From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Igbo Elders under the umbrella of Igbo Elders Consultative Forum has appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider its position on appealing the Appeal Court ruling on Nnamdi Kalu, the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) which quashed all the terrorism charges against him.
The Elders said the decision of the Federal Government to appeal the judgement at the Supreme Court was needless and should be reconsidered, stating that the appeal can aggravate the security challenges and peace process initiatives in the South East, and can also prevent the peaceful conduct of 2023 general elections, with other ripple effects on the peace, unity, stability and continued corporate existence of Nigeria.
Former Anambra State governor, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who is the Chairman of the Forum, told journalists at a press conference in Abuja, on Friday, that not obeying the court judgement could be misinterpreted by many that the Federal Government has other motives for keeping the IPOB leader in detention.
He said: “As responsible Igbo Elders, who believe in the peace, unity, stability and corporate existence of Nigeria, we appeal to the Federal Government to withdraw its appeal against the unanimous ruling of the three -man panel of the Court of Appeal, and release Nnamdi Kalu, as directed by the Court.
“Even if the Federal Government should appeal against the unanimous ruling of the Court of Appeal, which is unnecessary, they should first obey the ruling of its own Court as was the case with the recent National Industrial Court (NIC) ruling against the industrial action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“The Federal Government had insisted that ASUU should obey the Court order first before its appeal case would be heard, and the Union complied. In this case, the Federal
Government should obey the ruling of the Court of Appeal and release Mr. Kanu for the sake of equity, justice and fairness.”
He, thus reminded the President, Muhammadu Buhari, of the promise he made at several fora that only the Court will determine the fate of the IPOB leader.
“Nigerians and the international community are witnesses to efforts and visits of Igbo leaders, including the high level Ohaneze worldwide delegation led by 94 year -old late Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, which had appealed to President to explore political solution to solve the problem.
“Late Chief Amaechi had pleaded that Mr President should release Mr. Kanu to him as a special favour and birthday gift as an elder statesman. Mr. President refused and insisted that the judiciary should be allowed to handle the matter.
“Now, the Appeal Court did not only quashed the terrorism charges against Nnamdi Kalu, it ruled that the Federal Government breached all known local and International laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria, thereby making terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.
“We still appeal to Mr. President to rescind Government appeal to the Supreme Court and release Nnamdi Kalu in honor of the memory of late Chief Amaechi, who just passed on without witnessing the release of Mr. Kanu. We also appeal to Ndi Igbo, both home and in diaspora, to remain calm and avoid any action that will aggravate the already tensed security challenges in the South East,” Dr. Ezeife submitted.
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