Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the lawyers for the embattled leader of the banned Igbo secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has said that Kanu should be handed over to Nigerians and not to Anambra State Governor Charles Soludo.
Soludo had called for Kanu’s immediate and unconditional release in Awka, the state capital, during the launch of the Grand Alliance of All Progressives campaign on Saturday.
Kanu, who had been detained since 2021, was released by order of the Court of Appeal on October 13, although days later the Federal Government applied for a stay of execution order, which was granted by the Court of Appeal.
In a recent development, Soludo, addressing a crowd at a recent rally, specifically appealed that Kanu should be released “unconditionally and immediately”, stating that he was willing to put up collateral to facilitate his release.
He said: “I am passionately calling on the federal government to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally. If he can’t be released unconditionally, I want him released and I’ll be his guarantor.
“We need Nnamdi Kanu at the round table to discuss insecurity in the south-east. We must end insecurity in the south-east and we need Nnamdi Kanu to be there.”
In reaction, Ejiofor said that although Soludo’s call for Kanu’s unconditional release was in line with the October 13 court ruling, the governor’s statement was merely for “campaign purposes.”
He said Kanu should only be handed over to Nigerians and not to Soludo, who Ejiofor said “has been silent” since the court ordered Kanu’s release.
Ejiofor, in an interview with saturday punchHe said: “We welcome Soludo’s call for the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu. It is in line with the ruling of the Court of Appeals, which had ordered, since October 13, 2022, her unconditional release.
“That is the existing order of the court: that he must be released unconditionally and be allowed to go as a free man. He is illegally detained in the custody of the Department of State Services.
“We have to clarify that the issue of asking the Federal Government to grant the request to be Kanu’s guarantor does not arise because we have gone beyond that level; even the amended charge brought against Kanu has been struck down. As such, there are no charges pending against him to date in any court.
“Then the issue of releasing Kanu to Soludo does not arise. He has been released, acquitted and acquitted. We should be talking about asking the government to obey the order of the court, which ordered his release unconditionally.
Speaking further, Ejiofor said he was surprised Soludo asked him for Kanu’s release the day his party’s campaign in Awka began.
“Why did Soludo make this statement the day he started his campaign? He has been silent since the court order was issued. People will see it as a strategy or campaign statement.
“He has been there since October 13, 2022, but he did not say anything. No one has asked the Federal Government to comply with the court order since then. Of course, everyone knows that this is a political statement.
“Kanu is illegally detained as he is today. What we want the FG to do now is comply with the court order, ”he added.