*Blames Federal Government for Escalation of Pro-Biafra agitations
The Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations and the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, have thrown their weight behind the role played by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the South East Caucus of the Senate in the perfection of bail of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
It blamed the Federal Government for the escalation of pro-Biafra agitations and feelings of alienation by South East people, which, it said, resulted in the total shut down of the South East on the 30th of May 2017 in commemoration of Biafra Day.
They said Ekweremadu and South East Senators deserved commendations for helping the government to extricate itself from self-imposed tight corner over Nnamdi Kanu in order to douse tension in the land.
The coalition stated this while reacting to the letter by the Coalition of Northern Youths to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, wherein it claimed that Ekweremadu and South East leaders were busy paying courtesy calls on Kanu and helped to perfect his bail rather than condemn the alleged divisive tendencies of Kanu, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB.
In a statement signed by Board Chairman of Intersociety, Emeka Umeagbalasi and the coalition’s Head of Campaign and Publicity, Barr. Florence Akubilo, the coalition said that while there would have been nothing wrong if Ekweremadu visited Kanu like several southern leaders in search of political solutions to the Kanu dilemma, the fact was that it was Kanu who actually paid a visit to Ekweremadu and the South East Senate Caucus in appreciation of their role in perfecting his bail.
The coalition said: “Contrary to their claim, however, Kanu was the one who visited Senator Ekweremadu and the South East Senate Caucus to thank them for their help in fulfilling his bail conditions.
“We see political and sinister intents in the Northern Youths’ singling out of Chief Ekweremadu, for condemnation on a mere fiction that he paid a courtesy visit to the Leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
“It needs to be emphasised that by helping Kanu meet his bail conditions, Ekweremadu and the South East Senate Caucus helped the Federal Government to solve a logjam and douse rising restiveness induced by Kanu’s illegal detention”.
They blamed the President Mohammadu Buhari Administration for the popularisation of Kanu and escalation of the agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra.
“The FG made Kanu a hero and pro Biafra agitations loudest by the indiscretion manifest in his arbitrary arrest and continued illegal detention in defiance of court orders, violent crushing of unarmed pro-Biafra protests and peaceful assemblies, and the apartheid policy of 5 percent and 97 percent, which provocatively excluded the South East from this administration’s appointments and major projects”, it added.
The group commended Ekweremadu for consistently preaching democratic and non-violent agitation for equity, fair treatment, and justice within the Nigerian state by the Igbos and other groups that feel marginalised in the polity.
The CSOs said while they believed in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it was regrettable that while Federal Government was always quick to crush peaceful assemblies and protests in the South East and make mass arrests over harmless comments, the government and its security agencies have refused speak up firmly or take decisive actions against “the army of occupation called herdsmen, who plunder our farms, rape, kill and maim innocent Nigerian citizens, including women and children, in their thousands”.
“Unlike Kanu and his compatriots, those who served quit notice on Ndigbo and threatened to acquire their hard-earned wealth and properties in the North by force are yet to be apprehended and prosecuted. Rather they are emboldened and even grant live interviews to press home their threats.
“A Nigeria where some citizens are untouchables, while others are framed up, stigmatised, criminalised, and visited with unspeakable State violence on flimsy excuses can never be a Nigeria of collective happiness, prosperity and unity”, they insisted.