President Muhammadu Buhari has told some South-East leaders, that he will consider releasing Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to him, releasing Kanu unconditionally will negate the principles of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.
But while speaking with the South-East leaders at the State House on Friday, Buhari promised to look into the request.
Buhari had received a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, at State House, Abuja.
Chief Mbazulike Amaechi had pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, for the situation in the southeast, requesting that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic Minister still alive, he would no longer say the things he had been saying.
The nonagenarian said he could control Kanu, “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”
He had described the situation in the Southeast as painful and pathetic, lamenting that businesses have collapsed while education is crumbling with fear everywhere.
Chief Amaechi said twice he had interfaced with Nnamdi Kanu in the past and the latter rescinded orders earlier given on civil disobedience.
“I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. Mr President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire.”
In response to the request by the elder statesman, President Buhari promised to consider a lighter resolution but worried that such would interfere with the principles of separation of power between the Executive and Judiciary.
Buhari said, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with a very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it,” he said.
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Stressing his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary, President Buhari said when Kanu jumped bail, got arrested and was brought back to the country, he did not interfere but allowed the system to take its course.
“I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from the outside.
“I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.”
Other members of the delegation to the President include Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State, Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Chief Barrister Goddy Uwazurike, former President of Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, and Mr Tagbo Mbazulike Amaechi.