The fate of pro-separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu will be decided by the courts.
President Muhammadu Buhari who is in Ebonyi State for a two-day working visit told Southeast leaders on Friday.
The President was reacting to a demand by the for him to grant amnesty to Kanu and other youths from the region in detention across the country, during a meeting with leaders from the region at the New Government House Abakaliki.
The leaders said they are in dialogue with dissident groups in the region with a view to bringing them to a round table discussion for the return of peace.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been in detention since last year after he was arrested by the Federal Government.
He is facing prosecution for alleged treasonable felony and terrorism allegations he continues to deny.
Since his arrest, the southeast has witnessed increasing spate of killings and attacks on security agents, government facilities and high profile individuals.
The attacks have been blamed on IPOB by security agencies and the Federal Government but the group has continued to deny responsibility.
But leaders and residents are of the view that Kanu’s release could go a long way in resolving the security quagmire in the region.
Leaders who spoke at the meeting include Chairman of Southeast Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze
Charles Mkpumai; Southeast Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev Fr Abraham Nwali; Ohanézè Ndígbo President-General, George Obiozor and First Republic Minister, Mbazulike Amaechi.
Eze Mkpuma also called on Buhari to support the call for a President of southeast extraction.
Amaechi pleaded with the President to help restore peace in the region.
“I want to see peace in this country before I join my ancestors, I want to see peace in the south east particularly where there is upsurge of crisis and something that will lead to that peace is around the corner and we are asking you to give me the mandate and I will give you peace. I guarantee you this Mr. President”
“We say in Igbo land that a mad man is owned by his people. If somebody was mad yesterday, and on guarantee of elders like me and other elders, I will bring him out and that is to get peace.
“Help us to get the peace and I will give you peace in this part of this country and also in Nigeria because I am a Nigerian, I took part in the struggle for the independence of this country,” he said.
Nwali said: “As a body that is of genuine counsel, our country is currently challenged greatly by insecurity and societal conflict here and there with high level of poverty. A great number of our families are living in the fear of the unknown.
“As a father of our dear nation and south east, we bring to your notice that the sit-at-home has crippled the economy of south east and banditry is engulfing the nation.
“Our society is growing by violence with a lot of youth restiveness. We know that you are doing your best to
solve these problems but we request kindly your Excellency of more dialogue with all nationalists and more empowerment to the various security agencies to tackle this monster called insecurity.
“We request that you exercise the promotion of equity, fairness, and social justice by all institutions and political parties especially as we approach the year of transition.
“We plead for your political solution as a father, a loving father, a forgiving father to grant Nnamdi Kanu freedom. We pray that he be granted pardon as we call on all agitators to cease all forms of hostilities and other demands for a nation where the plight of the poor, the weak, the oppressed will be addressed.
He called for the zoning of the Presidency to the southeast and support of other regions to the call for president of southeast extraction.
“History shall be kind to you and you will have the greatest ovation in the world if your administration can do that which al
Ohanézè President-General, George Obiozor represented by Ohaneze’s Deputy Legal Adviser, Peter Alike, called for amnesty for all Igbo youths languishing in various detention facilities across the country.
Ebonyi Governor David Umahi called on other regions to support a President of Southeast extraction in 2023.
But Buhari replied he holds the view that Kanu’s matter should be properly adjudicated in the law court.
He expressed concerns at the worsening security situation in the region.
He said a few persons from the region have brainwashed and incited a segment of the population against the government.
Buhari declared anyone
caught bearing arms especially AK-47 rifles and who is not a security official should be dealt with appropriately.
He said: “I must register my deep and grave concern with regards to the deteriorating state of affairs in this region.
“I have listened carefully to various appeals from the Elders and Traditional Leaders regarding our wide range of options and as I have said previously, this matter remains in the full purview of the law court where it will be properly adjudicated.
“My worry is for our hardworking and innocent civilians for whom life is already tough and would like to go out and wean a good and honest living. There are many that fit this profile and the government owe them that obligation to protect their lives and property.”