Southeast elders demand immediate release of Kanu

The South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and Representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops (the Joint Body) has called for the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government to douse the current tensions across the southeast and create an atmosphere for collaboration towards a constructive resolution of the issues.

The joint body stated that the march towards peace and the restoration of normalcy in the southeast and the nation’s economy requires the collective action of all people of God and goodwill. “We are confident that all Nigerians will rise to the summons of History and act with courage, conviction and integrity.

“We, therefore, unequivocally support the call for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu in line with the unanimous judgment of the Appeal Court that his extradition and subsequent trial was illegal, and the lower court had no jurisdiction to hear the case,” the body said in a statement jointly signed on Tuesday October 18 by Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, chairman, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council; Chibuzo Opoko, the Methodist Archbishop of Umuahia; L. O. C. Agubuzu, chairman, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, and Valerian M. Okeke, Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha.

On the recent court ruling on the appeal by Kanu against the Federal Government, the body stated that the appellate court ruling presented a timely and unprecedented opportunity to overcome the challenge of trust that has obstructed the path to peace; and opens the window to winning the hearts and minds of the people of the region.

“We also note media reports confirming that on Thursday, October 13, 2022, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal in Abuja led by Justice Hanatu Sankey held that the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to try Nnamdi Kanu on the grounds of his rendition to Nigeria which violates the protocol on extradition and the OAU convention, and subsequently discharged Nnamdi Kanu”.

The joint body stated further that it has undertaken extensive and intense behind-the-scenes consultations with all stakeholders to broker a permanent, regionally coordinated restoration of the southeast to the status as the most peaceful and progressive subnational zone in Nigeria.

Accordingly, the body said it has been consistent and persistent in its call for all stakeholders to not relent in the pursuit of peace building and resolution of security challenges in the Southeast region based on justice, equity, fairness, love, mutual understanding, and respect of all persons. “We note the opinion emanating from the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding the on-going legal action instituted by the Federal Government of Nigeria against Nnamdi Kanu which was issued on July 20, 2022.

“Among many recommendations or requests made to the Federal Government, the opinion called for the immediate and unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in detention for over one year, following his rendition from Kenya in June 2021”.

The joint body was established in fulfilment of the temporal and spiritual leadership mandates inherent to the respective offices of the traditional rulers and church leaders as the moral compass of its constituents, as well as advisors, guides, and mediators in their lives as citizens of Nigeria towards peace and conflict resolution.

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