BY FRED TUNDE –
I am not familiar with Mr. Adeyanju Deji, the convener of Concerned Nigerians, nor do I follow him daily on any of the several social media platforms. But I was captivated by him more recently when I saw a series of postings he made on Facebook concerning the ongoing detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kalu, the leader of the IPOB.
“Release Nnamdi Kanu on health grounds and make his bail conditions stringent. Bail is not an escape from prosecution or justice,” he wrote.
In a message that was quite similar to the previous one, he said on his birthday, “Happy birthday to Nnamdi Kanu. I disagreed with you many times and criticized you frequently as well but you don’t deserve to be locked up by the terrorists enabling Govt of Buhari.”
In another post along the same lines, he said, “People in Buhari’s Govt must not kill Nnamdi Kanu before May 29th next year to prevent the next president from releasing him because his release is inevitable.”
In a subsequent piece, he argued that the administration of Buhari ought to cease coddling criminals, bandits, killer herdsmen, and terrorists while simultaneously arresting and imprisoning people who oppose them.
Even though I have the utmost respect for Mr. Deji’s bravery in speaking the truth to those in positions of authority, I couldn’t help but ponder what might take place if the Buhari administration refuses, as Deji urged, to release Mr. Kalu because his health requires it, and he ultimately passes away while incarcerated.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Mr. Kanu’s attorney, had raised the alarm after a routine visit to the IPOB leader at the detention facility of Nigeria’s secret police, Department of State Services (DSS), that he is in a critical condition. This occurred after Mr. Kanu’s lawyer had observed that Mr. Kanu is not responding to treatment.
According to him, Mr. Kanu is now suffering from gastrointestinal disease, which requires him to take antacids and any other medical treatments that are at his disposal continuously. The attorney also claimed that the DSS had disobeyed instructions from Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, stating that he should be examined by his physician.
Why, in the first place, is Mazi Nnamdi Kanu being prevented from having essential access to a medical doctor? This is quite absurd, and it prompts a lot of inquiries on my part.
The current treatment that the Federal Government is meting out to Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu exhibited prejudice, especially when contrasted to the manner that bandits, killer herdsmen, and terrorists are dealt with in the country. If for some reason Mr. Kalu passes away while being held in custody in these harsh conditions that were brought about by the action of the Federal Government through its security agencies that violated his fundamental human right, the result will be comparable to an inferno that will plunge the entire nation into a great conflagration and disaster of unprecedented proportions. It would ultimately result in more individuals in the nation becoming freedom fighters, and more dangerous people would pursue the route in the hope of becoming a hero for their people.
It is common knowledge that the incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu has rather contributed to the enormous amount of insecurity in the South East, and one wonders what will happen if, as a result of the complete lack of care, negligence, or unnecessary victimization, something untoward happens to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government is not learning from history. Ken Saro Wiwa peacefully advocated for Niger Delta rights but was silenced by the then-Military Junta. After that, brutal young men inherited the struggle and almost wrecked the economy of the country, and the government was forced to sit down with them to chat a new course for peace after so many casualties and economic losses worth billions of dollars.
It is thus important for the government to approach the Kalu problem with extreme caution since any carelessness on their part might have unintended consequences. He has only led peaceful rallies and fought for the freedom of his people; as a result, the government’s security agents, mainly the DSS, have invaded his home, murdered several individuals related to him and the IPOB struggle, and wounded many more without having a good reason to do so.
In addition, the Nigerian security agents wrongfully abducted him in a foreign country and have been holding him in prison for several months at this point. The United Nations Working Group has likewise urged for his release without conditions, but their pleas have been ignored by the Buhari government. This may encourage more young people to challenge the authority of the government.
I am of the opinion that the Federal Government ought to initiate reconciliation between and among the various ethnic groups and agitators to understand their grievances and the most effective way to resolve the growing tension; however, if it continues in this direction, it could likely escalate tension in the country even further.
The administration of President Buhari needs to prioritize the battle against terrorism, the war against bandits, terrorists, and killer herdsmen, and then pursue the road of peaceful reconciliation with disgruntled ethnic groups and agitators.