The Senate yesterday rejected a political approach on the continued detention of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The Senate also urged the federal government to collaborate with the Finnish government and extradite the leader of the criminal gang, Simon Ekpa, instigating Sit-at-home order in the South East, from Finland for prosecution in Nigeria.
The Red Chamber also resolved to invite the Minister of Foreign Affairs, when appointed, and relevant stakeholders, to carry out a thorough investigation on the matter and also bring other sponsors of the act to book.
The lawmakers passed these resolutions following a motion, titled: “Condemning the disruptive nature of ‘Sit-at-home’ demonstration in South East Nigeria”, sponsored by Senator Osita Izunaso (APC, Imo West) and co-sponsored by 14 other Senators from the region.
While leading debate on the motion, Senator Osita Izunaso, lamented that thousands of lives and property worth over a trillion Naira had been lost since this act started, resulting in investors leaving the region.
He stated that the Sit-at-home civil disobedience in the South East had led to the disruption and destruction of economic activities as well as immeasurable losses for businesses, workers and the local economy, noting that “when people are forced to stay at home and businesses remain closed, productivity declines, and income is reduced, thereby affecting livelihoods and economic growth.”
The lawmaker also regretted that the act disrupted the education of students, leading to missed classes and delay in academic progress, stressing that such prolonged disruptions had long-term effects on students’ learning outcomes and educational development.
“Disruption of essential public services such as healthcare, transportation and waste disposal continues to have severe impact during the ‘sit at home’ protests which adversely affect the well-being and safety of the general population living in the South East.
“The ‘Sit-at-home protests continue to lead to acts of violence and clashes with the law enforcement agencies, which have led to uncountable losses of lives of innocent people, security agents and the protesters. As this increases, the potential for criminal elements to take advantage of the situation to engage in looting or other unlawful activities while the people stay at home,” he lamented.
Senator Izunaso, however, warned that “if the activities of Simon Ekpa, who is issuing the illegal ‘sit at home’ orders is not checked, he may succeed in corrupting the minds of Nigerian youths and turning them against the government, which is tantamount to treasonable felony.”
Meanwhile, the Senate rejected the prayer, seeking a political solution to the case of detained IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, currently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), especially withdrawal of all cases against him.
Speaking with journalists after the plenary, the lawmaker insisted that a political approach was the best way to handle the case, saying that the Sit-at-home protests and destruction of lives and property by enforcers of the orders in the South East would stop with his release.