The leader of the Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima has said the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu should not be released.
According to him, Kanu must face the wrath of the law for his alleged atrocities against the Nigerian state.
Shettima said Kanu has committed more atrocious damage to the country than any person or group since after the Nigerian Civil War that lasted 30 months.
After the civil war, Nigeria has had the misfortune of having military dictators including retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
The country has also been terrorised by Boko Haram, ISWAP and more recently bandits, who have killed thousands of people and displaced millions of others.
But according to Shettima, releasing Kanu will further compound the security challenges in the country and adversely affect President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
The Northern group leader made these remarks following Buhari’s promise to consider releasing the IPOB leader following a visit by some Igbo leaders to the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Buhari had made the remarks during a meeting with some South-East leaders under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi at the State House, Abuja.
Amaechi pleaded with the president to release Kanu, rather than opt for a military option.
But, Shettima stressed that Kanu’s release would undermine what he has done to Nigeria as the IPOB leader.
Shetitima’s submission suggests that the abortion of democracy, clampdown on the press and civil rights societies, and killing of pro-democracy figures by the Abacha regime along with activities of terrorist groups were milder compared to Kanu’s call for self-determination for the South-East people.
There have also been deadly attacks on farmers and communities by suspected herders and bandits.
“There is the possibility of undermining the consequences of what this man (Nnamdi Kanu) did to the country and by implication, if he is allowed to go unpunished, it would be sending the wrong message. Nobody in the history of this country has done more damage to this country since the civil war than this young man." Shettima told DailyPost.
“If at the end of the day, they allow him to go unpunished after what he has done, the implication is that nobody will ever commit any offence of this nature and be punished because everybody will always refer to him.
“And this means that the constitution is automatically suspended in the country. This means that some people can just commit any crime at the expense of over 200 million Nigerians and get away with it. Somebody can kill, pronounce killing and still get away with it; then what is the essence of condemning people to death for killing, murder when compared to what this man (Kanu) did?
“This is just a way of undermining the laws of our land, and indirectly they are saying the government of the day can be easily influenced. This means somebody can commit any offence and then come to Buhari or any other government after this and seek forgiveness.”
The AYCF National President also described Kanu as not remorseful for his actions.
He added, “This man is not even remorseful, indirectly, it’s like the government is begging him to continue with what he’s doing, and he would go unpunished.
“The consequence is that, if he is allowed to go unpunished, we would end up having millions of Kanu rising, even, if he decides not to go ahead with further actions.
“If he is allowed to go, he (Kanu) will come out boasting that he did not beg to be released. He is not remorseful and there is nothing to show he regrets his actions, and anybody can do such and get away with it; we are not in Banana Republic for God’s sake.
“The law must take its full course and I hope it’s not what I’m thinking because nobody has done the kind of damage this man has done to this country; and up till date, we have not recovered from the consequences of what he has done to this country, we are watching.
“If we allow him to go unpunished, then we are saying that the country should produce millions of him. With him alone, look at the damage he has done to his region, but for us in the North, we would ensure he has no sympathiser.
“Nobody is saying he should be dealt with without committing any crime, but if he is found wanting; then he should be made to face the consequences of his actions since the matter is in court."