PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has said he would consider Igbo leaders’ request for unconstitutional release of detained leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
Buhari spoke when he met some Igbo leaders at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.
A statement released by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina said the request was made through First Republic parliamentarian and former minister of aviation Mbazulike Amaechi.
Amaechi had described the situation in the South-East as “painful and pathetic”, noting that businesses and education are crumbling due to insecurity in the region.
He pleaded for a political rather than military solution to the crisis.
Amaechi promised that if Kanu was released to him as the only First Republic minister still alive, he (Kanu) would no longer say the things he has been saying.
He told the president that although he is not a member of IPOB, Kanu would listen to him as an Igbo elder.
Amaechi said he had interfaced with Kanu on two occasions in the past, and on both occasions the latter rescinded orders earlier given on civil disobedience.
“I don’t want to leave this planet without peace returning to my country. I believe in one big, united Nigeria, a force in Africa. Mr. President, I want you to be remembered as a person who saw Nigeria burning, and you quenched the fire,” he said.
Reacting, Buhari said although the request was ‘heavy’ and negates the principle of separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, he would consider it.
Buhari said, “You have made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious.
“In the last six years, since I became president, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the judiciary.
“God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”
The president said his administration wanted Kanu to pass through the judicial system to prove his case and get justice.
“I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from outside. I feel it’s even a favour to give him that opportunity.”