Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has refuted claims that the release of Nnamdi Kanu was discussed during his recent meeting with governors from the South-East region. This denial follows the South-East Governors’ Forum’s resolution to engage with President Bola Tinubu concerning the detention of Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

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On Tuesday, the governors, under the leadership of Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma, convened in Enugu to deliberate on various regional issues. Uzodimma, who chairs the forum, announced that a significant outcome of the meeting was the decision to engage with the federal government about Kanu’s situation. The forum’s resolution was seen as a significant step towards addressing the prolonged detention of Kanu, who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since his extradition to Nigeria in 2021 on charges of treasonable felony.

Obasanjo, who had also attended the forum’s meeting, clarified his position through a statement issued by his special assistant on media affairs, Kehinde Akinyemi. Obasanjo stated that his discussions with the governors were strictly focused on regional development issues, specifically security, infrastructure, economic cooperation, and collaboration to complement the national economic development agenda.

“The meeting with them was at my invitation and of Chief Emeka Anyaoku before their summit began. The issue of Nnamdi Kanu was not on the agenda and was not discussed in my presence,” Obasanjo emphasized in the statement.

The former president’s remarks aimed to dispel any misconceptions about his involvement in the resolution concerning Kanu. He highlighted that his engagement with the South-East governors was centered on fostering regional progress and addressing pertinent developmental challenges.

Kanu’s detention has been a contentious issue, attracting significant public and political attention. His trial, which has seen multiple adjournments, has sparked protests and calls for his release from various groups, particularly in the South-East region. In May, a court denied Kanu bail, further complicating the situation and intensifying demands for his freedom.

The South-East Governors’ Forum’s decision to approach President Tinubu on Kanu’s behalf signifies a strategic move to potentially resolve the matter through dialogue and political negotiation. However, Obasanjo’s clarification indicates that his participation in the recent discussions with the governors was unrelated to the Kanu issue, focusing instead on broader regional developmental objectives.

This development underscores the complexity of the situation surrounding Kanu’s detention and the varied dimensions of political and developmental discourse in the region. The governors’ initiative to engage with the federal government highlights their commitment to addressing regional concerns through diplomatic channels, while Obasanjo’s stance reiterates the importance of separating regional development discussions from politically sensitive issues.

While the South-East Governors’ Forum remains committed to pursuing dialogue with the federal government regarding Nnamdi Kanu, former President Obasanjo has clarified that his involvement with the governors was strictly in the context of regional development. This distinction is crucial in understanding the multifaceted approach being employed to address the challenges facing the South-East region.