Releasing Nnamdi Kanu will earn you more respect, Ohanaeze PG tells Tinubu



The President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has said President Bola Tinubu can boost his popularity and respect, especially among the Igbo, by granting the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, an unconditional release.

Kanu has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since his arrest and extradition from Kenya in 2021, and the Federal Government has continued to ignore an Appeal Court judgement that said he should be freed.


Since his arrest and detention, the five states in the South-East region of the country have been dealing with security challenges ranging from killings, kidnappings and arsons among others allegedly perpetuated by some armed groups who have pledged their support for the IPOB leader.

Though many Igbo leaders, including governors, have said repeatedly that Kanu’s freedom is important to the restoration of peace to the region, former President Muhammadu Buhari ignored all the entreaties for him to free Kanu.

Since he assumed office on May 29, 2023, Tinubu has received many appeals from politicians and leaders of Igbo extraction, asking for an unconditional release of the secessionist.

President Bola Tinubu receives Asari Dokubo at Aso Rock Villa. [NTA]

However, a former militant leader, Asari Dokubo, asked the President to ignore calls to release Kanu.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with Tinubu on Friday, June June 16, 2023, Dokubo branded Kanu as a criminal, calling on the President to ignore pleas for his unconditional release.

The controversial ex-militant argued that the IPOB leader should be made to answer for his crimes, warning that releasing him unconditionally will amount to encouraging terrorism and rewarding criminality.

Ohanaeze leader appeals to Tinubu

Reacting to Dokubo’s comments, Iwuanyanwu in a recent interview with The Punch called on the President to listen to the pleas of the South-East leaders.

He urged the President, whom he described as “a friend,” to understand that releasing Kanu will have a positive effect on the security situation of the region.

The Ohanaeze President-General said, “Tinubu is my friend and a friend to the Igbo and he should know that there is a thing in Igboland. When a child is crying and is pointing somewhere, definitely the child is seeing something. He should know that we are not fools and nobody can tell Igbos what is happening in Igboland.

“The release of Nnamdi Kanu is very important to us and if Tinubu releases him it would make him highly respected in Nigeria and in Igboland. He has not killed anybody and he has not been charged with murder. Kanu should have in fact been released since and right now he is sick.”

“The family and the lawyers have been crying for his release. I’m begging that Tinubu should help Igbo secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu. He should not listen to anybody and do just that for us. Kanu hasn’t done badly,” he added.

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