Confusion trailed South East yesterday as the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, said he was willing to enter into negotiation with the Federal Government to secure his release as well as end the political upheaval his continued incarceration has caused.
This came as the Biafra activist also denied having any ties with the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), which purportedly engaged in a negotiation on his behalf with the Federal Government.
Speaking through his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu said: “He is not averse to political solution, in resolving his present politically orchestrated ordeal.” Ejiofor who addressed a press conference in Abuja yesterday, however, said the IPOB leader would not renounce his ideology for him to be released, noting that IPOB was bigger than him.
He said: “Kanu will not renounce his ideology, IPOB is bigger than him, he cannot say yes or no to renouncing it. But he is open to political resolutions of the problem. Nobody has approached him for negotiation where he is kept.
“The issue of IPOB is beyond him, he is open to negotiation, we are not against discussion on this issue. A political solution will be easily achieved than legal solution but Kanu must be released unconditionally.”
While reacting to media reports that the IPOB leader and MEND were negotiating with the Federal Government, Ejiofor said Kanu had no connection, contact, ties or any form of relationship with the members of MEND. “MEND has no implied, direct or express authority of Nnamdi Kanu to represent him or IPOB in any purported negotiation going on between MEND and the Federal Government.
“The general public is accordingly advised to ignore, discountenance and disregard the falsehood being peddled by MEND. Nnamdi Kanu does not know them,” he said. On the way forward, Ejiofor said: “Kanu welcomes genuine political solution to this case.
The Federal Government does not need to sponsor their representatives to travel to far away Bayelsa State or the creeks of Niger Delta region in order to reach Kanu.
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“They know where they kept him, which is easily accessible to them. Nnamdi Kanu has people of proven integrity and unimpeccable character that will negotiate on his behalf based on his demands when communication to this effect is established.”
Similarly, the IPOB said yesterday that the release of 20 members of the group, who were detained since February 9 in Aba, Abia State, has given the members a moral boost.
The members were released by a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia state, The Federal Government, through the AGF had ordered the court to release the detained IPOB members who were arrested in Aba High School, on February 9, during their prayer rally and charged to court.
But buoyed by this development, the group stated that it received the released members back to the fold with open arms and have restated that the struggle cannot be swept under the carpet.
A statement signed by the IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, noted that in spite of the persecution and intimidation they suffered in prison cells, the released members were not daunted.
“The IPOB worldwide under the leadership of Kanu who is still in illegal detention welcomes the long detained members of the group in Aba High School since February 9.
“We welcome them and thank to God Almighty (Chukwuokike Abiama) who gave them power to bear the persecution, intimidation meted upon them in the police cells by the security agents before their release.
“The Nigeria government and security agents charged them with two counts charges of conspiracy to levy war against the Federal Government of Nigeria, and levying war against Nigeria thereby engaging the army, police and other security agents in conflicts.
“Although 19 people were released while one of them was released before now with the efforts made by his family members, however, we are calling on the Federal Government to release our members who are still languishing in different prisons and security cells in the country.
“The IPOB commends the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and all those with common sense who understand that all those arrested in Aba must be released because our quest is the restoration of Biafra not to take over the rulership of Nigeria,” the organisation explained.
“IPOB is a liberation movement dedicated to the self determination of the indigenous people of Biafra in line with universally acclaimed processes and procedure. Having launched Biafra exit, IPOB is fully committed to pursing a referendum to determine once and for all time the issue of the sovereignty of Biafra.
“The same way the British government of David Cameron allowed the Scot-tish nation to freely choose if they want to be part of the UK or not and most recently Brexit that culminated in the exit of Britain from the EU, we IPOB will continue to ask the civilised world to prevail upon Buhari to allow Biafrans to freely choose where they wish to belong.”
In Onitsha, Anambra State, came the report that the released IPOB members were given a red-carpet reception. Powerful, who confirmed the red-carpet reception in a statement, however, did not disclose the venue of the even but maintained that they welcome them home.
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