Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra has been arrested and will soon be charged to a Nigerian court.
Justice Minister Abubakar Malami announced that Kanu was arrested and expedited back to Nigeria on Sunday.
“We want to inform Nigerians that government working with security agencies has succeeded in arresting Nnamdi Kanu and we’ve brought him back to Nigeria.” Malami told reporters in Abuja, the nation’s political capital, on Tuesday Afternoon.
“Kanu will still answer for the 11 charges which he had earlier faced in court before he tried to escape justice and we have already re-present before court.”
The minister added :
“Security agencies arrested Kanu on the 27th of this month (Sunday) and as I am taking to you he is on his way to court.” Malami added.
What are the charges Nnamdi Kanu will be standing trial for?
Charges against Kanu include sedition, ethnic incitement and treasonable felony.
Shortly after Malami’s address to reporters on Tuesday, a Nigerian court ordered the detention of the Ipob leader.
Federal High Court in Abuja ordered that Kanu be detained in a DSS facility. He will be in the custody of DSS, which is Nigeria’s secret police, until at least July 26.
That is when his trial will start, according to Justice Binta Nyako who gave the order.
Ipob & Kanu lawyer react
Lawyer to Nnamdi Kanu say he doesn’t see the call for self-determination by Kanu as a crime.
Alloy Ejimakor who is also an Ipob member said he expects the international community to protect Kanu’s political freedom to demand independence from Nigeria.
Ejimakor however expressed regrets that the international community might have helped plan Kanu’s arrest.
The lawyer to Ipob and their Leader, Nnamdi Kanu said the Federal government caught them unawares.
Nnamdi Kanu 2017 arrest and trial
A Federal High Court in Abuja in March of 2019 ordered the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
At that time, Nnamdi Kanu was accused of treasonable felony.
Justice Binta Nyako said the trial of Kanu who has failed to appear in court since April 25, 2017 without any explanation will begin even if he was absent.
The judge based her decision on the provisions of section 352 (4) of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Kanu’s lawyer at the time, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor opposed to the prosecuting counsel, Magaji Labaran’s oral application.
Ejiofor asked the court to give him more time to produce his client before the court. But the court declined.
In January 2018, a Federal High Court in Abuja, threw out the case brought by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) bring to free Kanu.
Ipob at that time prayed the court to order then Chief of Army staff, Tukur Burutai to release their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
Nnamdi Kanu at that time had disappeared after he got bail in April, 2017.
Nigerian senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and two others stood as sureties for the IPOB leader’s bail that time.
At some point court asked Senator Abaribe, Immanuel Shalum Okabenmabu and Tochukwu Uchendu to explain Nnamdi Kanu’s where abouts.
Nnamdi Kanu profile/biography
Nnamdi Kanu formed his IPOB group in 2012 and many believed the group to be a breakaway branch from MASSOB which Ralph Uwazirike establish in 1999.
The Nigerian government had declared IPOB as a terrorists group and banned their activities.
The agenda of IPOB is for state’s in the south -east to break away from Nigeria and form their own independent country of Biafra.
By 2020 Nnamdi Kanu formed the armed wing of his secessionist group the Eastern Security Network [ESN].
Kanu said the ESN was to provide internal security against herders invasion of farmlands for the Igbo speaking south-eastern region of Nigeria.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu [as many of his followers call him] was a relatively obscure figure until 2009.
It was in 2009 that Kanu started Radio Biafra, an online radio station which campaigns for an independent state for mainly Igbo speaking people of Nigeria.
Radio Biafra is broadcasting to Nigeria from London.
Though he grew up in Nigeria south-east. Kanu attended the University of Nsukka, later moving to the UK before graduating.
Soon after setting up Ipob in 2014, he began to speak to gatherings of large Igbos in the diaspora, calling for Biafran independence.
In some of his comments, he begged Biafrans to take up arms against the Nigerian state.
In recent times, Nigerian police has blamed most of the attacks across the southeast on the ESN security outfit which the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu set up.
In February 2021, social networking site, Facebook deleted the verified account of Nnamdi Kanu from their platform.