AFRICA/NIGERIA - President of the Bishops' Conference calls for the release of independence fighter Nnamdi Kanu

Friday, 22 March 2024 bishops   economy   wars  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - " I appeal to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to explore civil remedy in the release of Nnamdi Kanu so as to restore economic and social lives to southeast", said the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Owerri, with a view to the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an organization declared illegal for fighting for independence in southeastern Nigeria. Archbishop Ugorji launched his appeal to the Nigerian leader Tinubu on March 20 at the episcopal consecration of Thomas Ifeanyichukwu Obiatuegwu as auxiliary bishop of Orlu in Imo State at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, attended by more than 40 bishops and priests as well as politicians, local entrepreneurs and faithful. The continued detention of IPOB leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government of Nigeria is causing catastrophic economic damage in the South East, according to the President of the Bishops' Conference. "Insecurity has become an issue in the Southeast. Unfortunately, the sit at home order continues to paralyzing economic and social lives in the southeast. There has been repeated outcry in the Southeast, business operators have loss billions of naira because of sit at home order. Many poor families are afraid to come out on Mondays," emphasized Bishop Ugorji. To demand the release of their leader, IPOB members have declared a "dead" day every Monday in the southeastern regions and are threatening retaliation against companies that defy the order. On March 19, a federal court denied Kanu's bail and instead ordered a speedy trial on a seven-count terrorism charge pending against him. Kanu, disappeared from Nigeria in 2017. He was arrested in Kenya in 2021 and extradited to Nigeria. Kanu, who is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), the internal security service, was denied transfer to a regular prison for health reasons. Kanu was born in 1967, the year the Biafran War broke out after the southeastern regions attempted to secede from the Nigerian Federation. The war, which ended in 1970, claimed at least a million lives, many of whom starved to death due to the food blockade imposed by the central government. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/3/2024)