Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State has initiated talks with President Bola Tinubu on the release of the self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
After a private meeting with Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Thursday, Mbah told State House Correspondents that releasing Kanu would be in line with the President’s agenda for national healing as he promised on May 29.
The PUNCH reports that it has been exactly two years since Kanu was arrested on Kenyan soil and extradited to Nigeria where he faced a seven-count terrorism charge.
The IPOB leader was subsequently re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge in November 2021.
At the Villa, Mbah said he discussed the possible release of the secessionist agitator who has recently had a series of favourable court judgements over his prosecution.
The new governor said Kanu’s release would be Tinubu’s way of extending a hand of fellowship to the South-East where the IPOB leader hails from.
He expressed the hope that the president would give favourable consideration to the request.
“We also, of course, talked about the release of Nnamdi Kanu.
“You know that the South East has made a collective demand to have Nnamdi 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,” Mbah said.
He also disclosed that he called for the federal government’s assistance to explore the abundant mineral resources in Enugu State for the benefit of her people.
Mbah said so many untapped resources in Enugu await exploration with the government’s support.
“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 $30bn. And one of our core governance philosophies is to collaborate and to have a partnership, and we have identified the federal government as our core partner.
“We have a number of dormant assets in Enugu which we believe partnering with the federal government, we’re able to transform into productive assets.
“A lot of people do not know, but we have huge mineral resources in a new group. 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,” Mbah explained.
Speaking of enhancing security and private sector investments in the Southeast, he said: “You know that the growth level we have proposed is one that is going to be driven by the private sector and the private sector wants the ease of doing business and one of the core indicators of the ease of doing business is security and infrastructure.
“So, we also had that conversation with Mr. President. We have made a very strong announcement. We’ve banned sit-at-home 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.”
On the purpose of his visit, the Governor stated, “I came and frankly I brought to the President, the warm greetings and best wishes from the government and the people of Enugu state.”