*As IPOB names released members
By Anayo Okoli & Francis Igata
UMUAHIA—OHANAEZE Youths Council has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately begin direct negotiation with the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB], Mazi Nnamdi Kanu with a view to releasing him.
Kanu is facing treasonable charges in an Abuja High Court and is being detained at the Kuje Prisons.
Ohanaeze Youths Council urged the president to use the opportunity of the reported on-going negotiation between some Niger Delta groups and a representative of the Federal Government and talk with Kanu to free him.
Kanu himself had last week through his lawyers said that he was open for dialogue with the government for a political resolution of the matter.
According to the National President of the Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the Federal Government should not allow this window of peace talk to pass it by.
“This is a much-awaited opportunity which should be utilized to end the bitterness against the Federal Government by people of the South-East.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow this golden opportunity slip off his hands.
“It is our firm belief that Buhari will engrave his name as a hero of democracy if he utilized this opportunity to free Nnamdi Kanu,” Ohaneze Youths said.
Isiguzoro, however, suggested that Kanu himself should be allowed to lead such a negotiation.
“For the dialogue to be genuine and fruitful, Kanu should lead the IPOB delegation. Nobody or group should negotiate on his behalf; this is to avoid a situation where the government will end up wasting time and resources.
“If the government succeeds in this regard, it would no doubt endear it to Ndigbo and help in healing so many wounds.”
Kanu’s lawyers advised to seek approval first
Meantime, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday, charged lawyers to the detained Director of Radio Biafra,Nnamdi Kanu, to seek approval from him first before dabbling into any negotiation for his release with the Federal Government.
MASSOB said it aligned with Kanu’s stance that, ”he’d rather die, than jettison the struggle for Biafra” after the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, had given the Federal Government, last week, conditions to end agitations in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones, wherein MEND, urged Kanu to renounce Biafra to regain his freedom.
Kanu, who was arrested by the Department of State Services, DSS, upon arrival from the United Kingdom, has been in detention since October 14, last year, for alleged treasonable felony.
But frowning at the remarks from Kanu’s lawyers, Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Amobi Nzelu, indicating that their client was not aversed to negotiations for his release, MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu, in a statement to newsmen in Enugu, stated that, ”MASSOB supports the position of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as the leader of IPOB.
“Approval for negotiation must be obtained first. MASSOB as a sister organization will always support every positive move that will effect the release of our Comrade, Nnamdi Kanu. We will not accept any confusing steps which some groups even the defense counsels are making.
“IPOB has quickly condemned the position of Kanu’s lawyers. We will never relent or succumb on the agitation for Biafra. We shall continue to forge ahead with the spirit of consistency and commitment in accord with other pro-Biafra groups. Nigeria should be tired and ashamed of Kanu’s continued detention”.
IPOB names released members
In another development, IPOB, has reeled out names of their members who were granted bail at Umuahia Chief Magistrate’s Court last week, on the orders of the Federal Government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF.
Among those granted bail, according to a statement signed by Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, are John Onyebuchi ‘M’ aged 52; Joseph Okorie ‘M’ aged 25; Ikechukwu Obi ‘M’ aged 35; Ifeanyi Okike ‘M’ aged 65; Ani Chimezie ‘M’ aged 62; Emeka Ezeugo ‘M’ aged 30 and Chibuzo Okpara ‘F’ aged 40″.
“Others are Donatus Okeke ‘M’ aged 36; Okechukwu Nnebennum ‘M’ aged 34; Jude Aniche ‘M’ aged 48; Amos Nkemjika Ezekiel ‘M’ aged 43; Ngozi Onuora ‘F’ aged 30; Goodness Emeka ‘F’ aged 25; Nene Ekwueme ‘F’ aged 52; Amarachi Chukwu ‘F’ aged 22; Oluchukwu Bekee ‘F’ aged 48; Igwechukwu Ebuka ‘M’ aged 26; Okwudili Okafor ‘M’ aged 35; Nnadike Obasi ‘M’ aged 29 and Monday Ibejii ‘M’ aged 25.”
In the statement, Powerful noted that of these 20 detainees, 19 were released by the Umuahia Chief Magistrate Court on Thursday, August 11, while one of them was released before now with the efforts made by his family members, adding that they had all been given at the weekend.
It would be recalled that the federal government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF had ordered the court to release the detained IPOB members who were arrested inside Aba High School, on February 9, this year during their prayer rally and charged to court.