Former Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum, Chief Anthony Sani has berated those comparing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) with Boko Haram insurgents and bandits, saying they are ethnic nationalists and religious bigots.
Reacting to the re-arrest and re-arraignment of Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government, the elder statesman, who lauded government’s action, said if Kanu was not rearrested and tried, his activities would have emboldened non state actors to take the law into their hands and perpetrate criminal activities against Nigeria.
Speaking in a chat with newsmen in Kaduna, the immediate past ACF secretary general said, that the security agents were yet to end the activities of the bandits, kidnappers and insurgents in the North, does not suggest they are treated with kid gloves.
He however cautioned federal government and its agents not to torture the IPOB leader during the trial process, but ensute just and fair trial.
According to him, “Kanu’s re-arrest reported to have taken place in Kenya suggests his activities are not popular and liked among African countries. So, the advice that the government should handle the issue of Kanu with utmost caution is superfluous precisely because it borders on hyperbole or exaggerated effects of his worth in the polity. Due and fair trial is all that is required.
“The people who compare IPOB with bandits, kidnappers and insurgents in the North are most unfair. This is because the bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and insurgents are not known and they use guerrilla methods of warfare. They do not have well established organizations, they are just criminals operating in cells with no common adhesive among the disparate groups. One cannot pin down their leadership and their aims.
“The narratives that Miyetti Allah be arrested and prosecuted presupposes that Miyetti Allah leads the violent herders. Miyetti Allah leads herders most of whom are law abiding citizens. The violent elements among the herders are in the minority. It would therefore be unfair and amounts to miscarriage of justice to criminalize the leadership for the sins of their few violent elements.
“That is why we discourage ethnic and religious profiling of purely criminal acts. So, those who put IPOB on even keel with gunmen, bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and insurgents are misguided by ethnic nationalism and religious bigotry. More so that the security agents are seen fighting and killing them in the North. And in the course of such campaigns, many security agents have paid the supreme price with their lives,” he said.
Chief Sani advised other separatist agitators like Sunday Igboho Adeyemo, to desist from violent agitations.
“No criminal non state actor would get away with their heinous activities however long it takes. No nation can tolerate and accommodate people who seek to destroy their countries. IPOB is not the first to engage in agitations for separation. Many countries have separatists who pursue their aspirations peacefully and legitimately.
“Such countries include some groups in state of Alaska who wish to leave America and join Russia. We also have such groups which wish to separate from their countries in Quebec in Canada, Scotland in Britain, Catalonia in Spain, Xinjiang in China and Aceh in Indonesia. You do not see separatists in those countries killing innocent people in the name of separatist activities,” he said.