South East Senators Meet AGF, Demand Kanu’s Release

Senators from the South East region of Nigeria have convened a meeting with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, to demand the release of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

The federal lawmakers, numbering about 15, were led to the parley by the Senator Representing Abia South, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Even though the meeting was held in camera, however, Senator Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said he was optimistic that the AGF would persuade the Federal Government to heed to the call for Kanu’s release.

He maintained that the continued detention of the IPOB leader was responsible for the rising level of insecurity and agitations in the South East region.

According to him, unless Kanu is released, social and economic activities within the region would remain stagnant.

Abaribe disclosed that he had already met with Kanu at the headquarters of the Department of State Services, DSS.

He said the embattled IPOB leader agreed to abide by any condition the FG would give for his release.

The meeting between the lawmakers and the AGF came barely after all the Governors from the South East region resolved to approach President Bola Tinubu to beg for Kanu’s freedom.

Earlier, about 50 members of the House of Representatives from various parts of the country, urged President Tinubu to free the detained IPOB leader.

The representatives, who identified themselves as “Concerned Federal Lawmakers for Peace and Security in the South East”, prayed President Tinubu to direct the AGF to invoke Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to terminate the terrorism-related charge that is pending against Kanu before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

It will be recalled that Kanu was first arrested in Lagos on October 14, 2015, upon his return to the country from the United Kingdom, UK.

Trial Justice Binta Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health ground, after he had spent about 18 months in detention.

Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison.

However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his country home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the death of some of his followers.

Senator Abaribe, who initially stood as his surety, alongside two others, subsequently applied to the court to be allowed to withdraw from the case.

Not satisfied with Abaribe’s claim that he was not aware of the whereabouts of the defendant, the trial court ordered him to forfeit the N100million he deposited as bond to secure Kanu’s bail.

Meanwhile,Kanu was later re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021 and extraordinarily renditioned back to the country by security agents on June 27, 2021.

Following the development, the trial court, on June 29, 2021, remanded him in custody of DSS, where he remained till date.

On April 8, 2022, the court struck out eight out of the 15-count charge that FG preferred against him on the premise that they lacked substance.

Likewise, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s immediate release from detention even as it quashed the charge against him.

Dissatisfied with the decision, FG took the matter before the Supreme Court, even as it persuaded the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgement, pending the determination of its appeal.

While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court, on December 15, 2023, vacated the judgement of the appellate court and gave FG the nod to try the IPOB leader on the subsisting seven-count charge.

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