Aloy Ejimakor, Special Counsel for the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has said that the release of his client lies in the hands of the executive arm of government headed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

The PUNCH had earlier reported that some respected Igbo elders, led by Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, visited Buhari in Aso Rock in Abuja and requested the unconditional release of Kanu.

In response, Buhari had said, “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary.

“When Kanu jumped bail, got arrested and was brought back to Nigeria, I said the best thing was to subject him to the system. Let him make his case in court, instead of giving very negative impressions of the country from outside. I will consider your demand, but it is a heavy one.”

But Ejimakor said contrary to the statement by the President on Friday, the release of the IPOB leader is not in the hands of the judiciary.

He quoted Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, noting that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), has the power to discontinue at any stage any criminal proceedings instituted by him before judgement is delivered.

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The lawyer, in a tweet, wrote, “Section 174 of the Constitution says: The Attorney General of the Federation shall have power to discontinue any criminal proceedings instituted by him.

“The unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu lies with the Executive, not the Judiciary.”

Kanu, 54, was born on September 25, 1967, at Afaraukwu, Abia State. He had been arrested in 2017 for demanding the secession of the South-East zone from the Nigerian State.

However, he jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom, though he said that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.

After about three years abroad, Malami at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021, announced that the IPOB leader was re-arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.

Ejimakor had said the IPOB leader was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria.

Upon his re-arrest and extradition in June 2021, he was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges brought against him by the AGF office. Kanu has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja.

Justice Nyako had adjourned the trial of Kanu to October 21, 2021, for continuation of hearing but the trial was adjourned till November 10, 2021. The case was again adjourned till January 19 and 20, 2022, for trial.

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