As the nation marks its Democracy Day and President Muhammadu Buhari’s first year in office, Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the President to release all political prisoners including Mr Nnamdi Kanu, Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Condemning the continuous detention and trial of Kanu, HURIWA also stated the failure of Buhari’s administration to respect due process of the law in the cases involving such political opponents like erstwhile Director of Media of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh; former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and the immediate past National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
“In January this year, two courts granted bail to the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mr Nnamdi Kanu, including a Federal High Court in Abuja but the President personally granted extensive media interviews whereby he prejudiced and intimidated judges to steer clear of granting bails to the duo of Kanu and Dasuki for purportedly committing in his words serious offences”, the body said.
In a press statement, HURIWA noted that, “Ever since that Presidential Media Chat, the courts and the judges have consistently failed to use their powers under Section 6 of the Constitution to compel the executive to comply with the bail orders.
“Just as the Court of Appeal has followed the body language of Mr President by affirming the denial of bail to Kanu whose so -called offence is for calling for the actualisation of a separate state out of Nigeria to be called Biafra to be composed of the South East if a referendum agrees with this aspiration”.
HURIWA said it considers Kanu as well as other named detainees as political prisoner who should be released forthwith. It maintained that the Universal Declaration of Human rights guarantees the rights to freedom of speech including the rights to agitate for separate statehood.