Nigeria's number one man, President Muhammadu Buhari, has said the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, should defend himself in court for peddling false information about his regime while he was overseas.
Buhari stated this in an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday night monitored by The PUNCH.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that some respected Igbo elders led by Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, visited the President in Aso Rock and requested the unconditional release of the detained secessionist leader.
During the visit on November 19, 2021, Buhari had told them he would not want to interfere in the running of the judiciary but said he would consider their demand though “a heavy one.”
But speaking on Wednesday night during the television interview, the President said, “There is one institution that I wouldn’t interfere with, that is the judiciary, Kanu’s case is with the judiciary but what I wonder is when Kanu was safely in Europe, abusing this administration and mentioning too many things, I thought he wants to come and defend himself on the accusations.
“So, we are giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system, not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian. Let him come here with us and then criticise us here. Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”
When asked about the possibility for political solution, Buhari said, “There is a possibility of political solution. If people behave themselves, all well and good but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems (sic) against our country and thinking that you would not account for what you have been doing. Let him (Kanu) account for what he has been doing.”
Kanu, 54 from Abia State was first arrested in 2017 for demanding the secession of the South-East zone from the Nigerian State.
However, he jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom, though he said that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.
After about three years abroad, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021, announced that the IPOB leader was re-arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria though Kanu’s lawyers said he was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria.
Upon his re-arrest in June 2021, Kanu was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges brought against him by the AGF office. Kanu has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja while his trial is to continue on January 18, 2022.