The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, said it received the judgment of the Court of Appeal on Thursday that quashed the terrorism charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, with great excitement, jubilation and consummate relief.
Ohanaeze, in a statement issued in reaction to his release, titled: ‘Nnamdi Kanu – History vindicates the just’, expressed optimism that whatever he may have lost in persecution will be maximised by the eternal rewards in heroism.
In the statement signed by Ohanaeze National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, the Igbo apex body said, “In several drinking parlours across the country, people of various categories were seen popping champagne, clinking glasses and dancing, signalling the end of an era in the history of the Igbo and Nigeria.”
Ohanaeze said the world had watched with keen interest the trial of Nnamdi Kanu and it was therefore self-evident that the judgment was a major boost to the image of Nigeria among the comity of nations.
“This is a plus to the Nigerian democracy and a sign that brighter days lie ahead. What occurred today is a sign of bright light at the end of the tunnel,” the statement said.
Ogbonnia noted that the Ambassador George Obiozor-led Ohanaeze had maintained that Nnamdi Kanu is a phenomenon that expresses the injustice, orchestrated alienation and inequity against the Igbo.
“On the other hand, all the oppressed groups in Nigeria are symbolised in Nnamdi Kanu. Nnamdi Kanu, therefore, symbolises the Igbo collective-unconscious.
“Obiozor has repeatedly reminded the Federal Government that the incarceration of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is an ill wind that blows nobody any good,” he said.
He said that the fate of Nnamdi Kanu had caused tremendous apprehensions, including the Monday sit-at-home, its enforcements by gunmen, the roadblocks on the major roads in all parts of Igbo land and, ultimately, the monumental loss of goods, especially in the South-East of Nigeria. This explains why the landmark judgement by the Appeal Court Justices has reverberated across the country and beyond with jubilation galore.
The statement partly read, “Barrack Obama, the former President of the USA had lamented that the bane of Nigeria and other Third World countries is the lack of strong institutions. He bemoaned the manipulation of the State institutions such as the judiciary, Electoral Management Bodies, etc.
“In an ideal democracy, structures, such as the Electoral Management Body (EMB), in our case INEC, should stand above the government. In our bizarre democracy, there is no distinction between the EMB and the government because the members of INEC are recruited by the same government. At any rate, this day in history will always be remembered with immense passion.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo salutes the courage and uprightness of the Court of Appeal justices for this landmark judgement. We want to use this opportunity to commend the indefatigability, steadfastness and commitment of all the legal luminaries that sacrificed their intellect and resources in defence of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and in the pursuit of justice.
“There are several courageous Nigerians, the social prophets and cosmic agents, who spoke out against the incarceration of Kanu. The fourth estate of the realm and the civil society have shown tremendous support throughout the struggle.
“The Diaspora Igbo whose spirit remained indomitable. We salute their courage and solidarity. We are certain that whatever Nnamdi Kanu may have lost in persecution will be maximised by the eternal rewards in heroism.
“Our joy knows no bounds. This is because the South-East of Nigeria used to be the most peaceful geopolitical zone in the country. But, since April 2021 when the Owerri Correctional Centre was overwhelmed by unknown gunmen and over 1800 prison inmates discharged, the South-East has not known peace.
“Today, it is Eureka! A glorious day; a day of peace re-found; a day of peace profound; a day of rebirth and indeed a day that injects grassroots impetus and momentum to the Igbo renaissance. Above all, it is a remarkable day that clears the coast for the irreversible contagious Nigerian movement for 2023. We are happy that today, history has vindicated the just.”