The continued detention of the Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, is currently calling to question the future of the 70 million Igbo people in Nigeria.
How the National Assembly even handled a motion seeking his release, is generating a fresh feeling of their marginalization by the Tinubu administration.
For some extremist Igbo activists, Kanu’s continued detention amounts to detaining and humiliating the entire people of Eastern Nigeria, numbering around 70 million.
Special Counsel to the pro-Biafra group leader, Aloy Ejimakor, told The Southern Examiner that the continued detention of Kanu is not speaking well of the Tinubu administration, and the polity.
President Bola Tinubu, a leader with a progressive mindset who featured very prominently during the struggle against military dictatorship, cannot afford the political danger of alienating Ndigbo, one of Nigeria’s tripods - the WaZoBia, Ejimakor added.
Going by what is unfolding in Igboland, it is obvious that Kanu cannot be separated from Ndigbo.
Agreeing with that, Ejimakor, says it is unthinkable that anyone would seek to separate Kanu from his Igbo brothers and sisters.
According to him, “if you think you can separate Kanu from Ndigbo, think again because it’s impossible.The two are like Siamese twins, they are joined together forever."
“That is impolitic and dicey to boot”, Ejimakor adds.
The lawyer was reacting to the suspension of an amendment to a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, seeking to free Kanu.
The move which was aimed at arresting the violence in the troubled region of South-East,
Suffered a setback in the House
The motion was sponsored by Eze Nwachukwu from Ebonyi State, with Ginger Onwusibe, proposing an amendment to it.
This is even as Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State opened talks.with Tinubu on the release of Kanu, requesting the president to give the matter utmost consideration to extend hand of fellowship to the South-East people.
Mbah told reporters that among the issues he discussed with Tinubu, was the possible release of the secessionist agitator who has previously obtained favorable court rulings on his prosecution.
“Kanu’s release will engender a national healing process, already begun by the president”, the governor says as he expressed the hope that President Tinubu will give a favorable consideration to the request.
He also pointed out that he equally appealed for the assistance of Abuja to explore the abundant mineral resources in his state for the benefit of the electorate.
“We have a number of dominant assets in Enugu which we believe partnering with the Federal Government, we’re able to transform them into productive assets.
“A lot of people do not know but we have huge mineral resources in a new group. And these resources are sitting under our ground not being productive.
“So, we believe with the partnership we’re trying to basically build with the Federal Government, we’re able to transform these assets into productive assets.
“Of course, you know that the growth level we have proposed is one that is going to be driven by the private sector and the private sector wants the ease of doing business and one of the core indicators of the ease of doing business is security and infrastructure.
“So, we also had that conversation with Mr. President. We have made a very strong announcement. We’ve banned sit-at-home on Mondays in Enugu. And obviously, what that means is that we will, of course, need to heighten our security, tackle the challenges that would flow from that, and, essentially that’s what I have come to do.
“And finally, we also, of course, talked about the release of Kanu. The South-East has made a collective demand to have Nnamdi Kanu released.
“We basically identified with that, and requested Mr. President, who in his inaugural address promised the people that he’s going to engender national healing and he’s going to serve with compassion.
“So, we’ve basically informed him that this would serve as a pointer to his administration’s extension of hands of fellowship”, Mbah said after his meeting with President Tinubu.
Onwusibe, however, argued that the killings in the bleeding region were a direct consequence of Kanu’s prolonged detention.
Opposing the motion, Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Abdullahi Halims, asserted that the issue was sub judice and should not be discussed in parliament.
Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, however, expressed support for the amendment, stressing the need to find an amicable resolution to the situation.
The Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, could not determine the outcome when he put the motion to a voice vote. He, therefore, decided to suspend the amendment for further consultation.
Before the suspension, the Chief Whip,nUsman Kumo, agreed with Halims and cited the Standing Order that prohibits discussion on matters pending a judicial decision.
Abbas ruled that a decision on the amendment will be made after due consultation and invited both minority and majority leaders to participate in the process.
The motion was initiated in response to a tragic incident on July 4, where two individuals were killed and several others injured by unidentified assailants in a marketplace in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi.
In the meantime, the federal legislator sponsoring the motion has expressed disappointment in the security agencies’ failure to provide adequate protection for the market.
While highlighting the need for effective measures to address the escalating violence in the region,
Onwusibe’s proposed amendment sought the release of Kanu as a means to restore peace in the entire South-East.
He claimed that the insecurity in the region was a result of Kanu’s prolonged detention.
Some members, including the deputy speaker, supported the amendment, while others raised concerns about discussing a matter that was before the court, harping on the importance of respecting the rule of law.
Abbas quickly acknowledged the contentious nature of the amendment, and the need for consultation before making a ruling.
He recognized the significance of the issue and the differing viewpoints within the House.
As a result, he decided to defer the ruling until next week, allowing for due consultation with the relevant stakeholders.
The outcome of the consultation and the subsequent ruling will determine the course of action regarding Kanu’s release and the efforts to restore peace in the volatile region.