The traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia, Abia State, Israel Kanu, has appealed to the Federal Government to withdraw all the charges against his son and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
The older Mr. Kanu also said only the existence of a Biafra Republic can stop his son’s agitation.
Mr. Kanu, who made the statements in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Umuahia on Monday, said withdrawing the charges would help to foster peace and douse tension in the country.
“I call on the Federal Government to immediately withdraw all the charges preferred against Kanu in the interest of peace in the country.
“He did not commit murder. He did not carry arms; neither did he commit any heinous crime to warrant such a government clampdown.
“His only offence was that he expressed his opinion in a democracy where people are free to express themselves without the fear of arrest or molestation”, he said.
The monarch said he was not in a position to stop his son from pursuing his conviction, adding that Nnamdi was mature enough to hold an independent opinion.
“He is more than 18 years of age and has become an adult. He is capable of having an independent opinion on any issues. So, I cannot ask him to stop pursuing what he believes in.
“The only thing that can assuage him is to allow him to have Biafra and no amount of inducement, even giving him an oil block, would stop him”, he said.
Mr. Kanu, who described the bail conditions by the Abuja High Court as stringent, thanked Enyinnaya Abaribe (the senator representing Abia South Senatorial District), an Igbo Jewish Rabbi from Port Harcourt, Immanuu El-Shalom, and a renowned Chartered Accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, for securing his release.
He assured that his son would not betray the trust the sureties reposed in him.
He said that while in his palace, young able-bodied members of IPOB volunteered to restrict the number of visitors around him “so that he does not run afoul of one of the bail conditions.”
The visibly elated octogenarian described the two-year incarceration of his son as a period of depression.
“Very often, I kept wondering what would be his fate and hoping also that he would not die in detention. I had very strong hope that God would not allow him to die in the cell”, he said.
He also spoke on how he felt when the IPOB leader arrived at his palace on Friday, after regaining his freedom, saying that he felt very happy and excited.
“He looked quite healthy and strong. His looks showed that the prison warders took good care of him, so I was very happy and impressed when I saw him”, he said.
NAN reports that Nnamdi arrived at his country home at Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia on Friday to the warm reception of his parents, kinsmen and other relations as well as IPOB members.
The palace has been hosting visitors daily, including traditional rulers, politicians and other members of the community seeking to catch a glimpse of the IPOB leader.
Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested on October 14, 2015, had been standing trial at an Abuja High Court on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter and illegal possession of firearms, among others.
He was, however, granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako on April 25.