Release Kanu, S/E Monarchs, Bishops, Tell FG

By Ikeugonna Eleke

Traditional rulers and leaders of religious organizations in the South East Zone have made a strong call for the release of separatist leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu.

Prominent personalities in the zone under the aegis of The South East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops on Peace and Conflict Resolution, made the call in a press release on Tuesday.

The press release which was jointly signed by the traditional ruler of Onitsha, Obi Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, who is also the chairman of the Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, called for the release of Kanu.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had last week Thursday discharged and acquitted Kanu of charges preferred against him by the federal government.

In its reaction, the group said: ‘We welcome this judgement and assert that the wisdom of the Appellate Court presents a timely and an unprecedented opportunity to overcome the challenge of trust that has obstructed the path to peace.

‘It also opens the window to winning the hearts and minds of the people. We therefore unequivocally support the call for the immediate release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in line with the unanimous judgement of the court that his extradition and subsequent trial were illegal, and the lower court has no jurisdiction to hear the case.’

The group said that in the recent past, it had undertaken extensive and intense behind-the-scenes consultations with all stakeholders to broker a permanent, regionally coordinated restoration of the South-East to the status of the most peaceful and progressive sub-national zone in Nigeria.

‘The Joint Body has been consistent and persistent in its call for all stakeholders to not relent in the pursuit of peace building and resolution of security challenges in the South East, based on justice, equity, fairness, love, mutual understanding, and respect of all persons.

‘In furtherance of this, we have also supported the call for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government to douse the current tensions across the Southeast and create an atmosphere for collaboration towards a constructive resolution of the issues.

‘In conclusion, the march towards peace and the restoration of normalcy in our society and economy requires the collective action of all people of God. We are confident that all Nigerians will rise to the summons of history and act with courage, conviction and integrity,’ the group said.

Other personalities who co-signed the press release are; Rev. Dr. Chibuzo R. Opoko, Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia; H.M. Igwe Amb L. O. C. Agubuzu, chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council and Most Rev. Dr. Valerian M. Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha.