Igede Tribe Calls for Release of Nnamdi Kanu, Labels His Continued Detention as an Affront to Nigeria’s Democracy
Byline: Steve Oko
The Igede tribe in Benue State has strongly criticized the prolonged detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), despite court orders, viewing it as a stain on Nigeria’s democratic values.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the tribe appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to promptly comply with the court order and ensure Kanu’s release. They believe that releasing Kanu will help ease the growing discontent in the South East region and restore peace.
The statement, jointly signed by Obo Mike Omenka and Agori Dennis Eka, urged President Tinubu to demonstrate inclusivity towards the Igbo tribe by responding to the numerous appeals for Kanu’s freedom.
The statement further argued that the agitation for self-determination should not be considered a crime but rather a fundamental right of those involved.
“We, the Igede natives, respectfully appeal to your sense of justice and integrity, urging you to take immediate action to secure the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from unjust detention.
“It is no longer news that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB, has been unlawfully arrested and detained by the Nigerian government for advocating civil rights and the emancipation of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
“After facing the rigors of criminal trial, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was discharged and acquitted by competent courts, including the appellate court. However, the previous administration, in a contemptuous and flagrant disregard for the rule of law, continued to detain Kanu, resulting in civil unrest not only in the South East but across the entire country.”
The Igede natives emphasized the severe consequences of this unjust situation, including trauma, property damage, and significant economic setbacks in the South Eastern region and Nigeria as a whole.
“We urge you, Mr. President, to set Mazi Nnamdi Kanu free. By doing so, you will not only bring hope and freedom to the Igbo people but also demonstrate your commitment as the father of our nation to upholding justice, equity, and fairness.
“Silencing a man unjustly during legal proceedings undermines the essence of justice. Marginalizing a region in national discourse testifies to the height of inequality. Witnessing human rights violations by the very institutions meant to protect them epitomizes unfairness.”
The Igede natives also expressed their detestation of the systematic marginalization faced by the South East from the Nigerian state.
“We firmly believe that no government can thrive on a foundation of injustice. A region that feels marginalized and voices its grievances deserves genuine inclusiveness or the right to demand freedom. Denying them these fundamental human rights stains our democracy.
“Releasing Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will allow him to address his deteriorating health condition, foster robust economic development in the South Eastern region, reintegrate the region into the national fabric, find permanent solutions to the burning issues in the Eastern Region, and establish a conflict resolution council to foster understanding and harmony among Nigeria’s diverse ethnic groups.”
The Igede natives also called upon other nationalities, civil society organizations, and the international community to speak out against the continued illegal incarceration of Kanu.
“We appeal not only to you, Mr. President, but also to advocates of civil liberty, human rights, and civil society organizations around the world to raise their voices against this injustice that disrupts our collective peace.
“We strongly believe that the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will bring lasting peace to the South East and contribute to robust economic development in Nigeria.”
The statement concluded by expressing solidarity with the South East and urging for calm and resilience in the face of the current challenges.
“We stand in solidarity with the Eastern part of our nation, which is currently in dire need of a voice of reason to prevent further descent into chaos and oblivion. The situation on the ground is evident, with mounting tensions and increasing hardships. People are living in fear and facing unimaginable difficulties for a cause within the realm of humanity.”
Furthermore, the Igede natives called upon Igbo political elites and intellectuals to actively engage in finding lasting solutions to the unrest in the region and demonstrate genuine concern.
“To the Igbo political leaders, we implore you to embark on a journey of self-reflection and realization. Show sincere support in quelling this persistent injustice, as exploiting it for personal political gains is a shameful act. We challenge all Igbo political leaders to use their influence and engage relevant institutions and authorities to expedite the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“To the Igbo intellectuals, we ask, how long will you remain silent while your rights are violated? Engage in critical conversations to advocate for the speedy freedom of Chief Nnamdi Kanu, who fearlessly challenged the ongoing marginalization of your region. A united civil movement demanding the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will restore hope to the common Igbo person, safeguard their freedom of expression, life, and association.”