The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has joined other groups and individuals in the north kicking against the unconditional release of the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.

The CNG, at a press conference held in Kano on Monday, warned President Muhammadu Buhari not to succumb to pleas and ‘blackmail’ by prominent Igbo leaders in releasing Kanu, as doing so will present Nigeria as a lawless nation to the outside world.

Speaking at the press conference, the spokesman of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, expressed concern over the “body language of President Buhari” when a group from the South-East paid him a courtesy call and pleaded for the release of the IPOB leader.

“We in the Coalition of Northern Groups vehemently oppose the call for the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu,” Suleiman said.

“The call only goes to show the unrelenting desperation by certain interest groups in the South-East to subvert the due process of justice and tamper with judicial process since Kanu’s arraignment.”

Giving a breakdown of the alleged crimes committed by Kanu and by extension IPOB, the CNG said from 2017 to 2020, “Kanu has instigated the killing of 1,230 Northern Nigeria citizens living in parts of the South-East, while the proscribed IPOB also launched attacks and destruction of national security assets and democratic symbols.”

“Several millions worth of businesses, properties and valuable assets belonging to northerners and citizens of other regions were destroyed across the South-Eastern cities on the instructions of Nnamdi Kanu within the same period.

”About 400 security personnel were also killed as a result.

“The composition of the Igbo elders group has vindicated the position we have exposed since 2017 that the diabolical scheme planned and exhibited in the criminal actions of Kanu and IPOB, is fully supported morally and politically by the vast majority of Igbo elders, elites, politicians, religious elders, traditional rulers, business persons, and the larger population of the South-East.

Read also: Releasing Nnamdi Kanu will be dangerous for Nigeria —Arewa Youths

“Any attempt by the President to accede to the demand to release, without prosecuting and punishing Kanu, will inadvertently reduce Nigeria to a completely lawless state where criminals of all shades will commit crimes against the country, and then ask their traditional rulers and other regional or tribal leaders to press for their release.

“We warn President Buhari that the North has today realised that he places more premium on the pursuit for votes and political popularity for his party than he does for the sanctity of lives of northerners and security personnel who stake their lives and welfare of families in the service of the nation.”

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