Mike Ozekhome, counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the release of his client.
Kanu has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since his arrest and extradition from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021.
He is facing charges of treasonable felony for the activities of IPOB.
IPOB is accused of terrorism in the south-east. Many citizens and security agents have been killed in the violent campaign of the group.
In a letter to the president, Ozekhome asked that a political solution should be explored in Kanu’s case.
Ozekhome said Buhari can order Kanu’s release in line with section 174, which gives the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) powers to “discontinue at any stage before judgement is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or any other authority or person”.
“You can do this by instructing the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to wield his powers under section 174 of the 1999 Constitution to enter a “nolle prosequi”. This will immediately halt the present restlessness and sits-at-home mantra currently ravaging the South East and paralysing business and normal life,” he said.
“To refuse releasing Kanu unconditionally and immediately is to court international displeasure and multi-faceted backlash. It will hurt Nigeria badly as it will also insinuate that your Excellency does not subscribe to the Rule of law and respect for citizens’ fundamental rights, and your postulations of the just ended United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which took place between 20th and 23rd September, 2022.
“Your Excellency must avoid these unhealthy reactions by ensuring that Kanu is released immediately and unconditionally now.
“The moral burden of insisting on keeping Kanu in detention is too expensive and too offensive to embrace, especially with his fragile and deteriorating health condition which his custodians (the SSS) have not been able to manage properly. Do not let Kanu die in detention sir.”