Peter Obi Obi Calls for the Release of Kanu, Other Detainees

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, has expressed concern over the prevailing insecurity in Nigeria. He called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as well as other freedom fighters and any #EndSARS protesters still in detention.

Speaking to journalists on Saturday morning in Onitsha, Obi urged leaders to intensify their efforts in ensuring the safety and security of citizens. He warned that failure to address these issues could lead Nigeria towards becoming a failed state.

He said: “The primary work of government is the security of lives and property. It is the foundation on which people can live in any nation because no one can stay in an insecure place.”

“It is worrisome what is happening in Nigeria with the news of killings, abductions and others which has made Nigeria one of the most insecure places on the surface of the earth. Infact, it is leading to a failed nation.”

“I thank government for their efforts so far, but there is need to do more, and all leaders must come together to join hands and fight this. In the South-East, there is need for the governors to come together to be able to tackle it.”

“Even on economic agenda, I want to see the South-East governors work closely more. We want to see them come together and also bring together other groups in the zone.”

Giving his views on the continued detention of Kanu, Obi said: “I don’t see any reason for his continued detention, especially as the courts have granted him bail. Government must obey the court.”

“Rule of law is an intricate asset that we must cherish and live with. I use this opportunity to plead with government to ensure that all those who are in similar conditions are released and discussed with. We are in a democracy and we should not be doing things that are arbitrary and not within the law.”

Speaking about protest in Kenya and if he supports Nigerians to do same, the former governor said: “I’m against riot or destruction of government assets and property, because it is still scarce resources that we are going to use to repair them, but I’m not against peaceful protests.

“Peaceful protest is allowed, but it must be for a reason and not personal interest of some people to satisfy a particular interest. It must be properly articulated and properly directed.”

“I recall when people said they were protesting police brutality and I said to them no, let’s rather deal with the leadership. If we have good leaders, their agents can’t be bad. The problem is leadership. If the leaders are competent, have the capacity and do the right thing, their agents will follow their examples.”

“I want to use this opportunity to say that all those who are being held because of one protest or the other should be released. Whether it is freedom fighters, #EndSARS protesters, or even because of freedom of speech, be it journalists, let them all be released immediately.”

“We are a democratic country and people have right under the Constitution to express themselves freely. They also have right to peacefully protest and we must listen to them. We must listen to those who say they are not happy, that is why it is a democratic nation. We should stop acting dictatorial and behave as if this is not a democratic country.”

“I know we are in a state capture, but then, we should act in a manner that shows some decency.”

On whether there are plans for him to join other politicians to form a mega party to oust the All Progressives Congress, APC, Obi said he had no such plans.

“I will rather say that I’m more particular on how the poor Nigerian can feed. I will rather talk about things that are affecting Nigerians today. We politicians are preoccupied by election, and that is not what I’m after. I’m talking about how do we reduce the price of food?”

“Our people are dying of hunger, how do we make life more conducive for the poor Nigerian? How do we make our people to earn more money? How do we pull people out of poverty? That should be our concern, and not forming a mega party.”

“But if forming mega party is to be able to provide all these things I have illustrated, then I’m all for it. But if it is for state capture, so that you can take power and continue with the consumption, consumption, consumption, that we see today, I will say no. But if it is to move it to production, production, production, then I say yes.”