The Nigerian Senate has declined a motion put forward by senators from the south-east region, urging for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob). The rejection took place amidst concerns about the sit-at-home orders imposed in the region by unknown gunmen.
The motion was presented by Imo West Senator Osita Izunaso, who argued that releasing Mr. Kanu could potentially put an end to the enforced sit-at-home directives. These directives, enforced every Monday since August 2021, have caused disruptions and unrest in the region.
“When people are forced to stay at home and businesses remain closed, productivity declines and income is reduced, affecting livelihoods and economic growth,” Osita Izunaso said.
Despite Ipob distancing itself from the unknown gunmen responsible for enforcing the sit-at-home orders, the Nigerian Senate decided against releasing Nnamdi Kanu. Instead, the lawmakers called on the federal government to take action against those responsible for enforcing the directives and ensure their arrest.
Nnamdi Kanu has been in detention since June 2021, even after all terror charges against him were dropped by the court in October 2022. His detention has been a point of contention and a focal point for the separatist movement in the region.
The rejection of the motion by the Nigerian Senate indicates the ongoing complexities surrounding the issue of separatism in the country and the government’s response to the demands from certain regions for more autonomy. The situation remains tense as authorities continue to grapple with finding a resolution that addresses the concerns of all parties involved.