Two Key Reasons Why The Government Should Heed The Call To Release Nnamdi Kanu

This essay is an individual opinion on a matter of public interest and is not intended to impugn any group.

It's been about four months now since the appeal court judgment setting Nnamdi Kami free was delivered. The government is, however, yet to comply with this judgment amid growing agitation. A close observation of the situation on the ground at the moment, however, will arrive at the inescapable conclusion that the federal government stands to benefit in at least two key ways by complying with that judgment and releasing Nnamdi Kanu.

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Nnamdi Kanu, during one of his court sessions

One of the reasons, and which stands to benefit the government, for releasing Nnamdi Kanu at this crucial time in the nation's political calendar is that doing so will create an atmosphere that will allow elections to hold in the troubled five south-east states of Nigeria.

Just about a week ago, the chairman of the Ndiator-north local government area in Imo state was kidnapped and later beheaded by gunmen. In a video released to the public by the gunmen after the incident, they vowed to deal similarly with the sitting governor of Imo state, senator Hope Nzodinma, and also never to allow elections to hold in the south-east. Of course, this threat may sound laughable to the average government official. But while these gunmen may not have the resources to match the government strength for strength, their potential to disrupt the elections in the south-east cannot be denied. We already see this at work in how successful the sit-at-home exercises in the south-east has been so far. All that the gunmen needed to do was to create an atmosphere of fear and panic by launching sporadic attacks on some hapless citizens, and the rest were forced to comply for fear of being victims. This strategy, if replicated during the election period, might be all that is needed to render elections in the southeast null and void. Such a scenario, as well as emboldening the agitators, who will have scored a major milestone against the government by that very act, may also affect the credibility of the overall elections. It would therefore be a much lesser sacrifice for the government to swallow its pride now and release Nnamdi Kanu.

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Gunmen are wreaking havoc in the south-east.

Another huge benefit that can accrue to the government by releasing Nnamdi Kanu is that it will go a long way in easing the security situation in the south-east. Admittedly, the agitation in the south-east that has degenerated into so much insecurity has not been about the release of Nnamdi Kanu, whose arrest and extradition from Kenya late last year-long post-dated the insecurity situation in the south-east. There is, however, no denying the fact that the arrest, extradition, and subsequent detention of Nnamdi Kanu may have added fresh impetus to the struggle. Many of his ardent disciples, who may not otherwise have believed in violence, may have been left convinced after his arrest and extradition that a resort to violence is the only way to go in the face of a government that chooses to commit flagrant injustice. To such groups, releasing Nnamdi Kanu may disabuse their minds of such conventions, restore their faith in the government to deliver justice, and consequently lose the zest to continue the struggle. Even amongst ardent supporters of the Biafra cause, the release of Nnamdi Kanu may represent an objective realized, and the consequent satisfaction and euphoria may go a long way to ameliorate the security situation.

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Senator Hope Nzodinma, the sitting governor of Imo state

Again, there has been a growing section of the Igbo political elites calling for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. A few weeks ago, the governor of Anambra state, professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo volunteered to surety for Nnamdi Kanu, requesting the government to release Nnamdi Kanu to him. He is just one in a growing list of prominent persons calling for the release of the Biafran agitator. Now, there is no knowing what influences these personalities can bring to bear on the security situation in the south-east that can radically turn things around.

It is imperative, therefore that the government must ruminate carefully on the situation, especially at this crucial period of elections and do the needful by releasing Nnamdi Kanu without delay.

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