The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, on Tuesday, told those responsible for the killings in the Southeast to refrain from the violence because it goes contrary to what IPOB stands for.
Kanu made the plea when he appeared in court for his trial.
This is the first time that Kanu will personally address the issue of spiraling violence in the Southeast.
Before now, he has been speaking through third parties including his lawyers and the governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Soludo.
Kanu who is facing trial for alleged treason has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja since he was rearrested in Kenya last year and brought back to Nigeria.
Governor Soludo, who visited him in May, said the visit was to felicitate with Kanu and also as part of his wider consultations with critical stakeholders in search of lasting peace and security in the Southeast.
Soludo disclosed that he had quality and frank discussion with the IPOB leader, who he said, expressed sadness over what he described as “sacrilegious killings” of innocent persons, kidnappings and all forms of criminalities, including the brutal enforcement of the senseless “sit at home” perpetuated by sundry groups claiming to be acting for or on behalf of IPOB
He added that Kanu pledged that if the opportunity arises, he will be glad to personally broadcast to his followers to maintain the peace. The governor expressed the hope that peace would be restored in Anambra and the Southeast.
Nnamdi Kanu made good his promise on Tuesday when he appeared again in court for his trial.
After the court session, he addressed the issue of violence in the Southeast pointedly.
Speaking in a 27-second video clip, Nnamdi Kanu, who looked unruffled even after Justice Binta Nyako denied him bail, asked his supporters to be calm and peaceful.
Asked if he was disappointed by the outcome of the day’s proceedings, Kanu said he was not.
“No, not at all. Why should I be? It is what we expect. But I want our people to be very calm,” he said.
“I want Biafraland to be calm and peaceful, calm and very very peaceful.
“We are fighting to defend our people, not to kill them. We are fighting to defend them. That is why I am here and I will continue to do so until we get victory.”
It is believed that now Nnamdi Kanu’s followers have heard directly from him, calm will return to the Southeast.