The apex Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has constituted a legal team that will ensure a fair trial for leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
Ohanaeze, which is speaking for the first time since the arrest of Kanu, said it is not averse to Kanu’s trial.
South-east leaders, comprising the governors, political, religious and traditional rulers, had in a meeting in Enugu last month, disowned IPOB and all pro-Biafra agitators, saying: “They do not speak for South-east.”
The legal team will be led by the National Legal Adviser of Ohanaeze, Chief Chuka Muomoh.
Kanu, who disappeared while on bail in 2015, was re-arrested on June 27 and brought back to Nigeria in order to continue facing trial on an 11-count charge against him, bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, among others.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Saturday, National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chiedozie Ogbonnia, said Ohanaeze had observed with keen interest the recent re-arraignment and consequent trial of the IPOB leader.
He added that although Ohanaeze is not averse to the trial of Kanu, efforts should be made to ensure that he is tried within the ambit of the law and in line with global best practices.
Ogbonnia also expressed support for the stand taken by the Southern Governors’ Forum on anti-open grazing, restructuring, rotation of presidency to the South in 2023 and the proposed five per cent share of the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB) for host communities.
“We also identify with the Igbo youths in their grievances with respect to Igbo marginalisation, the menace of Fulani herdsmen. However, we do not support the use of any form of violence to redress the relative deprivation and prevailing inequality and injustice across the country,” it said.
The organisation urged the youths to be law-abiding and sheathe their sword as the South-east leaders and stakeholders address collective grievances through meaningful dialogue and negotiations.
Ohanaeze also urged Ndigbo, particularly the youth, to actively participate in the ongoing voters’ registration, as this is the only means to achieve their goals and aspirations in the Nigeria project.