The hope of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to breathe air of freedom may not materialise anytime soon.
Civil Rights Advocacy Group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), who made this known in a statement on Thursday, expressed doubt about the willingness of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to grant unconditional release and terminate the persecution of separatist leader.
HURIWA, however, said such action by the president would betray the assurances expressed to respected religious, cultural and docietal leaders of South East origin during a recent visit to the Presidential Villa.
HURIWA said the cacophony of “clearly orchestrated and sponsored opinions of some northern groups and the confusing statement made on Wednesday December 1st 2021 by Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami together with the tainted and unverified accusations made by the loquacious Minister of Information Lai Mohammed about the killing of some policemen by IPOB which IPOB denied are clear indicators that ab initio President Muhammadu Buhari won’t accede to the pleading of Igbo leaders to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to stave off the rising insecurity in the South East of Nigeria following his detention since June.”
The rights group recalled that Malami had described as premature the possibility of pardoning Kanu, while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
It quoted the Attorney-General as saying : “Pardon is a function of conviction in the Nigerian context and as far as I know, Nnamdi Kanu has not been convicted yet so the idea of pardoning him is premature.”
HURIWA recalled that Buhari had promised to do do something about Kanu’s detention on Friday, November 19 while receiving a group under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, at State House, Abuja.
HURIWA said the “calculated media interviews by all kinds of groups representing the North including the vexatious accusations without evidence against IPOB by Lai Mohammed on the alleged slaughter in the most graphic manner of some police operatives in Anambra State which has gone viral, are all the coordinated attempts by reactionary elements opposed to the peaceful settlement of the rising state of insecurity in the South East of Nigeria and infact it is very likely that they are happy with the activities of the so-called Unknown gunmen in Igboland which they often linked to IPOB without any iota of believable evidence.
“The statement of Abubakar Malami is only the icing in the cake of the sinister plotters who are working towards denying a negotiated settlement of the South East’s imbroglio.
” Besides, HURIWA reminded AGF Abubakar Malami that he has the constitutional powers to terminate the prosecution of the contrived matter against the detained leader of the now prescribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in line with the unambiguous provisions of the GrundNorm. ”
HURIWA stated that Under the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, presidential pardoning power is exclusively vested in the President.
” Under this constitution, presidential pardoning power is unfettered, just as it obtains under the American Constitution. Section 175 of the constitution provides that the President may
(a) grant any person concerned with or convicted of any offence created by an Act of the National Assembly a pardon, either free or subject to lawful conditions;
“(b) grant to any person a respite, either for an indefinite or for a specified period, of the execution of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence;
” (c) substitute a less severe form of punishment for any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence; or
” (d) remit the whole or any part of any punishment imposed on that person for such an offence or of any penalty or forfeiture otherwise due to the State on account of such an offence.”