S’East, Niger Delta, Middle Belt Groups Warn against Move to Re-arrest Kanu

• Say FG’s call for rearrest sign of double standard

By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu, Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia and  Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

As concerns grow over the ongoing move by the federal authorities to re-arrest leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, groups across the geopolitical zones have described it as  a“costly mistake” and warned of dire consequences.

In a statement issued at the weekend by the Eastern Consultative Assembly (ECA) and Igbo Leaders of Thought said the federal government which has been floundering with one political mistake after the other should restrain itself from plunging the nation into more crises by angling to re-arrest the IPOB leader.

The ECA which is a coalition of several civil society groups noted in the statement signed by its secretary, Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, who also doubles as Deputy Secretary of Igbo Leaders of Thought, said the government at the centre has continued to portray itself as “a parochial and ethnic-driven government” in its actions and policies hence the bias in handling case of IPOB and its leader.

“Any attempt to re-arrest Kanu, especially without arresting the quit notice givers, genocidal song writers and herdsmen-murderers will spell doom for Nigeria. May the world never say nobody told them. Those plotting the re-arrest of Kanu do not know how deeply divided Nigeria is at the moment. It will be a miracle if Nigeria survives this re-arrest agenda.”

“The agenda to re-arrest Kanu, agreed by the political class, sponsored by those fiercely opposed to the restructuring of Nigeria and endorsed by those who hate our people with passion, will permanently alter the Nigeria political firmament. This is probably ordained by God,” the statement said.

The group recalled that “for close to two years, the world has been regaled by series of childish mistakes by the Nigeria government, as regards to the manner the federal government has handled agitation for self-determination.”

It therefore noted: “The decision to re-arrest the most popular easterner alive today in the belief that nothing will happen, is a very costly mistake (and) there will be consequences, from which Nigeria might never recover.

“Arresting him in October 2015 was a big mistake. Denying him bail was another mistake. Executing his followers in cold blood in Aba, Onitsha, Asaba and Nkpor, a much bigger mistake. And now, re-arresting a man who commands the fanatical following of millions of angry young men will definitely spur grave surprises for us all, head or tail. Nigeria will never be the same after Kanu’s re-arrest.”

Meanwhile, groups in the Niger Delta and Middle Belt have equally voiced their opposition to the move by the federal government to re-arrest the Biafran leader, saying  the entire nation would bear the consequences of such action.

Speaking from the Niger Delta, the leader of the Afra Descendants Movement (a pan- Ijaw ethnic organisation), Jene Kalada, said any attempt to re- arrest Kanu would only exacerbate the already bad political situation in Nigeria.

Kalada who voiced the concerns of Niger groups on phone, said the federal government should know that the Niger Delta people “fully support the Biafra agitation adding that the ongoing move to re- arrest Kanu was ‘a step in the wrong direction because it negates the spirit of unity the government claims it wants to achieve.’”

He argued that re-arresting Kanu would bring no solution to the rising ethnic tensions in the country but rather  it would “postpone or even bring nearer the doom’s day,” adding that the demand for self- determination did not amount to treason.

From the Middle Belt, an activist, Dr. John Danfulani, said the consequences of re-arresting Kanu should not be taken lightly as it would definitely spell doom for the nation.

He pointed out that there was no doubt that Kanu had so far conducted his activities peacefully and had done nothing to be labelled a threat to national security “when in fact obvious threats to national security are ignored and allowed to fester.

Danfulai, who is from Southern Kaduna, warned: “I don’t see the security agents ready and capable of containing the fall out together with the Boko Haram insurgence in the North-east. So, the best is to avoid any action capable of unleashing anarchy in the land.”

 The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, the umbrella body of all youths from Ijaw land, yesterday alleged that the federal government was institutionalising double standards in the running of the nation’s affairs.

President of the group, Mr. Eric Omare, in a statement in Yenagoa, national headquarters of the IYC, specifically noted that the planned re-arrest of Kanu was not only unfair but smacks of double standards.

He argued that the federal government partiality had even become more obvious given that the Arewa youth leaders that threatened to evict Igbo people from the North were neither arrested nor firmly reprimanded.

According to the group, many Niger Delta agitators are also languishing in various jails in the country, while the Arewa youths are being feted by state governments in the North.

Also, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has said any attempt by the federal government to re-arrest Kanu will be resisted by the people of the South-east zone.

The group described media reports credited to Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in which he requested the Federal High Court to revoke the bail given to IPOB leader as the “height of insensitivity’ and unwarranted ‘intimidation.”

The group in a statement by its leader, Uchenna Madu and made available to journalists in Enugu yesterday, said Kanu’s non-violent activities towards Biafra actualisation and restoration have never breached, truncated or confronted the “fragile and inconsistent constitution of this federation called Nigeria.”

He said the minister’s request was born out of “mischief and ignorance,” stressing that the federal government was indirectly trying to overheat the polity.  “Even the Interior Minister, Abdurahman Dambazzu, a Fulani man defended his Hausa Fulani youths of Arewa that threatened the people of Biafra with an ultimatum of quit notice to vacate Arewa land before October 1, 2017 that the coalition of the Arewa youths were misquoted by the  media,” he noted.

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