Former deputy president of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said South-east leaders are working on a political solution for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Kanu is detained in Abuja where he is standing trial for treason.
During an interview with Channels Television on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said he would not interfere in Kanu’s case.
Buhari said the IPOB leader should defend himself in court.
But Ekweremadu, in an interview with Dream FM, Enugu, Saturday, said Buhari did not rule out the possibility of a political solution for Kanu.
“Political solution in the Nnamdi Kanu’s matter is still very feasible. I also watched the Channels Television interview and I don’t think Mr President ruled out a political solution.
“So, we will keep working on a political solution, nevertheless. We will keep engaging the government, just as we will continue to appeal to our youths and people to ensure the stability and prosperity of our region,” he said.
The senator, however, defended President Buhari’s insistence that he would not interfere with Mr Kanu’s trial.
“In fact, I would have been surprised if he said he would just release Nnamdi Kanu. There is independence of every arm of government, including the judiciary. There are procedures.
“I recall that it was exactly Mr President’s response when I led a delegation of the South-east Caucus of the Senate to see him on the Nnamdi Kanu issue in November 2016.
“But ultimately we kept reaching out and dialoguing until we had a political solution, which resulted in the judiciary granting Mazi Nnamdi Kanu bail because ultimately, everything will come to the judiciary because every arm of government is independent,” Mr Ekweremadu said.
A group of Igbo leaders had, in November last year, visited President Buhari in Abuja to seek Kanu’s release from detention.
The president told them that an ‘unconditional release’ of Mr Kanu “runs contrary to the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and judiciary,” although he had promised to consider the request.
Ekweremadu said, “in line with the political solution, which the South-east Caucus of the National Assembly is quietly pursuing, I led a delegation of some Igbo leaders” to discuss how the IPOB leader could be set free.
Ekweremadu also said the delegation was still awaiting feedback from the Nigerian government.
He said the leaders have also met and had “useful conversations” with the IPOB leader.
“I did lead a delegation to interface with Kanu and the authorities. We had useful conversations. We have equally made some requests and we are waiting for feedback from the government to make progress,” Ekweremadu recalled.
Kanu’s IPOB is accused by the federal government of carrying out attacks on private and public facilities in the South-east and killing dozens of persons, including security operatives.