Sequel to the visit of some notable Igbo leaders, under the umbrella of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by nonagenarian first Republic Parliamentarian and Aviation Minister; Chief Mbazulike Amechi to President Muhammadu Buhari to seek solution to the crisis in the South East, more leaders are looking at what the visit to Buhari can achieve.
President Buhari had confessed that Mbazulike had made a very difficult demand on him as the leader of the country but promised to consider the request in respect to his position, age and contribution to the growth of Nigeria.
Reacting to the President’s position, a constitutional lawyer, Maduabuchi Idam, disagreed with the president over interfering with the judiciary, if he orders the release of Kanu. Idam said that the Nigerian constitution permits the President to direct the Attorney General of the Federation to withdraw the case against Kanu.
“Kindly, note that if an offence is alleged to have been committed, it is the state that prosecutes the alleged offender. In this context, the state is the Presidency and that is why it is the office of the Attorney General of the Federation that prosecutes Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and those of his members on behalf of the federal government.
“Meanwhile, by virtue of Section 174 (1),(c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the AGF has the constitutional power to amongst others, enter a “nulle prosecui” ( power to discontinue a case) in favour of any person being prosecuted for any offence on behalf of the federal government. Similarly, the power is also available to the Attorney General of the State with respect to State offences.
“In the light of the above, the President of Nigeria, in the interest of the public, can direct the Attorney General of the federation to withdraw any case that is instituted against any one on behalf of the federal government.
“I must say that I commend the courage of Mr. President for the first time, at least for saying that he will consider the request to release the IPOB Leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and his members”, the constitutional lawyer said.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo also commended President Muhammadu Buhari “for the warm reception he accorded to our illustrious son, the First Republican Parliamentarian and former Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazuluike Amaechi and his delegation at the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, Abuja”.
Ohanaeze said Ndigbo are happy that the President has shown empathy in the crisis in Igbo land by agreeing to consider the request to release Nnamdi Kanu.
“We are particularly delighted that Mr. President has shown empathy in the current Igbo travails by mulling a political option for the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Our immense gratitude goes to the elder statesman, a quintessential Nigerian patriot, passionate and selfless leader, Chief Mbazulike Amechi for his profound insights, selflessness, tenacity and concerns for peace to return to the South East of Nigeria.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo joins Amechi in his solemn admonition that he “wants Mr. President to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and he quenched the fire”, Chief Alex Chidozie Ogbonnia, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze said in a statement.
Also reacting, the Chairman, Imo State Traditional Rulers Institution, Eze Emmanuel Okeke, expressed delight that Buhari has given ears to the many calls by traditional rulers, clergy men and other Igbo stakeholders for him to address the issues affecting South East people. He expressed hope that peace would return to the zone if the president does as he has promised.
“Traditional rulers from the South East are in support of the meeting with the President for peace to return. We, the chairmen of monarchs from the five states in the zone and other states are trying to make sure that we bring peace to the zone. We are working in synergy.
“I believe things will surely get better. The traditional rulers, Bishops and other Igbo stakeholders have taken the message to President Muhammadu Buhari several times. I am happy the President has got the message. If he does as we told him and as he has promised, there will be peace. There should be justice and equity in distribution of resources and administration of the country.
“Appointments should be spread among the six zones. It should not be lopsided. These are some of the issues. If some of these things are addressed, the agitation is likely to reduce”, the monarch stated.
The family of detained Nnamdi Kanu also reacted to Buhari’s position and urged him to heed pleas by Igbo leaders and release their son. Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu said Buhari should consider the request made by the eminent Igbo elders as a mark of respect for the Igbo nation.
Expressing hope that President Buhari would give urgent attention to the pleas of the Igbo elders, he noted that one of the ways to kick-start the process of national healing is the unconditional release of Kanu.
In his opinion, the former national chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo, “Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho cases require political settlements, not clampdown as presently being demonstrated by the federal government.
Chief Nwodo, a former governor of Enugu State, while commending Buhari, for considering the request of Igbo delegation to release Kanu from detention, said even if Kanu, and Igboho should die from their present ordeals, more daring agitators would also emerge to continue their agitations until the right things are done to assuage the feelings of the people who feel hurt by the present situation.
“I have held a consistent view about this Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho matters. What is required is political settlements. In matters like these, you don’t win in the court of law, you don’t win by wielding coercive forces because even if the duo die in their present conditions today, you will get more converts in their groups who maybe more daring than they were.
“Are you going to kill all the people who believe in what they are preaching? I think the best thing is to listen to their grievances to know what they are complaining about. I don’t think there is any grievance which the Nigerian state cannot solve.
“We have Niger Delta militants who wanted total resource control. The government was able to convince them that they can’t have total resource control. Today, they are enjoying 13% derivation and a lot of facilities being granted to them by the federal government. There is the Niger Delta Development Commission; there is equally the Ministry of the Niger Delta. Even in the Niger Delta areas, there is a percentage which the actual oil-producing areas enjoy. There was an agreement, so, the insurrection stopped and Nigeria has been harvesting the much it could from the crude oil in the area.
“Look at the Boko Haram, we could not get a settlement. Government even tried in that aspect but the people could not come up with their demands. You can see how the war has lingered.
“In all these things, I believe that negotiated settlement will save lives, cost and would guarantee lasting resolutions. I think Mr. President is right this time and I believe he would follow the process to its logical conclusion”, Nwodo said.