anambra State, and IPOB described him and others as irrelevant people in Anambra State, which was why the current government in the state dropped them.
“Some politicians are no more relevant in Igbo affairs. Some think that they will get political relevance by criticizing us and saying unprintable things about us and our detained leader. They should stop insulting us or they will be visited by the wrath of angry Biafrans,” said IPOB.
Issue of insecurity
According to Eluemunoh, a lot of discussions on how to tackle the issue of insecurity in the country was going on among Igbo leaders, adding that Kanu’s issue could be better handled and resolved if he was released to enable Igbo leaders get involved in the matter.
He said: “IPOB and MASSOB can operate as pressure groups and not as secessionist groups. Many Igbo people are residing in other parts of Nigeria and there is no way they can abandon their investments to return to the East in the name of Biafra.”
He, however, commended IPOB for ending their protests that grounded many cities in the South East last year, assuring them that they would benefit more if they adopt dialogue in their approach to national issues.
The Ohanaeze leader also spoke on the recent statement credited to the Enugu-based Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka in which he was quoted as saying that some people were planning to assassinate President Buhari, as reckless.
He added: “Mbaka should face his evangelism as a priest rather than create panic in the country. If he received any revelation, the better thing for him to do was to keep it to himself and pray to God to avert such a thing. The president is the Commander -in -Chief of the country’s Armed Forces and is capable of securing himself. W”e see the statement by Mbaka as a distraction.”
He said that Ohanaeze supports the president’s anti- corruption war, adding that with the way he was going, sanity would soon return to the country’s socio -economic life.
Addressing newsmen in Enugu, Bishop Chukwuma regretted that the agitators did not experience the Nigeria’s civil war to appreciate its toll on the Igbo nation that will warrant strident calls for secession at a time the Igbo were yet to recover from the quagmire of the war.
“Our people have invested in other parts of Nigeria. The agitation for Biafra is a grievance being shown in a wrong way because of frustration. The youths are frustrated because many of them have been used and dumped by politicians. Most of these politicians have failed them. The appointment of an Igbo in President Buhari’s cabinet does not translate to infrastructure development.
“All that we need now is the empowerment of our youths. Federal Government should ensure constant power supply so that industries will be established to create jobs to curb restiveness. An idle man is the devil’s workshop. The Igbo is in support of the President’s anti-corruption fight. The people who have stolen our wealth should be brought to book and the funds recovered plunged in the development of our area,” Chukwuma said.
“We are aggrieved over the state of our roads. There is no federal presence in the South-East. Our prisons are congested among others. Although we did not vote for Buhari, we now know where his administration is going and we have embraced it.Buhari should temper justice with mercy over Biafra agitation and release Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally.” “the Arch Bishop appealed.
By By Vincent Ujumadu, Chimaobi Nwaiwu & Francis Igata