An unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), currently standing trial, runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.
President Buhari said this when he received a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats at State House, Abuja.
The group was led by 93-year-old statesman and first Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi.
According to President Buhari, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious.
“In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. God has spared you and given you a clear head at this age, with a very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”
The President, who stressed his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary, said when Kanu jumped bail, got arrested and was brought back to the country, “I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from outside. I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.”
The President commiserated with Chief Amaechi, who recently buried his wife, praying that her soul would rest in peace.
Pa Amaechi, who spoke earlier, described the situation in the Southeast as “painful and pathetic,” lamenting that businesses have collapsed, education is crumbling, and there is fear everywhere.
He pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, requesting that if Kanu is released to him as the only First Republic Minister still alive, “he would no longer say the things he had been saying,” stressing that he could control him, “not because I have anything to do with them (IPOB), but I am highly respected in Igbo land today.”
“I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. Mr President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire,” he said.
Other people in the visiting delegation were; His Excellency Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former Governor of Anambra State, Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Chief Barrister Goddy Uwazurike, former President of Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, and Tagbo Mbazulike Amaechi.