Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the lawyers for the embattled leader of the proscribed Igbo secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has called for unconditional released IPOB leader to Nigerians and not to the Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo.
Soludo had called for Kanu’s immediate and unconditional release in Awka, the state capital, during the campaign kick-off of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, on Saturday.
Kanu, who had been in detention since 2021, was set free by an Appeal Court order on October 13, although days after, the Federal Government filed for a stay of execution order, which was granted by the Appeal Court.
In a recent development, Soludo, addressing a crowd at a rally held recently, appealed specifically that Kanu should be released “unconditionally and immediately”, stating that he was willing to stand as a surety to facilitate his release.
He said, “I am making a passionate appeal to the Federal Government to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally. If he cannot be released unconditionally, I want him released to me and I will stand surety for him.
“We need Nnamdi Kanu in the roundtable conversation to discuss the insecurity in the South-East. We must end insecurity in the South-East and we need Nnamdi Kanu to be around.”
Reacting, Ejiofor said although Soludo’s call for Kanu’s unconditional release was in line with the court judgment of October 13, the governor’s statement was simply for ‘campaign purposes’.He said Kanu should only be released to Nigerians and not to Soludo, who, according to Ejiofor, ‘has been silent’ since the court order releasing Kanu.
Ejiofor, in an interview with Saturday PUNCH, said, “We welcome Soludo’s call for Nnamdi Kanu’s unconditional release. It is in line with the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which had directed, since October 13, 2022, his unconditional release.
“That is the extant order of the court – that he should be released unconditionally and be allowed to go a free man. He is illegally held in the custody of the Department of States Services.
“We need to clarify that the issue of asking the Federal Government to grant him the request to be a surety to Kanu does not arise because we have gone beyond that level; even the amended charge filed against Kanu has been quashed. As such, there is no charge pending against him as of today in any court.
“So, the issue of releasing Kanu to Soludo does not arise. He has been freed, discharged and acquitted. We should be talking of asking the government to obey the order of the court, which directed for his unconditional release.”
Speaking further, Ejiofor said he was surprised that Soludo would call for Kanu’s release to him on the day that his party’s campaign began in Awka.
“Why did Soludo make this statement the day he started his campaign? He has been silent since the court order was given. People will see it as a campaign strategy or statement.
He has been there since October 13, 2022, but he said nothing. Nobody has called on the Federal Government to comply with the court order since then. Of course, everybody knows this is a political statement.
“Kanu is illegally detained as it stands today. What we want the FG to do now is to comply with the court order,” he added.