President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday said he will not interfere in the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, thereby limiting the possibility of a political solution in the case.
“I wouldn’t dare interfere with the judiciary,” Buhari said about the trial during a recorded interview aired on Channels TV on Wednesday evening.
“Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”
Kanu was first arrested in October 2015 but was released on bail and fled the country in 2017. He was arrested abroad last June and brought back to Nigeria to face trial.
IPOB, which he leads, is pushing for a separate state for the ethnic Igbo people in the southeast.
A delegation of traditional rulers from the Southeast last November had urged the president to consider releasing the IPOB leader.
He told the monarchs the same thing he said during the Channels interview. He, however, promised to consider it.
“In the last six years, since I became president, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary,” Buhari told the Igbo monarchs.
“God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it.”
Buhari insisted during the interview that Kanu would be given a fair hearing by the judiciary.
“So, we are giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system, not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian,” Let him come here with us and then criticise us here.”
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