President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-day visit to Ebonyi State, was on Thursday assailed by a request from the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of outlawed indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) from detention.
The group also called for concession to make the Igbo race of the South-East produce the next President of Nigeria, come 2023.
MASSOB made the demands in a statement by its leader, Uchenna Madu
Kanu was arrested last year and charged to court on allegations of terrorism and treasonable felony, though he has denied the charges.
MASSOB and IPOB are seeking the secession of the South-East region’s five states and some parts of South-South region from Nigeria.
The region has become restive, resulting in frequent attacks on security agencies and facilities, government institutions and high-profile individuals, on the heels of Kanu’s continued detention.
While clarifying that MASSOB was not against the President’s visit to the region, the MASSOB Leader said the release of Kanu was expedient as it would help douse tension in the region.
“As President Muhammadu Buhari visits Ebonyi State, MASSOB reminds Mr President that only the release of IPOB leader will douse tension in the zone as well as restore a peaceful atmosphere to the entire country.
“MASSOB also reminds President Muhammadu Buhari that the continuous detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody will only worsen the security challenges facing the country; it will also continue to affect the economy,” he said.
Madu added that a President of Igbo extraction to succeed the president would also help in diffusing the already tense situation across the region.
“MASSOB will not be against the visit of President Buhari to Ebonyi State. We are making these two major demands as part of our own contributions to peace as being clamoured by well meaning citizens.
“MASSOB request from President Muhammadu Buhari to facilitate and ensure that one of the many South-east presidential aspirants succeeds him in 2023 to help the country diffuse many bottled anger which has fuelled agitations,” Madu stressed.
Meanwhile, while in Ebonyi, Buhari was billed to inaugurate many projects executed by the Governor David Umahi administration.
Umahi in a welcome message said the president would be in the state for two days: Thursday and Friday.
He said: “We feel deeply honoured as this presidential visit shall offer us opportunities to showcase for commissioning some of the life-transforming projects executed under our Divine Mandate administration.
“The projects include: King David University of Medical Sciences & King David University Twin Flyover, Margaret Umahi International Market, International Market Ring Road, International Market Twin Flyover.
“Others are the Uburu-Mpu dualised concrete road, President Muhammadu Buhari 4-way Light Tunnel, State Shopping Mall, New Government House, new Governor’s Office and new State Executive Council Chambers.
“We acknowledge with the deepest appreciation, your fatherly love and support to Ebonyi State like you do extend to other states irrespective of their party affiliations and which has made our modest achievements possible.”