The Anambra State Governor, Prof Charles Soludo has blamed the insecurity bedeviling the South East on how the Federal Government is handling the case of Nnamdi Kanu, who is the leader of the proscribed secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Soludo stated that the sit-at-home declared by IPOB was in protest against the alleged maltreatment of Kanu, who is being detained and prosecuted by the government.
According to the governor, who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Kanu is a factor that nobody can deny.
He said, “Let me be clear: you can like it or not like it, you may want to hear it or not. I’m not a regular politician who speaks from both sides of the mouth, I say it as it is. My understanding of the situation in the South-East is that every major organised group needs to be part of the conversation.
“Why did we start the sit-at-home that the children of the South-East have to go to school four days in a week instead of five? How did we start sit-at-home that the woman selling pepper out there; those who depend on daily toil and sweat to earn a living can no longer do that on Monday? Business are closing and so on and so forth.
“It is because of Nnamdi Kanu. No matter how you want to wish it away, it is essentially because of Nnamdi Kanu. So, he is a factor; no one can deny that. He is a factor, for anyone who wants to be realistic. Therefore, in a conversation about peace and stability in the South-East, if you discountenance that factor and wish it away, then the person must be living in the moon. It has become a factor. And, therefore, as part of that process of getting down to the fundamental long-term discussion on this matter, we need to get that matter over with.
“What started the sit-at-home was because Nnamdi Kanu was arrested. And what were his supporters saying? They were saying that they would keep this Monday sit-at-home until he is released. We are only arguing and having a counter narrative to say it does not make sense to now (say because) someone annoys you somewhere else and you then go and lock up your entire family and say they should not eat, they should starve to death, children shouldn’t go to school. I think they have bought that argument.”
Soludo noted that a faction of IPOB had agreed to suspend the sit-at-home and work with his administration, while another faction has been responsible for the continued attacks in Anambra and other parts of the South-East.
The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria called for speedy trial of Kanu, asking that the government should make public details of the charges against the IPOB leader. “Press the charges and he will be defended. This is Nigeria, (there is) rule of law. The court will take their course expeditiously and let us see where it gets to,” he said.
The governor called for a timely closure on the case against Kanu, stating that, “The longer that it lingers without bringing closure to it, the longer you keep the system in suspense.”
Soludo also called for fair trial of the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. While faulting a leaked video of the ex-governor in detention, Soludo stated that his predecessor remains innocent until proven guilty and pronounced so by a court.
Speaking on security vote spending, one of which Obiano is being investigated, Soludo said, “I do know that Anambra was reputed to be the safest state in Nigeria, probably it didn’t come cheap. But, again, he deserves his day, to be treated innocent until proven guilty.”