The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, ruled out bail for the incarcerated leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
He claimed that Kanu, who is now on trial, was given every chance allowed by the law “to defend all the unfavorable comments uttered against Nigeria while he was in Britain.”
At the same time, he reaffirmed his intention to step down in May 2023 to make way for the next administration.
According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President said this at a bilateral meeting with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.
The statement was titled ‘Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.’
On notions that Kanu was not allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President said the detained separatist is being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he said against Nigeria while he was in Britain.
“He felt very safe in Britain and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he said there.”
He said considering Kanu’s jumping of bail earlier, the Federal Government may not consider granting him such a privilege anymore.
Buhari said, “His (Kanu’s) lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again if he’s admitted to bail?”
On the keenness expressed by the PM to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilise Libya could be an initial good step, as the fall of Muammar Gaddafi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns.”
On the Boko Haram insurgency, Buhari said there is a serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great). God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe it to God. The education process is working and the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion.”
On his part, the British PM, obviously not quite familiar with the maximum two-term limit, asked if Buhari would run for office again.
“Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well,” Buhari said amidst general laughter.
PM Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.
He described the relationship between the countries as “very strong attachment,” adding, “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us and we need to capitalise on it.”
Johnson offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.