President Muhammadu Buhari says he will consider releasing Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Kanu has been in the custody of the Department of State Security, since his arrest in Kenya.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges of treasonable felony brought against him by the federal government.
Early in November, traditional and religious authorities in the southeast petitioned the president to grant Kanu amnesty in order to defuse tensions in the region.
President Buhari has however said on Friday that he will consider the request when he met with a group led by former aviation minister Mbazulike Amaechi, at the presidential villa, where he (Amaechi) also called for Kanu’s release, according to a statement by presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina.
Buhari said while the unconditional release of Kanu violates the theory of separation of powers between the government and the judiciary, he will consider it.
As the head of our country, you’ve placed an incredibly difficult demand on me, the implications of your request are grave. Nobody would suggest that in the six years since I became President, I have confronted or interfered with the functioning of the court,” he remarked.
“God has spared you and given you a clear head and a very strong memory at this age… However, the demand you made is substantial. I’ll think about it.
The best thing to do was to put him in the system” (judiciary). Allow him to make his case in court rather than spreading negative stereotypes about the country. I think it’s even a favour to give him that chance, President Buhari added but promised to look into the request.
Editing by Saadatu Albashir