The sleeping Eziama Afara-Ukwu Community in Umuahia, the home of Nnamdi Kanu, erupted in jubilation on Thursday, following the news of his acquittal by an Abuja Court of Appeal.
Kanu, the Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), had been standing trial for alleged treasonable felony and other charges, since October 2015.
He was granted bail in April 2017 after 18 months in detention.
He, thereafter, fled the country after soldiers attacked his Umuahia residence during a military operation, code-named “Operation Python Dance”, targetted at the proscribed IPOB.
He was, however, re-arrested in June 2021 in Kenya and extradited to the country to resume his trial.
The IPOB leader was remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services until the Court discharged and acquitted him.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that youths, men, women and children of his community trooped out to Kanu’s family house in ecstasy, when news about his acquittal broke out.
The shouts of “Owo-woo”, a common refrain in celebrating and rejoicing over a pleasant and remarkable development in Igboland, rented the atmosphere.
Women brought out white powder, which they shared to all and sundry that converged within the precints of his father’s palace.
The palace which had hitherto looked desolate, especially after the death of Kanu’s parents in 2021, spontaneously became electrified in joyful celebration.
Also, the atmosphere in the community, which had also been in quiet and somber mood, suddenly became charged.
The visibly ecstatic young men later rolled out local drums and escalated the celebration round the village.
The crowd danced excitedly, chanting songs of freedom and thanksgiving to God.
The Deputy Governorship Candidate of APGA in Abia, Chief Obinna Ichita, also drove into the village in the midst of the jubilation.
He spoke with newsmen, who were in the community to monitor the mood of the people.
He expressed joy over the Court’s decision, saying that the judgment further proved the judiciary “as the last hope of the common man.
“I have always recommended political solution in resolving Kanu’s case.
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“You can see the wild jubilation going on,” he said, adding that the development would activate the restoration of enduring peace and security in the South-East.
Ichita, who represents Aba North and South State Constituency in the House of Assembly, said he believed that Kanu’s incarceration contributed to the security breaches in the South-East.
“It is my opinion that Kanu is part of the solution and not the problem,” he said.
According to him, Kanu can offer actionable ideas toward solving the problem of inequality, injustice and marginalisation of some sections of the country.
“This is the time for us as a country to further interrogate those issues that he stood for so that we can begin to enthrone fairness, equity and justice,” the lawmaker said.
Also, the Vice President-General (PG) and immediate past PG of the community, Chief Benjamin Ohaeri and Chief Ikechukwu Ndubueze, captured the mood of the community in separate interviews with newsmen.
They said that God had answered their prayers, adding that the people’s joy knew no bounds.
They said that the community had been apprehensive and depressed since Kanu was incarcerated.
They said that they had been acquitted by the Court’s judgment, adding that they were “convinced that Kanu’s hands are clean.”
A cleric, Israel Okechukwu, said that joy and happiness took flight from the communty since Kanu’s ordeal began.
“He is our illustrious son and Prince of Afara-Ukwu,” he said, adding that his release would bring lasting peace in the entire Igboland.
All the speakers admonished the youths to be peaceful and cautious in their celebration and shun violence and acrimony. (NAN)