Sunday, 27 August 2017

AGF's Call For Re-Arrest of IPOB Leader Born of Prejudice, Discrimination-Ohanaeze


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Ohanaeze Nidigbo, an apex Igbo socio cultural organisation has berate call made  by the Attorney general of the federation and minister of justice Abubakar Malami  to re-arrest leader of indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, says it is born out of  nothing other than discrimination out of prejudice


In a statement by its president-general, Chief John Nwodo, Ohanaeze accused Malami of gratifying the treasonable sentiments of the Arewa youths of northern Nigeria who had issued an ultimatum to Igbos in the region to leave and also demanded Kanu’s return to detention.
IPOB reacted yesterday also to the moves to arrest Kanu, calling it one of the several acts of intimidation by the President Muhammadu Buhari government, and vowing to resist any attempt to return the IPOB leader to custody.
The AGF had on Friday announced the commencement of processes to secure the revocation of the bail granted Kanu in April by the Federal High Court in Abuja, alleging that he has broken the bail conditions. Kanu was released from Kuje Prison, Abuja, on April 29, four days after he was granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako, and after nearly two years in detention for alleged treasonable offences. The bail conditions, which were criticised as very stringent, included that the IPOB leader should not be seen in a crowd of more than 10 people, he should not grant any interviews, and he must not hold rallies.
But barely one month after Kanu’s bail, on June 6, some youth groups in northern Nigeria, under the aegis of Coalition of Northern Groups, met in Kaduna and issued what they called “Kaduna Declaration”, ordering all Igbos residing in the North to leave the region within three months. They also advised northerners in the South-east to leave the area. The groups, which said their action was based on the activities of IPOB, warned that as from October 1, which is also Nigeria’s National Day, they will commence “visible actions” to isolate Igbos from the region and treat them as unwanted foreigners.
The security agencies maintained a loud silence over the meeting and declaration of the northern youths, which were widely condemned as seditious, fuelling widespread allegations of sectional bias. Though, the groups withdrew their so-called quit notice to Igbos on August 24, five days after Buhari’s return from medical leave in London, and after his terse national broadcast on August 21 in which he weighed in with some stern warnings on the activities of groups like IPOB, calling them “irresponsible elements”. He also said every Nigerian was free to live in any part of the country, in apparent disapproval of the anti-Igbo moves by the northern groups.
Nonetheless, Malami approached the Federal High Court in Abuja last week to seek Kanu’s return to prison custody, saying he has flouted his bail conditions.
But Ohanaeze condemned the move as discriminatory and against the oath of fairness to all, which the AGF had sworn.
“I am amazed that the distinguished attorney is prepared to contest the superiority of the provisions of the constitution on fundamental human rights of freedom of movement and freedom of association over an erroneous judicial proclamation violating those rights. I am equally miffed by the audacity with which the Attorney-General displays his bias without regard to his oath of office,” Nwodo stated.
Referring to Buhari’s broadcast and the activities of the northern youths, the Ohanaeze leader said, “A few hours ago under the watchful eyes of the chairman of the Northern governors forum and in total defiance of the Head of State’s proclamation of the rights of a citizen of Nigeria to live anywhere in Nigeria and to do business anywhere in Nigeria, the Arewa youths, pretending to withdraw their quit notice, gave qualifications to the Head of State’s proclamation, issuing conditions for enjoyment of citizenship status
“These same Arewa youths are supposed to have been arrested on the orders of the governor of Kaduna State and the Inspector General of Police for acts of treason, conversion and sedition. As the chief law officer of the federation, the Attorney-General looks the other way. He does not go to court to seek an order of arrest or prosecution.”
Nwodo said though he disagreed with some of Kanu’s views, “Nnamdi, as a citizen of Nigeria, is free to hold any point of view, no matter how displeasing to anyone, so long as they are not inciting or provoking any criminal activities.
“I and some Igbo leaders have differences of opinion with Nnamdi on a number of issues. We have been insulted and abused by Radio Biafra, but we concede them their right to differ from us. We concede them their nature to be exuberant as youths, but we cannot be judgmental about their rights.
“This is a democracy. In democracies, leaders are abused, pelted with rotten eggs and booed at, as the former Edo State Governor was booed in Abuja a few days ago. These acts are not necessarily criminal.

“I urge the Attorney-General not to exacerbate our already tense nation by commencing a legal action which portrays him as biased, insensitive and misdirected.”

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