We, the Igbo Ekunie Initiative, IEI, comprised of individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora; have keenly observed with grave consternation, the extraordinary rendition/kidnapping of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya, subsequent illegal repatriation to Nigeria and detention in lieu of trial.
We have also considered the unabating ethnic divisions, proliferation of self determination groups and raging insecurity across Nigeria at alarming levels never seen since the Nigerian-Biafran civil war.
In light of the above, we hereby submit as follows:
- We remind the federal government that as long as Nigeria remains a constitutional democracy, the kidnapping of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the continued refusal to bring him to court and the denial of all due process of law is a flagrant breach of Nnamdi Kanu’s fundamental rights.
- That the long struggle for democracy was to bequeath us with constitutional rights that must be held sacred at all times. Any violation of these rights is not only unconstitutional but also betrays the sacrifices of those who gave their lives in the struggle for democracy.
- That the struggle for self determination on the face of it, breaks no known laws within the ambit of the constitution or international law as the rights of indigenous peoples and corresponding rights to self determination are guaranteed by the United Nations Charter, The African Charter on Human and Peoples rights and other such international treaties and codifications to which Nigeria is signatory.
- That the core essence of democracy is its fundamental premise on citizens participation through dialogue, negotiations, elections, consultations and overall peaceful mechanisms for addressing dissent, grievances, conflicts and the rule of law.
- We note that the federal government has frequently negotiated with Boko haram terrorists and released their adherents despite being responsible for almost 400,000 deaths and more than 3 million internally displaced persons in Nigeria.
We are therefore at a loss as to how a federal government that could release Boko haram terrorists and overlook herdsmen and bandits that have downed military planes and continued to maim and kill thousands across the country has chosen to kill, repress and jail IPOB members rather than negotiate with them.
- In the prevailing circumstances, we maintain that there is no legitimate or moral reasons to continue to hold Mazi Kanu in detention. We call therefore for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Immediate release.
- We recommend the prompt establishment of a high powered committee to negotiate with Mazi Kanu in view of reaching practical resolutions that will address outstanding issues in the short and long term. This should follow with his immediate release.
- In closing, we submit that the federal government must take steps to deepen our democracy by actively engaging in dialogue and other forms of citizen participation as a means of addressing the fundamental drivers of dissent and resolving conflicts. Too much blood has been shed and too much repression visited on the citizenry in post-colonial Nigeria.
This is an aberration that defeats the very purpose for which we sought and gained independence.
- We therefore urge president Buhari to be mindful of his legacy and to reverse the trend of bloodshed and repression by negotiating with Mazi Kanu and facilitating his release for the ultimate good of the country. President Buhari is especially called upon to rise up to the occasion of being the President of the whole of Nigeria and thus amend the notoriety and infamy that has resulted from his series of unprecedented lopsided appointments and his unfortunate partitioning of some sections Nigeria into 5 percenters and dot in a circle. Now is the time to adopt a political solution to the IPOB debacle and also to heal the wounds of perceived marginalisation and give a sense of belonging to all Nigerians. The immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu followed up with a genuine and reconciliatory dialogue would do just that! Signed
Chief Chigbo Uzokwelu
Igbo Ekunie Initiatives
Engr John Asiegbu
Igbo Ekunie Initiatives