Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar will grant unconditional release to detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, if he emerges president on May 29, one of his campaign directors has assured.
Revealing Atiku’s plan, Director General (DG) of the Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) of Atiku/Okowa in Anambra State, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, said the PDP candidate will rely on the Appeal Court judgment to release the Biafra agitator.
According to Okonkwo, the appellate court was very explicit that Kanu should be a free man and no court could try him again for the alleged offence.
The PDP chieftain also disclosed that one of Atiku’s key programmes would be to “instil permanent peace” in parts of the country, especially the South East region.
To achieve this, he said Atiku would release all South East agitators in detention and ensure the tension in the region is doused.
He, therefore, urged people of the zone to throw their weight behind the PDP candidate to win the February 25 poll, knowing that he has the best interest of the South East in mind.
Okonkwo said: “I am saying this with every sense of responsibility that Atiku will grant Nnamdi Kanu unconditional release. That is in Atiku agenda for permanent peace in the South East. In addition, he will also apply political solution to release all those genuine IPOB agitators in detention without trial.
“Atiku’s government will have serious talks with the group and others, with a view to restoring their faith in the country, and making them part of the effort for a better Nigeria. However, the criminal elements will be dealt with decisively.
“What we are, therefore, saying is that for this to happen, peace must reign for elections (to hold) in the South East, and there’s a need for South Easterners to fall behind PDP.”
Kanu has been in the detention facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June 2021, when he was intercepted and renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya by the Federal Government and charged with terrorism.
However, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, October 13, 2022, quashed the terrorism charge. It also acquitted him of the seven-count charge pending against him before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In a landmark judgment, the appellate court, led by Justice Jummai Hanatu, stated: “Federal Government flagrantly violated the law, when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial; and such extra-ordinary rendition, without adherence to due process of the law, was a gross violation of all international conventions, protocols and guidelines that Nigeria is signatory to, as well as a breach of the appellant’s fundamental human rights.”
Also, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had, in a report it released July, last year, intervened, calling on the Nigerian government to “immediately release Kanu unconditionally” and pay him adequate compensations for the arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights.