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IPOB: Nwabueze seeks fresh meeting between Kanu, governors

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Benjamin Obiefuna Nwabueze

• Decries proscription of organisation

Elder statesman and constitutional lawyer, Prof Ben Nwabueze, has enjoined governors of the South East to reschedule a meeting with the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, when the current tension subsides in the zone.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who, alongside the Secretary General of Eastern Consultative Assembly, Elliot Uko, witnessed the first meeting between the two parties on August 30 this year in Enugu, expressed shock at the proscription of the group. He said he was never hinted despite being in constant touch with the governors even few hours before the meeting where the decision was taken.

Nwabueze said: “A meeting, without the IPOB leadership to me, seems that the essential purpose of the gathering had been defeated.”

He said he decided to return to Lagos when it was obvious that Kanu was not coming for the meeting following the attack on his residence and supporters.

In a statement, the senior lawyer noted: “On August 30, 2017, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko and I met with the South East Governors Forum. The meeting was chaired by the current chairman of the forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, who, in his conduct of the meeting, exhibited his characteristic sagacity, candour and forthrightness tempered with friendliness.

“Perhaps charmed by the things said by the chairman and the way he conducted the meeting, Kanu, on his part, showed an accommodating disposition for an amicable resolution of the crisis, and more specifically, a disposition to reconsider the threat to stop or disrupt the November 18, 2017 Anambra State governorship and the 2019 general elections.”

He went on: “But he emphasised that the decision does not lie with him alone and that the IPOB leadership must be carried along. Accordingly, it was agreed to meet with the leadership to secure their agreement and support.

“Regrettably, while the follow-up meeting was being arranged, the attack on Kanu’s home in Umuahia by soldiers on September 10, 2017 occurred, as reported in the news media, which, expectedly, triggered clashes between the IPOB supporters and the Army in Aba, Umuahia and other places, resulting in the death of, or injury to, some people.

“Reacting to this sad development, the IPOB leadership indicated its intention not to attend the planned meeting. Despite all this, Kanu made it known that, in the spirit of a search for amicable resolution of the crisis, he would still attend the planned meeting, now fixed for Friday, September 15, 2017. However, a day or so before that date, another attack on his Umuahia residence by soldiers made Kanu to renounce his attendance.”



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