Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked President Bola Tinubu-led Government to release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, as a Christmas gift for the South-East.
Vice-President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene made the call on behalf of the group, adding that anything short of Kanu’s release meant the hope of the people in the region had been dashed this Christmas.
This is coming ahead of the Supreme Court judgment to be delivered on December 15, in the Federal Government’s case against Kanu.
Okeke-Ogene also dismissed as unfounded claims that governors, senators and Igbo leaders were behind the continued detention of the IPOB leader.
He said, “We don’t want to dwell much on the politics about the release of Kanu. If he is released on December 15, it is long overdue because competent courts of jurisdiction have on two occasions found him not guilty and also released him, but till now, nothing was done about it.
“So, we hope that the Supreme Court will equally do justice to it with the expectation that every Igbo man is expecting that President Bola Tinubu should know that the money and lives being wasted on the issue are not worth it. And he should, therefore, set the man free as a Christmas gift to the South-East if he truly wants peace to return to the region.
“The President should emulate former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, who used the carrot and stick approach to stop the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta region. The average Igbo person is also facing the same situation.
“Kanu should be a free man from December 15 and anything short of that has dashed the hope of the whole of the people of South-East this Christmas. If he is not released, it will be a black Christmas in the region.
“We are not in the position to pre-empt the court but for now, we are looking up to the Supreme Court, if it is a country where the judiciary works, we don’t have to be afraid that the Federal Government would influence the judgment.”
The VP, however, berated the Federal Government for its inability to collaborate with Finland to tackle the prosecute the factional leader of IPOB, Simon Ekpa, who is purportedly fuelling insecurity in the region.
“As far as we know, there is a group now using the agitation to cause insecurity in the region. First of all, if Kanu is released, we will hear from him and we will all join hands together to discuss these issues. And our people hiding in the bushes would come out and be rehabilitated.
“On Simon Ekpa and his group in Finland, we believe that the Federal Government is enjoying what they are doing, otherwise there is a diplomatic way of resolving the issue. It is a government-to-government collaboration and the Federal Government has not explored that avenue to resolve the situation,” he said.