How Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Ethiopia, arraigned in Abuja

Nnamdi Kanu1

More facts have emerged about how the wanted leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and repatriated to Nigeria.

According to sources close to Nigerian NewsDirect, Kanu was arrested following a collaborative effort between security agencies in Nigeria and Interpol.

Nigerian NewsDirect learnt he was arrested in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami wrote to the Ethiopian government through the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs alerting them that Kanu, a wanted fugitive was in their country.

The government also contacted INTERPOL for assistance in arresting and extraditing Kanu to Nigeria to face his charges.

He was intercepted on Sunday and immediately repatriated to Nigeria.

According to a source close to the presidency, Kanu was said to have earlier escaped arrest in United Kingdom after security operatives went for him following a petition by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to United Kingdom seeking his repatriation to Nigeria.

Earlier on Tuesday, Malami at a joint press briefing with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali announced the arrest of the leader of the proscribed secessionist group.

“The self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Kanu, was intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian Intelligence and Security Services.

“He has been brought back to Nigeria, in order to continue facing trial after disappearing, while on bail regarding an 11-count charge against him.

“Recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday June 27.

“He was standing trial on charge of felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”

Kanu was granted bail in 2017 by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja but having jumped bail, Nyako, on March 28, 2019, revoked his bail that was granted him on health grounds and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Malami said that upon jumping bail, Kanu had been accused of engaging in subversive activities that included inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against the Nigerian state and institutions.

“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”

Malami said that Kanu had been taken to the Federal High Court to continue his trial.

It will be recalled that Kanu was arrested on Oct. 14, 2015 and arraigned by the Federal Government on an with 11- count charge bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony.

Meanwhile there was tight security at the Federal High Court as Kanu was brought to court to continue his trial.

In a short proceeding, counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Shuaibu Labaran prayed the court to remand Kanu in DSS custody, a request which the judge, Justice Binta Nyako granted.

Kanu was taken away from the court in handcuffs through a special gate reserved for Judges and highly placed persons from where he was moved to the DSS detention centre.

Hordes of photographers and cameramen who had positioned themselves to take his photographs were disappointed upon discovery that Kanu had been taken away.

In the meantime, the Apex Igbos socio cultural organization, Ohaneze Ndigbo said it would issue a statement on the arrest of Kanu after due consultation.

In an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect, the Publicity Secretary of the group, Alex Ogbonna said the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo will soon convene meeting where the group will make its position known.

“When we meet, we shall make our position known but for now, we are yet to say anything as a group,” Ogbonna said.

However, Human Right Activist, Deji Adeyanju, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), have kicked against Nnamdi Kanu’s rearrest urging federal government to deal with ‘real’ terrorists.

Reacting to the reported re-arrest and re-arraignment of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, Deji said the FG should rather go after real terrorist, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s rights must be respected at all times. The Buhari Govt should go and arrest the real terrorist terrorizing our country and their sympathizers in and out of Govt. The Gumis of this world,” he said.

Similarly, Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to stop “pampering” bandits and terrorists in the country.

National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the group’s Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, made this known in a statement titled, ‘If You Can Successfully Arrest Nnamdi Kanu, Then Arrest The Terrorists Killing Nigerians In North East And North West – HURIWA.’

“If the Nigerian government under Muhammadu Buhari can go as far as arresting the fugitive head of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra whose group has consistently denied embracing armed struggle to achieve self-determination, it is expected that President Muhammadu Buhari should focus also on arresting the real terrorists of ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists responsible for over 32,000 deaths of innocent citizens and the destruction of North-East of Nigeria.

“The Federal Government should stop pampering armed Fulani terrorists and kidnappers who are waging war against innocent school children of Northern Nigeria.”

Similarly, the family of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has asked the Federal Government not to manhandle their son and the Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, who is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.

His younger brother, Emmanuel Kanu, who spoke in Umuahia, said Nnamdi stood on the part of the truth and committed no crime to deserve any persecution.

According to him, Nnamdi was only asking for the freedom of Biafrans which is their fundamental human rights. Hence, his right should be respected.

He said the whole world is watching on how the Federal Government would handle him.

Prince Emmanuel noted that his brother had awakened the consciousness of Nigerians about the goings-on in the country.

“My brother stood for the truth, and Heaven is on the part of anyone standing for the truth.

“He committed no crime, and the whole world is watching,” Emmanuel added.

Meanwhile, there has been uneasy calm across Umuahia, when the news of his arrest filtered in.

People were observed discussing the matter in hushed tones with some people still bewildered about the entire scenario, while some doubted the reality of the news.

It would be recalled that recently, a coalition of 75 Northern groups under the aegis of Northern Consensus Movement had placed N100 million for anybody who could produce the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, for him to continue his trial over alleged treason.

The NCM specifically accused Kanu and IPOB militant wing, Eastern Security Network of masterminding the recent spate of attacks on Northern communities in the South East.

The declaration came one week after the declaration by Igbo Elders Council that more than 5,000 Igbo youths have been killed and over 10,000 others, thrown into detention camps in the ongoing special security operation in the South-East.