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President Buhari continues to demonstrates animosity against South Easterners as he keeps detaining Mazi Kanu

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 By Jeff Orji

The Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari has clearly signaled and continued to exhibit resentment, disgust and malignanceon over the entire South Eastern Nigeria especially with the continued detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who the Court of Appeal judgement ordered to be released. How could the leadership of the most populated country in African soil disregard court order on a matter that has very high global awareness? All these and more will continue to add to the dirty reputation that the country is known for across the globe. Don’t forget that at the beginning of this case, the same Buhari said, “let the law take it’s cause.”

South East Senators meets with Buhari

However, it is no longer news that lots of top leaders of many renowned countries have adviced the federal government of Nigeria under President Buhari to release the leader of IPOB. United Nations made an open declaration charging the Federal government to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. so many civil societies both national and international have equally aired their mind on this case but the president has remained unperturbed and unruffled not withstanding the level of insecurity this issue has created in the Eastern Nigeria.

Abubakar Malami

Recently, the South Eastern Senators prompted the president courtesy of the Appeal Court judgement which has provided the leeway for the federal government authorities to walk the talk as leaders desirous of preserving Nigeria’s unity and respect for her diversity. The South-east Senate Caucus has asked the federal government to obey the Appeal Court ruling, which ordered the immediate release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu. The Caucus also advised the federal government against appealing the ruling at the Supreme Court.

The lawmakers asked the Presidency to use this time to consider a political solution to solve the lingering problem in the interest of the country’s unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians. This plea was contained in a statement signed by 14 South-eastern senators. The senators are from Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Abia and Ebonyi, the five states that make up the zone. Mind you these are among the biggest political groups from the South East. In its statement, the lawmakers warned that resorting to the Supreme Court would ignite varied interpretations, which to all intents is injurious to the unity and corporate existence of the country noting that it is the time to show magnanimity and statesmanship.
Apart from the senators, many other Nigerians have also called on the federal government to release Mr Kanu. Some of them even suggested that even if the federal government wants to further pursue the case, it should release the IPOB leader first. But the question that begs for one million answers, is will president Buhari listen to them? I don’t think so because I know that he cares less about the Igbos. What is happening in the South-East now is as a result of total disregard for the interest of the South-East people by the government at the centre. And that is what is still playing out even with a court order.

Be it as it may, not complying to court orders is becoming a sine qua non under this administration. The news was everywhere across the globe as the Court of Appeal in Abuja, struck out the terrorism charges filed against Mr Kanu by the Nigerian government and ordered his release from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS). The Court said the IPOB leader was “extra-ordinarily renditioned” to Nigeria and that the action was a flagrant violation of the country’s extradition treaty and also a breach of his fundamental human rights.

In the time past, We used to say that the judiciary is the last hope of the common man especially in the face of oppression but is obvious that the principal is not well grounded in Nigeria because the court has become theater of proclamations that will not be obeyed even by the federal government.

Calling back to memory, I have lost counts on series of mandates, proclaimations, court orders and directives that have reigned supreme on this case. Businessday.ng on the 26th October captured a headline, ‘Court orders FG to pay Nnamdi Kanu N500 million’. The story noted that the court said the government should pay Kanu the sum as compensation for illegally kidnapping him and violating his rights as a human in Kenya.

Going further, Daily Post on the 4th of April, 2022 equally reported a headline, “Court orders Buhari’s govt to pay Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer N5m’. An Abuja Federal High Court, ordered the Federal Government to pay N5 million compensation. Daily Trust on the 19th of January reported that the Abia state High Court ordered FG to pay Nnamdi Kanu N1 billion damages. A report from vanguard on the 26th of October 2022 noted that the federal high court sitting in Umuahia, Abia state fines FG N500m damages over Nnamdi Kanu’s unlawful arrest and detaintion. The cable.ng noted on the 2nd of February, 2022 that a federal high court orders FG to pay Nnamdi Kanu’s ‘associates’ N200,000. The question is how many of these court orders have been obeyed by federal government? Obviously none. Or does it mean that the federal government under President Buhari do not consider those courts as having competent jurisprudence?

From every indication, the excuse and vituperation of the federal government through Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami should not hold water. Malami is arguing that the court only discharged Mr Kanu and did not acquit him saying that the government would not release Mr Kanu, despite the court ruling. Can you imagine that kind of statement! Who is fooling who here? He even added that the government is reviewing its legal options and could institute other charges against the IPOB leader. “The federal government will consider all available options open to us on judgment on rendition while pursuing determination of pre-rendition issues. To release or not to release Nnamdi Kanu is a function of law and the rule of law for that matter. In arriving at a decision whether to release or not release, is one; you look at the rule of law, two; you look at the public and the national interest, three; you look at the security situation, four; you look at the international diplomacy, Malami said.

Furthermore, It is very laughable that the FG, in an affidavit it filed in support of its application to stay the execution of the judgement, described Kanu as “a flight risk person”, insisting that the case against him borders on national security. Relying on the decided case law in Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Asari Dokubo, FG, argued that once a case touched on national security, the right of the individual affected takes secondary place. How could they describe Nnamdi Kanu as a flight risk person when no one has captured and prosecuted the leaders of the dreaded boko Haram terrorists that have placed Nigeria among world terrorists nations. The same way, the herdsmen caused mayhem with reckless abandon and keep going scot-free. If not that most ethic groups in Nigeria rose to defend their frontiers, probably, these terrorists would have runned down this country.

I call it calculated mischief rather than intelligence report that releasing Kanu from detention would worsen the security situation in the South East region. The statement I believe was made in high ignorance of people who could not read the hand writing on the wall on what Kanu represents to the entire south east.

However, Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, has urged the appellate court to dismiss FG’s application, insisting that it was tantamount to seeking the stay of the liberty of a citizen informing them that in truth, the release of Kanu will actually bring peace and tranquility to the South East in particular and the nation in general. “This was demonstrated after the judgement of the court that ordered the release of the Respondent because Immediately the judgement was delivered, there was so much joy and happiness in the entire South East. There was so much jubilation and merriment”, he added. Ozekhome argued that Dokubo’s case was different from that of Kanu because while Dokubo applied to be granted bail, pending the determination of the charge against him, in Kanu’s case, the appellate court has already terminated his trial and ordered his release.

I hereby wish to say that the court has terminated and ordered the release of the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu hence everyone should comply to the status quo. Whoever wish to pursue another case against him should follow due process. Consequently, the federal government of Nigerian should release him.