PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has told leaders of the South-East geo-political zone that the fate of leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu will be decided in court.
Kanu, who is currently in detention, is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on charges bordering on terrorism and treason.
Buhari spoke during a meeting with leaders of the region at the New Government House in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital, on Friday.
Buhari is on a two-day working visit to Ebonyi State.
The South-East leaders had pleaded with Buhari to release Kanu and other pro-Biafra agitators in detention across the country.
Chairman of South-East Traditional Rulers Council, Charles Mkpuma, made the plea in an address read at the meeting.
The apex socio-cultural body of the Igbos, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, had also expressed hopes that Buhari will pardon the IPOB leader.
Ohanaeze, in a statement on Tuesday, said Buhari’s two-day working visit to Ebonyi would kick-start the process for Kanu’s release.
The statement read, “Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has given assurances of peace and security ahead of the planned presidential visit to Ebonyi State.
“This is part of the resolutions reached at the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Elders council meeting held in Abakiliki on Tuesday, 3rd May, 2022.
“The Elders Council presided over by Prince Dr Richard Ozobu insisted that this is the best opportunity for Igbo leaders with the South-East governors to dialogue with President Buhari over the release of the IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kalu.
“Ndigbo expectations are that such windows of opportunities must be fully utilised for positive results as President Buhari will be received warmly by Ndigbo. This will be one of the most remarkable visits of Mr President to the South-East, as we except that the President’s two days working visit to Ebonyi State will change the narratives that Buhari loves Ndigbo, and he will prove it by kick-starting the process that will release Nnamdi Kanu.
“IPOB and other Biafra agitators should hold their peace and remain loyal to the procedure that will help them achieve the release of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
Before ruling out Kanu’s release at the meeting with South-East leaders on Thursday, Buhari had earlier noted that giving Kanu a chance to defend himself in court was a favour.
Buhari made the comment when a group of Igbo leaders, led by First Republic parliamentarian Mbazulike Amaechi, pleaded for Kanu’s unconditional release in November 2021.
Buhari said, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious.
“Let him (Kanu) 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.”