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Retired Army Officer Tasks President Tinubu to Release Nnamdi Kanu to End South-east Insecurity

Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu

By Uche Amunike

A retired Army Colonel, Mr Hassa Stan-Labo, has urged President Bola Tinubu to release the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, so as to end the rising insecurity in the Southeast of Nigeria.

Speaking, as a guest on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’,  Wednesday,  Stan-Labo also advised the president to begin to dialogue with other pro-biafran agitators in order to douse the tension in the south-eastern region.

His words: ‘One major priority area in the South-east, which I think will cool off a great deal of grouse, is for us to bring out (Nnamdi) Kanu. That gentleman, pull him out. Stop this incarceration.’

He further stated that even though Nnamdi Kanu had made some inciting pronouncements in the past against the federal government, the country has become a family. A father now dialogues with his aggrieved child to understand his anger.

He further asked: ‘Can we start talking with Kanu? Can we start talking with IPOB? Can we start talking with other groups? I think a conversation with some of these groups will go a long way to addressing these issues?’

He spoke about the need to understand that consistently  applying an aggressive approach to insecurity without dialogue has never yielded any fruits anywhere.  He therefore stated: ‘We must not at all times apply the stick (approach), bring in the carrots sometimes, and let see the carrots and sticks diplomacy at play. I think we can do that, and if we do that, the situation in the South-east will be highly doused.’

Stan-Labo, who is a security expert, also made it clear that Nnamdi Kanu’s continued incarceration by the Nigerian government has only ended up making him a hero and further incarceration will only make him even more relevant and heighten the hero-ship over him.

‘We have made him a hero in the South-east. If he comes out now, he can contest a governorship election in any of the states. Nobody will even ask him if he’s from the state’, he said.

Recall that Nnamdi Kanu was initially arrested during former President Buhari’s administration in 2015, but eventually granted bail in 2017. After his home was invaded in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia state, by the Nigerian military in September of 2017, he fled the country.

He was however rearrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021, four years after he fled.

On 13 October 2022, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja held that Kanu was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria and that it was a flagrant violation of Nigeria’s extradition treaty and a breach of his fundamental human rights.

The court immediately struck out the terrorism charges filed against him by the Nigerian government and ordered that he is released from the custody of the SSS.

Former President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, however, refused to release him, insisting that he could be unavailable in subsequent court proceedings if released and that his release would cause insecurity in the Southeast, where he comes from.

The Buhari government was later to appeal the court ruling, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and subsequently obtained an order staying the execution of the court judgment at the Supreme Court.

Since then, calls for his release have been made by several concerned Igbo leaders and groups, including the governor of Anambra State, Professor Charles Soludo and the governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah. The President General of the Apex Igbo Socio-cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu has also repeatedly demanded that the government should release Nnamdi Kanu.


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