President Muhammadu Buhari, on May 6, reaffirmed his stand on not interfering with the decision of Nigerian courts to release or detain the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
In response to appeals by South-East leaders for Kanu’s release during his two-day State visit to Ebonyi State, the President said: “I have listened carefully to the traditional leaders regarding a wide range of options, and as I have said previously this matter remains in the full purview of the courts where it will be properly adjudicated.”
Buhari’s refusal to honour the appeals of the South-East leaders reinforces his resolve to see that due judicial process is followed in Kanu’s ongoing trial for alleged treasonable felony. His insistence, despite the persuasions, sends a clear message that a lot more horse-trading needs to take place to effectuate the much-talked political solution needed to rest the case.
From the look of things, the President appears to want to cease the moment to market his government’s commitment to rule of law for which he has often been accused of disrespecting.
It would also seem, by extension, that he is pandering to the principle of separation of powers, another sensitive issue wherein the Buhari administration has been knocked for interfering in the operations of the judicial arm of government.
Perhaps, even more so are concerns that he may be towing a middle-course approach just so he does not hurt the sensibilities of people and groups from other regions, especially those from the North who feel the IPOB leader should pay for his ‘sins’ against Buhari, and the Nigerian State.
Indeed, there are insinuations that the attitude of some members of IPOB who have gone rogue has not helped the Kanu matter. This is hinged on their continuous resort to violence even against individuals who decide not to obey their sit-at-home orders.
Without guarantees that Kanu and his followers would settle for peaceful agitations if the former is released, it may be wishful-thinking to expect the President to acquiesce to a political solution to the stand-off.
Needless to say that amidst the pleadings for Buhari to release Kanu, his group has been chiefly suspected to be behind the various acts of violence sweeping across the region, and rubbishing the efforts of the administration in securing lives and property.
All said, while a stalemate subsists, it is important for the President to ensure that the embattled IPOB leader, at least, receives a fair trial.
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