By Uche Amunike
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has stated that it is premature to consider Nnamdi Kanu’s Pardon at this time, because he is still standing trial.
Speaking during a current affairs program titled ‘Politics Today’ in Channels TV, Malami confirmed that the embattled leader of the secessionist group, the ‘Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu was still being tried for charges that are terrorism-related.
His comments about Nnamdi Kanu’s pardon came up as a result of his schedule to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, under Justice Binta Nyako.
Nnamdi Kanu’s trial was actually adjourned till January 19th, by Justice Binta, during his last appearance in court on November 10 2021, but after a motion was filed for an abridgement of time, the court granted it.
Recall that on November 19, 2021, former Minister of Aviation during the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock and requested that the detained Nnamdi Kanu is given unconditional release.
In his response, President Buhari told them that it was wrong to interfere in the judicial process but that he will consider their demand even though it was a heavy one.
On November 10, 2021, Malami stated that a political solution might help in resolving the crisis surrounding separatist agitations in Nigeria. However, when he was asked on Wednesday night if there was a possibility of settling out of Court and freeing Nnamdi Kanu, he said a political situation was not on the table presently.
He maintained that Nnamdi Kanu’s pardon was a premature one because he still presently stands trial before a court of law.
His words: ‘Pardon is a function of conviction in the Nigerian context and as far as I know, Nnamdi Kanu has not been convicted yet so the idea of pardoning him is premature against the backdrop that the trials associated with him have not been concluded, but one thing I can tell you is that he is standing trial and the trial continues as at today’.
He assured that he will not rule out any possibility of an out-of-court or political solution being on the table, but he made it clear that it is not an an option immediately on d table.
When he was asked if setting Kanu free will help to heal the South East, the AGF stated that he had not assessed the security situation in terms of being a solution.
The 54 year oId IPOB leader was born on September 25, 1967 at Afaraiukwu, Abia state. He was arrested in 2017 for demanding secession of the South East zone from Nigeria, but however jumped bail in June 2018 before heading to the United Kingdom, a move he said he had to take because his life was no longer safe in the country.
Three years after, Malami announced, during a press briefing in Abuja on June 29 2021, that Kanu was arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.
He was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria after which he was re-arraigned before Justice Nyako for charges bordering on terrorism brought against him by the office of the AGF. Since then he has remained in the custody of the department of state services (DSS) in Abuja.