South East Forum has asked the Federal Government to release the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu to it for the elders to talk to him.
This was one of the issues the forum discussed in its meeting in Enugu a couple of days ago, according to its convener, Dr. Dozie Ikedife who made the disclosure to our correspondent in Nnewi, Anambra State.
Ikedife said the elders resolved that if the Federal Government could release Nnamdi Kanu and others held under the same circumstance to them, they would take up the responsibility to talk to Biafra agitators and advise them as elders. He insisted that the elders saw it as justice denied to continue to hold Kanu and others in detention without either releasing them or giving them speedy trial. He said there was nothing wrong for somebody to ask for his rights.
“The forum is of the view that nothing happens without nothing. They have the view that the agitators have the right to protest because of relative exclusion in the decision-making circle of Nigeria. For instance, in the Council of States, there is no single representation from the South East. And the agitators feel that if you look at the allocation of patronages, amenities and development, they are getting shares not equal to what others in the country are getting or commensurate with their contributions to national development.
“For example, in the federal allocation for road maintenance in the nation, the South East and South South are the least, yet, the federal roads in these areas are among the worst. These roads are not maintained, not to talk of constructing or opening up a new one. People of these zones are not comfortable about it and we have the feeling that, if you reject somebody in a dance group, you should allow him go away with his dancing paraphernalia. You cannot beat a child and ask him not to cry,” Ikedife said.
He noted that there was no relationship between the elders forum and Nnamdi Kanu “except that the forum feels that the time has come either to release him or those holding him to expedite action and legal process that will lead to his release because justice delayed is justice denied.”
Ikedife said the forum was of the view that if Kanu stayed in confinement this long and probably he is found innocent of the charges against him, then, he might have suffered confinement for nothing.
“therefore we call for his release, even if it is to the elders. It is not just Kanu, we are talking about others who are in that comparable circumstance. Let them regain their freedom. Keeping them in detention for that long is unfair.”
On the forum’s relationship with Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ikedife said the forum is made up of elders from the five states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo in the South East geo-political zone without youth, women or other wings. He said the forum does not usurp the activities of Ohanaeze as every other body has its relevance.
He explained that Ohanaeze is there as a socio-cultural organisation that harmonised the activities of Ndigbo and talk about their welfare within the content of Nigeria. He added that the South East Forum was there to fill the gap in a situation where Ohanaeze could not handle certain issues.
On Igbo presidency, Ikedife said the elders had not taken any position, despite the fact that it is a topical issue. “We think 2019, when Buhari will quit should not be in the front burner now, even though it is not quite far, we have to watch a few other events before we take a stand.”
Also, IPOB has condemned the incessant arrest, harassment and illegal detention of members in different prisons and secret cells across the country even when court had declared the group legal.
The group stated that on April 15, 2017, the Divisional Police Office (DPO) of Umuebulu police station, Mary Iheanacho, a Superintendent of Police (SP) ordered the arrest of IPOB members who were evangelising for the restoration of Biafra in Umuebulu 1 Etche in Etche Local Government Area of River State.
A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful said the peaceful evangelism of IPOB family members was held on April 2, 2017 and there was no arrest until April 15, when the DPO ordered the arrest of our members in the community.
Meanwhile, Assistant Commander of Nnewi Central Vigilance group, Nnewi, Anambra State and a community youth leader, Chukwueloka Ubajekwe has warned about the dangers in continued detention of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Flanked by hundreds of youths in solidarity at Nnewi Youth League Hall to receive a merit award from Nzuko Ora Nnewi (Nnewi town union) which was presented by its outgoing president, Dr Douglas Nkemdirim, Mr Ubajekwe reasoned that so long as Kanu remained in prison, his supporters would not cease to protest. He said that meant more loss of lives amongst members of the IPOB, when they clash with security agents.