From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah, has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to begin the healing process he promised during his inauguration by releasing leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu was initially arrested in 2015 during the administration of former president Muhammadu Buhari and was granted bail in April 2017. Following the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, Abia State by Nigerian troops, he fled the country in September of the same year and was re-arrested in Kenya in June 2021, about four years after his initial escape.

However, on October 13, the Court of Appeal in Abuja ruled that Kanu’s extradition to Nigeria was done outside legal frameworks and violated his fundamental human rights. The court also threw out the terrorism-related charges levied against him by the Federal Government and ordered his release from the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS).

Nevertheless, the authorities didn’t uphold the court order to release Kanu, insisting his discharge could cause insecurity in the South East, and he may also be unlikely to attend subsequent legal proceedings if released.

Subsequently, the Federal Government appealed against the court’s ruling with the attorney general of the federation’s office. The government later secured an order from the Supreme Court temporarily suspending the judgement’s execution, pending the hearing of the substantive appeal. However, the Supreme Court is yet to pass its judgement on the matter.

Mbah, who briefed State House Correspondents after meeting with President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa, said: “We also talked about the release of Kanu. You know, that the South East has made a collective demand to have Kanu released. And we basically identified with that and request, Mr. President, who in his inaugural address, promised the people that he’s going to engender national healing and he’s going to serve with compassion. So, we’ve basically informed him that this would serve as a pointer to his administration’s extension of hands of fellowship to Ndi Igbo.”

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On the purpose of his visit, Mbah said: “I came and frankly I brought to the president, the warm greetings and best wishes from the government and the people of Enugu State. But, above all, you may also know already that we made massive campaign promises to the people of Enugu. And we also have expressed humongous vision.

“We’ve taken a bold view of what the new group could achieve in the next four years, in terms of growing our economy from the current levels to $30 billion. And one of our core governance philosophy is to collaborate and to have partnership, and we have identified the Federal Government as our core partner.

“We have a number of dominant assets in Enugu which we believe partnering the Federal Government, we’re able to transform them into productive assets. A lot of people do not know, but we have huge mineral resources in Enugu. And these resources are sitting under our ground not being productive.

“So, we believe with the partnership we’re trying to build with the Federal Government, we’re able to transform these assets into productive assets.

“Of course, you know the growth level we have proposed is one that is going to be driven by private sector and private sector want the ease of doing business and one of the core indicators of the ease of doing business is security and infrastructure.

“We have made a very strong announcement. We’ve banned sit-at-ome on Mondays in Enugu. And obviously, what that means is that we will, of course, need to, you know, heighten our security, tackle the challenges that would flow from that, and, you know, essentially that’s what I have come to do.”