A House of Representatives ad hoc committee has asked for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The call was made by Obinna Aguocha, Chairman of the committee working with security agencies to end criminal activities in Isuikwuato and Umunneochi LGAs of Abia state, during a hearing on Thursday.
Aguocha said the release of Nnamdi Kanu is important for the restoration of peace in the south-east region.
Recall that the IPOB leader has been in the custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, since his extradition from Kenya in June 2021.
The terrorism charges against Kanu by the federal government were dismissed by the court of appeal in Abuja in October 2022.
According to the appellate court, Kanu’s extradition from Kenya to Nigeria to face trial was illegal.
However, the federal government filed an appeal before the supreme court challenging the judgement, and subsequently filed an amended charge before a federal high court.
The government also filed to stay the execution in the appellate court and it was granted.
The supreme court heard the case in June but adjourned it to September 14.
The committee chairperson said it is necessary to deal with the underlying source of the problem if the insecurity challenges in the south-east must be addressed effectively.
Aguocha said, “For absolute peace, reduction of crime and criminality, investment in meaningful infrastructure development, ending the unproductive sit-at-home and improving economic growth and opportunities in the south-east, starts with the government’s recognition of the rule of law, justice, and equitable inclusion of the south-east zone in the project Nigeria and the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from unlawful detention to ensure lasting peace and security in the entire region.”
The lawmaker lamented that the security situation in the south-east is not “mere statistics or headlines”.
He said the situation is a “real-life manifestation that affects the lives of our people, disrupts the functioning of our institutions and communities and impedes the growth” of the geo-political zone.
“As leaders and stakeholders, it is incumbent upon us to come together, transcending our differences, to find sustainable solutions that will quell these threats and pave the way for a brighter future,” he said.
There have been frequent demands from stakeholders, including south-east governors, for the release of Kanu.
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