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Investigation: S’East govs, political leaders abandon Kanu for 2023

Even as the trial of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu continues, investigations by New Telegraph has shown that many South East leaders and politicians are not whole heartedly committed to pursuing a political solution as proposed by some of them.

Sources in the South East told New Telegraph that while some political leaders are interested in exploring the proposed political solution which the Federal Government has alluded to, however, their personal ambitions in next year’s general elections is holding them back from seriously engaging the government. According to the sources, many of them are afraid that the Federal Government might come after them thereby jeopardizing their 2023 ambitions.

The sources also linked the resurgence of security tensions in the region to a lack of political will on the part of political leaders and elders to really engage the Federal Government for Kanu’s release. They noted that the tensions might escalate if the Federal Government fails to allow the trial to proceed as expected. Investigations have shown that the majority of those that should be involved in the negotiation with the Federal Government are engrossed with their 2023 general elections ambitions. Many of the key actors are interested in contesting for presidential, governorship or National Assembly seats.

Kanu is currently facing trial for terrorism and treason following his arrest in Kenya last June. His group, the IPOB is also accused by the Federal Government of carrying out attacks on private and public facilities in the South East and killing dozens of persons, including security operatives. New Telegraph recalls that late last year, the South East Caucus of the National Assembly and Igbo elders, under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats led by Chief Mbazurike Amaechi, promised to seek a political solution for Kanu but our investigations have indicated that none of the groups has formally contacted the Federal Government on the issue. The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi has confirmed that the region is yet to officially engage the government for Kanu’s release.

Speaking after his recent visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, Umahi said that while the South East is proposing a political solution, they should also be able to engage the Federal Government. But the President and National Coordinator of the South East Revival Group (SERG), Chief Willy Ezugwu, said that Igbo leaders have done their best to convince the president to restore peace in the region by releasing Kanu. However, despite the position of the South East governors on a political solution, President Buhari has insisted that he will not interfere in the trial of Kanu.

Speaking in a recent interview on Channels Television, the President said the judiciary should be allowed to decide the fate of the proscribed IPOB leader. “We have given him the opportunity to defend himself in our system not to be abusing us from abroad as if he is not a Nigerian. Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary but for those saying he should be released, no we will not release him.” On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had last year said that no group from the South East had approached the Federal Government over the issue. He insisted that the government is open to a political solution on Kanu but then there has to be an approach for the government to consider.

 

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