The Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has warned the federal government against heightening the ethnic tension in the country with the planned revocation of the bail granted Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the court.
In a statement by its president, John Nwodo, the group said the government should instead face some matters of urgent national importance.
The group issued the statement in reaction to the move by the federal government to revoke the bail granted by the court.
In its application to the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday, and made available by Mr. Salihu Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Minister of Justice, the federal government is seeking an order revoking the bail granted Kanu on April 25.
The government is also seeking an order of court directing the arrest and committing Kanu to custody pending trial as well as any such order the court may deem fit in the circumstance.
The application which has the name of the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, explained that the call for revocation of Kanu’s bail was on the grounds that Kanu had breached his bail conditions.
But reacting to the move by the government, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it smelt hypocrisy in the bid.
According to the group, while the Northern youth who issued a notice to quit to Igbo people in the North before October 1 were walking freely when they should have been arrested as ordered by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, it would be wrong to deny Kanu his freedom.
Said Nwodo: “I am amazed that the distinguished attorney is prepared to contest the superiority of the provisions of the Constitution on fundamental human rights of freedom of movement and freedom of association over an erroneous judicial proclamation violating those rights.
“A few hours ago under the watchful eyes of the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and in total defiance of the Head of State’s proclamation of the rights of a citizen of Nigeria to live anywhere in Nigeria and to do business anywhere in Nigeria, the Arewa Youths, pretending to withdraw their quit notice, gave qualifications to the Head of State’s proclamation, issuing conditions for enjoyment of citizenship status.
“These same Arewa Youths are supposed to have been arrested on the orders of the Governor of Kaduna State and the Inspector General of Police for acts of treason, conversion and sedition. As the chief law officer of the Federation, the Attorney-General looks the other way. He does not go to court to seek an order of arrest or prosecution.”
The group argued that Kanu, as a citizen, had the right to hold any point of view, as long as it did not bring about criminal activities.
Ohanaze stated further: “We have been insulted and abused by Radio Biafra but we concede them their right to differ from us. We concede them their nature to be exuberant as youth but we cannot be judgmental about their rights.
“This is a democracy. In democracies, leaders are abused, pelted with rotten eggs and booed at, as the former Edo State Governor was booed in Abuja a few days ago. These acts are not necessarily criminal.”
While also condemning the move by the government to arrest its leader, IPOB in a statement described it as quite undemocratic.
Said IPOB: “We wish to place the whole world on notice regarding the illegal and wholesome undemocratic moves by Government to re-arrest our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who committed no crime known to the laws of the Nigerian state.
“This dangerous path of intimidation, smacks of state sponsored terrorism designed to silence free speech and infringe on our rights to peaceful assembly.
“Merely asserting that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a threat to the Nigerian government is not a crime unless accompanied by legally definable crime or offence.
“The Buhari-led administration must know that threats and more threats heaped upon intimidation after intimidation ‘do not wash’ with IPOB. Before Buhari decides to make a move to arrest our leader, he must first go to court to obtain a court order or else it will be resisted by millions of IPOB members.”
Nexy edition… Always Ahead!