Nigeria: Igbo separatist opens door to negotiations
An accused ethnic separatist said Friday he is willing to negotiate with Nigeria’s government over his trial for treason and related offenses.
“Nnamdi Kanu is not averse to a political solution in resolving the present politically orchestrated ordeal. Nnamdi Kanu welcomes a genuine political solution to this case,” his lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor told a news briefing in Abuja.
But he added that negotiations can only take place after Kanu has been released from the detention he has been in since last October.
Kanu, an ethnic Igbo seeking to carve out a separate country for his kin in Nigeria’s southeast, is being tried for treason, operating an illegal radio station, and leading a subversive group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The lawyer added: “Kanu will not renounce his ideology, IPOB is bigger than him. He cannot say yes or no to renouncing it. But he is opened to political resolutions of the problem.”
He stressed, “But Kanu must be released unconditionally.”
Nigerian courts have repeatedly refused Kanu’s application for bail due to the gravity of the treason charges against him.
The Igbo are considered one of Nigeria’s three main ethnic groups.
The online CIA World Factbook estimates the Igbo population at 18% of Nigeria’s total population of 182 million, or approximately 33 million people.