Igbo group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has claimed that the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, may soon be released as negotiations on a political solution between the Federal government and Igbo leaders are now at an advanced stage.
In June, Kanu was brought back to Nigeria from Kenya for trial.
Kanu has since been re-arraigned for his trial on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society but his detention has led to a series of unrests in the South east with IPOB declaring a ‘sit-at-home’ every week.
Last week, Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami said the FG was open to political solution for the release of Kanu and the Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (Sunday Igboho).
Ohanaeze Ndigbo now says there is a joint body comprising South East Council of Traditional Rulers, the representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops, members of House of Representatives, governors, ministers, traditional rulers and officials of the British High Commission in Nigeria as part of a wider team meeting with relevant government agencies.
This comes despite warnings by the legal counsel to the IPOB leader, Aloy Ejimakor, that no negotiation would take place on behalf of his client if he is still in prison, comparing his situation to that of the late Nelson Mandela.
A statement by Ohanaeze Ndigbo in conjunction with Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe and Most Rev. Chibuzo Raphael Opoko reads in part:
“This body, therefore, eagerly awaits the concrete steps that would be taken in this regard.
“The joint body is relieved that the Anambra State gubernatorial election was conducted without any major incidents or breach of the peace. It also commends the people of Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security forces, the National Peace Committee, and all the other actors who contributed to the successful conduct of the election.
“The joint body is highly disturbed by the persistent complaints by the IPOB legal team about the difficulties it encounters in dealing with the Department of State Services (DSS) and, especially, the sad events which occurred during Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s appearance in court last Wednesday, November 10. This body urges the court to affirm the fundamental rights of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyers, and other stakeholders. Failure to do so would lend weight to the suspicion in some quarters of a planned secret trial, as well as neutralise all the efforts being made to establish peace in the South East.
“The joint body acknowledges the roles played by various other Igbo organisations and groups in fostering peace in the South East zone and calls on all to sustain the current effort until true peace, based on justice and equity, is achieved in our land.”
Also a new report by the Daily Sun on Monday, November 15, says the negotiating team has reached out to Malami and “await a feedback on a possible face-to-face meeting. ”
“If the meeting is successful, the minister would arrange for a final meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, who is expected to give a nod for the release of Kanu if certain conditions are met.”
However, the report doesn’t reveal the conditions given by government agencies to the negotiating team from the South East .