Nnamdi Kanu: Buhari’s First Political Prisoner, Says Igbo World Assembly

*Denied Access To His Lawyer Despite Court Ruling

Igbo World Assembly (IWA), has said that events surrounding the arrest and detention of the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu had shown that Kanu is the first political prisoner of President Muhammadu Buhari government.

The group, therefore, called on the Federal Government to immediately and unconditionally release .

According to IWA, which is the apex global umbrella organization that represents the apex national Igbo organizations outside Nigeria in the various countries of the world, Kanu as a journalist should not be arrested for holding an opinion.

In a statement jointly signed by IWA Chairman, Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze, and Oliver Nwankwor, Secretary General, noted that Kanu was part of the Mass Media.

The group also stated that freedom of speech was guaranteed by Section 22 and Section 39 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution as amended and such right is also enshrined in the Geneva Convention Universal Human Right Declaration Article 19 when it stated: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.”

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“Radio Biafra of which Nnamdi Kanu serves as the Managing Editor is part of the Mass Media and should not be arrested or detained because of their expressed opinions.

“The detention and harassment of Kanu is an affront to a free press and speech of all Nigerians.

“Suppressing press freedom is something many Nigerians associated with the dictatorship of the military rule in the past.

“All Igbo and indeed all Nigerians should defend press freedom and the right of Radio Biafra to express its views on Nigeria publicly.

“Ndigbo must not be subjected to a different treatment from other Nigerians.

“This incessant harassment and in some cases killing of members of Igbo organizations must be put to an end.

“MASSOB or Radio Biafra have not picked up arms against or challenged the Nigerian Government by force.

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“Arrests and harassment of Igbo leaders is sending a wrong signal and message to young and newer generation of Ndigbo under 45 who did not witness the genocide and war against people in the South East.

“Peaceful freedom movements are going on in Western Cameroon, Scotland; Quebec in Canada, or in Texas, in the United States and nobody has been arrested or detained by the governments of these countries”, IWA noted.

IWA urged Nigerians to join in the campaign to restore freedom of speech and movement in Nigeria which has been abridged by the arrest and detention of Kanu.

“Nigeria cannot go back to violations of freedom of speech and press as witnessed in the past under military regime,” it added.

A Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse 11, Abuja, had granted bail to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Kanu is yet to meet the bail conditions, even as in a telephone interview, Wednesday, his lawyer, Mr. Egechukwu Obetta, told Vanguard that “he has not been released.”

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Also, there are claims that the Department of State Services, DSS, Tuesday, also denied him access to his lawyer, despite a subsisting court order allowing him access to his lawyer and physician.

According to IPOD’s lawyer, Mr. Egechukwu Obetta, “the filing of paper work in line with his bail condition is in progress”.

Meanwhile, the controversial Radio Biafra has continued broadcasting since last Monday when its director was arrested.

 

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