Buhari rejects South-East leaders, CAN’s appeal to free Kanu, says only court can seal his fate
EMERGENCY DIGEST- President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his position that the case against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, should be properly adjudicated by the law court.
Buhari stated this while responding to the request of leaders and traditional rulers from the South-East to release Kanu during a meeting with the President in Abakaliki on Friday as part of activities for his two-day visit to Ebonyi State.
The President also expressed concern at the worsening security situation in the South-East region.
He said a few persons from the region had brainwashed and incited a segment of the population against the government.
Buhari declared that anyone caught bearing arms, especially AK-47 rifles, other than security agents should be dealt with appropriately.
He said, “I must register my deep and grave concern with regards to the deteriorating state of affairs in this region.
“In the last 48 hours, I have been informed of the latest in the round of brutal actions carried out by gun-wielding terrorists, who prey on innocent and hardworking citizens.
“Unfortunately, these barbaric acts were visited on those who have committed their lives to protecting the lives of fellow citizens.
“Terrorists, who have unfortunately brainwashed a segment of the population that continued to contribute their hard earned funds towards their hate-filled messages, but now have been terrorised through their brutal killings, truncation of commercial activities, restriction of freedom of movement, and the ability to exercise basic human rights, must be fished out from among us and it can only be done through the support of the people.
“I have listened carefully to various appeals from the elders and traditional leaders regarding a wide range of options and as I have said previously, this matter (Kanu’s trial for treason) remains in the full purview of the law court, where it will be properly adjudicated.
“My worry is for our hardworking and innocent civilians for whom life is already tough and will like to go out and earn a good and honest living. There are many that fit this profile and the government owes them that obligation to protect their lives and property.
“I will once again repeat; no one has the right to carry an AK-47 and anyone in any part of the country doing so and is not a law enforcement officer is a threat to our peaceful coexistence and should be treated as such.”
The President expressed his determination to ensure free and fair elections in 2023 where every citizen would feel that their roles in the electoral process would count and would be able to exercise their constitutional rights without fear or intimidation.
The South-East leaders had called for a Nigerian President from the region in 2023, saying this was the only way for peace to reign across the country.
Speaking at the meeting, the Chairman of the South-East Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Charles Mkpuma, pleaded with Buhari to release the IPOB leader from the custody of the Department of State Services.
The monarch stated, “We plead with you, Mr President, to grant the plea for the South-East to produce the next President of the country in 2023.
“We stand by you in all efforts towards the fight against insecurity in the South-East and the country in general. We, however, plead with you as a compassionate father to temper justice with mercy in the case of our son, Nnamdi Kanu. We have started discussion to ensure that all those who feel aggrieved are brought to the roundtable for discussion.
“We shall continue to support you and your administration. Do not listen to those advocating for an interim government for they are inviting anarchy.
“We urge you to look inwards and build the rest of your administration around a South easterner, who has outstanding performance.”
On his part, a First Republic Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amaechi, said peace was elusive in the South-East geopolitical zone