In a recent development, retired Colonel Hassan Stan-Labo, a renowned security expert, has made a plea to the current administration led by Tinubu, urging them to release Nnamdi Kanu, the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Stan-Labo emphasized that such a move would contribute to fostering an atmosphere of reconciliation not only in the Southeast region but also across the entire country.
During an appearance on the Arise TV Morning Show programme on Wednesday, Stan-Labo expressed his concerns regarding the consequences of prolonging Kanu’s imprisonment. He argued that keeping Kanu incarcerated would inadvertently amplify his influence and strengthen the perception of him as a hero among his followers.
Instead, Stan-Labo advised the government to initiate a dialogue with various agitating groups, highlighting the potential benefits of engaging in meaningful conversations. He emphasized that such discussions could significantly contribute to addressing the prevailing security challenges.
He said, “One major priority area in the southeast, which I think will cool off a great deal of grouse, is for us to bring out Kanu; that gentleman, pull him out. Stop this incarceration.
“I know some of his pronouncements or maybe lines of his actions and so on were offensive to the Nigerian state, and there was a need to take certain actions.
“But you see, Nigeria itself is a family; that’s my picture of Nigeria. When part of the family feel offended, as parents, as a father you sit the gentleman down or the child down and try to find out what the problems are.
“Can we start talking with Kanu? Can we start talking with IPOB? Can we start talking with other groups? I think a conversation with some of the groups will go a long way to addressing these issues.
“We must not apply the stick always, bring in the carrots sometimes, and let see the carrots and sticks diplomacy at play.
“I think we can do that, and if we do that, the situation in the southeast will be greatly doused.
“Frankly speaking, further incarceration will only make him more and more relevant, only heightens the heroship over him. He is a hero now, whether we accept it or not. And we made him the hero. We have made him a hero in the southeast. If he comes out now, he can contest governorship election in any of the states. Nobody will even ask him if he’s from the state.”
As calls for reconciliation and unity continue to grow, Stan-Labo’s plea serves as a reminder of the importance of pursuing peaceful resolutions and engaging with dissenting voices. It remains to be seen how the Tinubu-led administration will respond to this call for the release of Nnamdi Kanu and the subsequent dialogue with agitating groups.