President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday at the State House, Abuja, told told Igbo leaders that their demand for the release of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is heavy, but promised to consider it.
He said this when some Igbo leaders paid him a visit. The meeting had current ministers and other Igbo leaders in attendance.
“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 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 said.
“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 said, an unconditional release of Kanu who is currently standing trial, runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the Executive and Judiciary.
Stressing his policy of non-interference with the Judiciary, he 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.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, the nonagenarian and former minister of Aviation Mbazulike Amaechi had described the situation in the South-East as “painful and pathetic,” lamenting that businesses have collapsed, education was crumbling, fear has begun to manifest everywhere.
He pleaded for a political, rather than military solution, requesting that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic Minister alive, “he (Kanu) would no longer say the things he had been saying.”
He stated that he had interfaced with Nnamdi Kanu in the past twice, and the latter rescinded orders earlier given on civil disobedience.
“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,” Amaechi told his host.
Other leaders in the visiting delegation were former Anambra State Governor, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, former President of Igbo socio-cultural group, Aka Ikenga, Goddy Uwazurike; and Mr Tagbo Amaechi.