The family of the re-arrested leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has demanded access to the detained self-determination agitator who was arrested last Sunday.
Kalu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, who spoke with Sunday Vanguard in Umuahia, lamented that since the IPoB leader was “bundled” back to the country, his family hasn’t had access to him.
Emmanuel, who said the family had been traumatised over the events of last week, expressed deep worry over his health condition.
“I hope he is not tortured? I hope his right to human dignity is not being violated? How can you abduct somebody and keep him in custody without access to his family and lawyers? This is inhumanity!” he lamented.
He said the federal government should allow the family unfettered access to their son who he said: “is by law presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
“Why can’t we see him? The federal government should allow us to see him because he is our son. He should have access to his lawyers and family,” Emmanuel added.
The family called on the British government to show more interest in Kanu’s ordeal since he is a British citizen.
Prince Emmanuel wondered why Kanu, a British citizen was “ kidnapped and bundled to Nigeria and Britain is still keeping quiet.”
According to him, “it is still not clear to us how Nnamdi, a British citizen would be abducted and bundled to Nigeria. If at all there is any reason to arrest him, why not take him to Britain where he is a citizen?
“Britain hasn’t done enough. Britain should be able to stand firm and demand explanations for those who abducted her citizen and bundled him to Nigeria. Kenya should also explain all it knows about this crime.”
Insisting that Kanu did nothing to deserve the arrest, Prince Emmanuel urged his supporters to remain calm and watch events unfold.
He expressed confidence that his brother would eventually triumph in the end.
“It happened before. This is his second missionary journey. We shall prevail because my brother is not a criminal.
“He has not killed anybody nor has he asked anybody to kill. He is only fighting for the freedom of the people which is their fundamental human right.”
Asked if the family had any regret having anything to do with the agitation for Biafra autonomy considering what it had been through including the death of his parents allegedly in the aftermath of the raid of their house by security agents, Prince Emmanuel said they had nothing to regret identifying with the Biafra cause.
He urged Ndigbo and lovers of democracy and justice to unite behind his brother who he said “is only fighting a just cause”.
Meanwhile, many residents of Umuahia are still bewildered about the reality of Kanu’s re-arrest.
Although many people were reluctant to comment on the matter publicly, some advised the federal government to tread with caution.
Some of the residents who preferred anonymity wondered why government had not deployed the same amount of zest and vigour it deployed in tracking and arresting Kanu in crushing bandits and killer herdsmen.
They accused government of insincerity and bias in the war against terrorism, challenging it to deal with all Nigerians equally irrespective of ethnicity and religion.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, immediate past-Chairman of Umuahia North Council of Traditional Rulers, and the Traditional Ruler of Oriendu Autonomous Community, HRM Eze Philip Ajomuiwe, advised government to tread with caution on the matter.
The monarch said arresting, killing, or jailing Kanu would proffer no solution but worsen Nigeria’s woes.
He strongly advocated national dialogue and engagement of all agitators to permanently address their grievances.
“My frank advice is dialogue. Government has to dialogue with Nnamdi Kanu and other self-determination agitators. If you kill all the people who are you going to govern?
“Kanu is my subject because I was the Chairman of Council of Ndieze during the days of his father. We don’t want anything funny to happen to him.
“Where there is a problem, there must be a solution. Government should treat the foundation of the problem through dialogue.
“Killing or jailing Kanu won’t bring any solution but create more problems. Government should be careful how it handles this matter.
“ I don’t support violence either from IPoB or government. Government should call everyone for dialogue now. Let us discuss how to move our beloved country forward. Nigeria belongs to all of us.”
In the same vein, the paramount ruler of Abriba Ancient kingdom, Eze Kalu Kalu Ogbu (Enachioken Abriba), said arresting Kanu would not proffer any solution to Nigeria’s problems.
The monarch advised federal government to engage Kanu for a dialogue on how to solve some contentious national issues.
His words: “Can one look at Kanu as Nigeria’s problem or a solution to Nigeria’s problems?
“I don’t think Kanu is Nigeria’s problem. Rather, he is coming with a solution to the problem bedeviling Nigeria since 1970.
SECOND CLASS CITIZENS
“What gave rise to the emergence of the likes of Uwazurike, and Kanu is the treatment of Ndigbo as second-class citizens by the Nigerian government.
“What they are saying is that the exclusion and suppression of the Igbo are enough. They are saying that Nigeria is pressing hard on our neck and we can no longer breathe.
“So, arresting Kanu won’t bring any solution. What the federal government should do is engage him for dialogue. This is time for a national dialogue on how to carry everybody along and move the country forward.”
The monarch further advised against using the method applied in the case of the late founder of Boko Haram, Yusuf, who allegedly died in police custody.
“Government should not repeat the mistake it made in the case of Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram. I hope it doesn’t repeat the same mistake.”
The monarch also advised government to follow due process in trying the IPoB leader if there are sufficient grounds to do so.
“Recall that Kanu was arrested in 2015 and kept in custody without trial despite public outcry. In 2017, he was arraigned and granted bail by a court of competent jurisdiction.
“He was still enjoying his bail when the federal authority came for his jugular: His father’s palace was raided and desecrated by security operatives. Many people were killed during the raid and he had to flee for his life.
“So, now that he has been re-arrested the rule of law must be applied. If government feels he has violated any law he should be taken to court. He should be given a fair hearing.
“But I’m afraid whether the laws will be obeyed. Didn’t the Constitution say nobody should be taken to court in fetters? Was Kanu arraigned in handcuffs? How do you reconcile all that?
“There must be justice and fairness in his trial, otherwise if it’s mismanaged I wouldn’t know how people will react to that.”
He urged government to devote equal amount of zeal and resources deployed in tracking Kanu to crushing bandits and terrorists.
“There are many flashpoints in the country. If government devotes the number of resources it devoted to trailing and arresting Kanu to tackling Boko Haram and Fulani bandits, the Buhari administration will score a big credit,” the monarch added.