President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to intervene in the case involving the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and has insisted that it is only the courts that will decide his fate.
The president’s statement followed appeals from the leaders of the Southeast that he should pardon and release Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently under detention and undergoing prosecution for alleged treason and other offences.
The president gave the response in his address at the Ebonyi State Stakeholders’ Forum, which includes traditional, religious and political leaders, held on Friday at the Government House in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, saying that Kanu must defend himself in court.
The meeting was the last official engagement of the president, who was on a 2-day working visit to Ebonyi.
What President Muhammadu Buhari is saying
Buhari said, “I have listened carefully to the various appeals from the elders to the traditional leaders regarding wide range of options.
“As I have said previously this matter remains in the full purview of the courts where it will be properly adjudicated.
“My worry is for our hardworking and innocent civilians, for whom life is already tough and would like to earn a decent and honest living.”
- The president who was on a 2-day official visit to Ebony State frowned at the brutal activities of terrorists in the South-East and other parts of the country.
- He reiterated the commitment of his administration to continue to protect and defend innocent citizens from those bent on causing a breakdown of law and order across the country.
- He also expressed concern over the worsening security situation in the region, reiterating his directive to security agencies to flush out those perpetrating violence in the land.
- President Buhari said that the security situation has continued to deteriorate in spite of the efforts of the military, police, and other security agencies to protect the people.
- He specifically condemned the brutal killings of security operatives and innocent civilians, as well as the truncation of commercial activities in the region.
- He, therefore, advised the people not to be brainwashed but to support the government in flushing out those restricting their freedom of movement and ability to exercise their basic human rights.
What you should know
- Recall that Nnamdi Kanu was first arrested in 2015 on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, and improper importation of goods, among others.
- He was initially detained and arraigned in court, but he fled the country in 2017 after he was granted bail for medical reasons, following an attack at his country home by security forces which led to some casualties.
- The embattled IPOB leader was later intercepted on June 27, 2021, and repatriated to Nigeria with the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian Intelligence and Security Services, to face the charges for which he was arrested about four years since he jumped bail.
- His repatriation followed an operation conducted by Nigerian security operatives in collaboration with international partners.
- Meanwhile, Kanu was re-arraigned by the Department of State Security (DSS) on charges bordering on alleged terrorism and treasonable felony on October 21, 2021, with journalists prevented from entering the court to cover the proceedings and the case was adjourned till November 10 for further hearing.
- In April, a federal high court in Abuja struck out 8 out of the 15-count charge filed against the IPOB leader.