The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, made the decision to step down an amended motion that called for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), during Thursday’s plenary in Abuja. This recommendation was put forth by Ginger Onwusibe (LP-Abia) following a motion presented by Eze Nwachukwu Eze (PDP-Ebonyi) titled “Need to Forestall Further Killings in Ebonyi Local Government Area and the Rising Insecurity in Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency, Ebonyi State.”
While Eze’s motion aimed to address the escalating insecurity in Ebonyi State, Onwusibe proposed an amendment to include the release of Mr. Kanu as a means to resolve the disturbing cases of killings in the southeastern region of the country. It is worth noting that Mr. Kanu has been in the custody of the State Security Service (SSS), despite a court ruling calling for his release.
Eze’s original motion emphasized the need for the Bola Tinubu-led administration to engage with political, traditional, and religious leaders in Ebonyi State and the Southeast in order to find a lasting solution to the security challenges in the region. He also urged the Acting Inspector General of Police to deploy Armoured Personnel Carriers to strategic locations in Ebonyi State to prevent future attacks.
Additionally, Eze called for enhanced policing efforts in Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency, as well as in other states of the Southeast and the entire country. He stressed the importance of training vigilante groups for intelligence gathering and effective community policing. Eze also recommended that the House Committee on Police Affairs allocate sufficient funds in the budget to enable the Nigeria Police Force to acquire additional combat helicopters for enhanced surveillance in the Southeast states and the entire country.
Despite the proposal to include Kanu’s release in the motion, the Speaker rejected the amendment, stating that it was not relevant to the discussion on the killings in Ebonyi. Onwusibe, however, argued that the prolonged detention of Mr. Kanu was contributing to the insecurity, urging the government to consider his release as a means to restore peace in the region.
However, the rejection of the amendment came from Ibrahim Halims, the deputy leader of the House, who stated that matters of that nature should be determined by the court rather than parliamentary decisions.
During the discussion, Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, provided his input. He explained that Mr. Onwusibe’s motion aimed to find a peaceful resolution to the issue concerning Mr. Kanu. Kalu suggested that the amendment should urge the President to explore diplomatic or political approaches in order to find a lasting solution. He emphasized that those familiar with the region understand the challenges faced.
In his ruling, Speaker Abbas addressed the issue, stating, “This is a significant matter. I will defer my ruling on this particular issue for now and invite both the minority and majority leaders.” He mentioned the need to consult and consider the legal standpoint before announcing his position. He added, “While I rule on other motions and amendments that have been proposed, this specific one will be postponed until next week after a thorough consultation.”