Senate rejects motion to release Nnamdi Kanu, demands Ekpa’s extradition

THE Nigerian Senate, on Wednesday, July 26, rejected a motion calling for the release of leader the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu, who is facing terrorism charges, has been held in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since his repatriation to Nigeria from Kenya in 2021.

Rejecting the motion for Kanu’s release, the legislators noted that the matter was under judicial consideration and could not be decided upon.

The lawmakers, in the same vein, asked the Federal Government to collaborate with the government or Finland towards the extradition of IPOB factional leader, Simon Ekpa.

Ekpa’s faction is behind the continued violent enforcement of sit-at-home orders in the South-East.

The Senate, in the same vein, condemned the weekly sit-at-home orders by IPOB in the South-East.

The motion for Kanu’s release was moved by Senator representing Imo West, Osita Izunaso.

The senator decried the loss of lives and properties in the South-East, noting that Kanu’s release will restore normalcy in the region.

“When people are forced to stay at home and businesses remain closed, productivity declines, and income is reduced, thereby affecting livelihoods and economic growth,” Izunaso said.

He also pointed out that the education sector was affected as missed classes have negative long term impacts on academic development.

“The sit-at-home protests continue to lead to acts of violence and clashes with the law enforcement agencies, which have led to uncountable losses of lives of innocent people, security agents and the protesters.

“As this increases, the potential for criminal elements to take advantage of the situation to engage in looting or other unlawful activities while the people stay at home,” he said.

He called for Kanu’s release as a political approach to ending the sit-at-home orders in the region, which the legislators rejected.

The legislators, rather resolved that the Ministry of Finance will investigate and expose those behind the actions after a minister is appointed.

Agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the region led to a weekly sit-at-home order, enforced every Monday since the arrest of the group’s leader Nnamdi Kanu in 2021.

Failure of residents to comply with the sit-at-home orders resulted in attacks and death in some cases.

Many stakeholders have condemned the orders, including Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections Peter Obi who described the enforcement of the sit-at-home as a criminal activity.

    Meanwhile, Ekpa has declared a two-week sit-at-home, starting from July 31, to demand Kanu’s release. The development came after his faction ordered and enforced a one-week sit-at-home.

    Most residents of the South-East are unhappy with the sit-at-home orders.

    On Monday, hundreds of Enugu residents staged a protest against the sit-at-home orders in the South-East. The protesters, mostly youths and middle-aged persons gathered at Okpara Square, close to the government house, from where they marched around the Enugu metropolis.

    As the protesters marched through major streets in the Coal City, they chanted solidarity songs, expressing their frustrations over the weekly Monday sit-at-home orders, which had taken a huge toll on personal and business activities in the South-East region.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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