AIR Peace chairman Allen Onyema has said he believes President Muhammadu Buhari will release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) Nnamdi Kanu and embrace Nigeria’s 30m Igbos if approached properly.
Since assuming office in 2015, President Buhari has been at loggerheads with Ndigbo as Igbo youths object to what they see as their marginalisation when it comes to federal appointments. To make matters worse, the federal government has stood by idly as Fulani cattle herdsmen have run riot across the southeast geo-political zone but always responds whenever there is a fightback.
All this has spurred the growth of Ipob, which has seen its membership multiply and wherever Mr Kanu goes, he is always welcomed by thousands of supporters. Highly controversial, Mr Kanu has been campaigning for the recreation of the independent republic of Biafra which broke away from Nigeria between July 1967 and January 1970 during the civil war.
Mt Kanu’s agitation led to his arrest and while the case was still pending, he was granted bail in April 2017 on health grounds but he skipped his bail after flouting the conditions given to him by the court and fled Nigeria. In a dramatic development last June, however, Mr Kanu was abducted in Kenya by Nigerian security agents and smuggled back to Nigeria where he is currently being detained.
Himself an ethnic Igbo himself from Mbosi in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, Mr Onyema said he believes President Buhari would release Mr Kanu if approached properly. A business mogul who runs Nigeria’s most successful airline, Mr Onyema stressed that the president is not against the southeast, so urged the people of the geo-political zone to use wisdom in the fight against injustice.
Mr Onyema said: “This president, Muhammadu Buhari, quote me, I say it again, he is not against Ndigbo. If you approach him the right way, he will listen.
“President Muhammadu Buhari will one day release our brother Nnamdi Kanu. Myself, I don’t know Buhari but I have put forward certain requests and he honoured my requests.”