Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, has made the case for the release from custody of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a crucial means of stemming the pervasive insecurity of the Southeast geo-political zone. Soludo has stressed that if the IPOB leader cannot be released unconditionally and immediately he (Soludo) would want the government to release Nnamdi Kanu to him personally as surety.
Governor Soludo who made the appeal at the recent campaign flag-off of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Ekwueme Square, Awka, did not mince words when he said: I am making a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally. If he cannot be released unconditionally, I want him released to me and I will stand surety for him. We need Nnamdi Kanu on the roundtable conversation to discuss the insecurity in the Southeast. We must end insecurity in the Southeast and we need Nnamdi Kanu to be around. We, some time ago, set up the Truth and Reconciliation Committee to find out the root cause of insecurity in the Southeast and they have almost concluded their assignment. But this issue of insecurity cannot be well addressed without bringing to the table the key players in this matter. We have applied the kinetic and non-kinetic approach to fighting insecurity in the South-east but the non-kinetic approach cannot be complete without the Federal Government releasing Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. I will house him here in Awka. We need him released to end insecurity in the Southeast.”
It takes tremendous courage of conviction to take this bold stand on the issue of Nnamdi Kanu and the protracted insecurity in the Southeast. The Monday sit-at-home phenomenon has led to uncountable losses in business, man hours and lives. The fact cannot be gainsaid that getting Mazi Kanu out of the slammer is at the very root of addressing the insecurity matter at hand.
It needs to be recalled that back in May, 2002, Governor Soludo had visited the IPOB leader at his place of incarceration at the State Security Service, Abuja. People who are today accusing Governor Soludo of playing to the gallery because elections are forthcoming ought to remember of this earlier meeting of the Governor and Nnamdi Kanu when there was no election on the horizon. Soludo did explain then that his visit was a part of his wider consultations with critical stakeholders to ensure lasting peace and security in the Southeast.
The heart of the matter is restoring security to the Southeast, and Governor Soludo has his finger on the pulse of the zone. Mr. Governor revealed that during his visit Nnamdi Kanu strongly stressed that spilling blood is totally against Igbo culture. The IPOB leader was sad that criminals were being recruited by fifth columnists to undertake wanton killings to give IPOB a bad name.
A statement from IPOB bears Nnamdi Kanu out thusly: “It is imperative to deliver the message from our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to all Biafrans both home and abroad, including the big and small politicians and business persons in Biafraland to stop all forms of violence and tension against our people as our enemies are relentlessly exploiting our people and recruiting criminals to destroy in particular Igboland and blame it on IPOB. This message is coming from our great and indefatigable leader, Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukwu Kanu, who has been illegally detained in DSS custody by Nigerian government since over one year ago. Our leader issued a stern warning to those who are contracted and bought by the criminal believing that he is an IPOB member and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu disciple to ferment (sic) trouble in the Eastern region to desist from being agents of destabilization because they cannot succeed. He said anybody causing problems in the region must be dealt with no matter how high the person’s level may be, anytime, any day. Onyisi Mazi Nnamdi Kanu said that nobody should disturb or threaten our people. Our enemies plan to destabilize Igboland using IPOB and ESNs names as enemies of the Biafra struggle.”
It is incumbent on the Federal Government to follow Governor Soludo’s plea and bring Nnamdi Kanu to the discussion table. No real peace has ever been won through war in the history of mankind. After protracted exchange of fire and the carnage, it has always ended on a roundtable because that’s the only way to evolve an enduring peace and harmonious coexistence. And perhaps, this could well be the beginning of a more genuine conversation on “restructuring” which many pundits agree has been the basis of our disconnect as a nation.
Governor Soludo’s bold and candid call for the release of Nnamdi Kanu resonates well with all lovers of peace in the Southeast. And that appears to be the only panacea against the mindless bloodletting and insecurity in the region.
By Paul Nwosu