The Eastern Intelligentsia Coalition (EIC) has said that releasing the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, unconditionally will reverse allegations of ethnic and religious bigotry levelled against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
In a statement released in Enugu yesterday, the group also stated that a return to peace in the country was possible, should the Federal Government shore up the trust deficit it created since 2015 by releasing all political prisoners, especially Igbo youths, profiled as terrorists, and being meted with the worst treatments, tortured in various detention centres or even killed extra-judicially.
The statement was signed by Patron of the group, Prof. Obasi Igwe; the Chairman, Okey Onuakalusi; and Secretary, Dr. Kenneth Nwankwo.
According to the group, since 2015, Nigeria entered “the era of redefinitions”, as being described by many, stressing that within the period, an impression had been created that policies and actions of the Federal Government were targeted against a section of the country, thereby denying them a future in their own land.
It said: “The spectacle of Kanu in chains, hands and feet, seemingly denied sleep after endless gruelling interrogations and forced confessions – while Miyetti Allah and other gun-totting terrorists like the Unknown Gunmen in Eastern Nigeria, operate virtually freely – does not speak well of the country. This is not a worthy legacy to posterity.”
Justifying the call for his unconditional release, it stated: “Given that by ethnic association, the Igbo have nearly become synonymous with IPOB, the trial of the group will be a trial of the Igbo nation by your government. Can a Federal Government already being accused of sectionalism afford to create an enduring bitterness between one section of the country and another that it seemingly favours?
“Although clothed in legal jargons, extradition is essentially a political act, and implementable only by mutual consent of the two countries involved. Nnamdi Kanu is a British citizen. This raises the question: was the consent of the British sought before his forcible repatriation to Nigeria, or was he merely kidnapped and drugged against his will in Kenya or elsewhere, and forced back to Nigeria?”
The coalition urged the Federal Government to end the influx of foreign belligerents into Nigeria as well as immediate disarming of the AK-47-wielding terrorists in the nooks and crannies of the Middle Belt and southern states.