SECESSIONIST group the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has confirmed that its leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested during a recent visit to Kenya and was then and handed over to the Nigerian authorities who then flew him into the country.
Highly controversial, Mr Kanu has been campaigning for the recreation of the independent republic of Biafra which broke away from Nigeria between July 1967 and January 1970 during the civil war. His campaign, which has led to the phenomenal growth of Ipob, has set him at odds with the Nigerian government who him arrested and put on trial for treason.
While the case was still pending, Mr Kanu was granted bail in April 2017 on health grounds but skipped his bail after flouting the conditions given to him by the court and fled Nigeria. In November 2020, a federal high court in Abuja ruled that his trial could resume and five prosecution witnesses were called to testify against Mr Kanu.
In a dramatic development, however, on Tuesday this week, Mr Kanu was arrayed in court in Abuja the Nigerian capital with justice minister Abubakar Malami, revealing that he had been arrested abroad and deported. It was originally claimed that Mr Kanu was arrested in the UK but Dean Hurlock, a spokesman for the British high commission in Nigeria denied this and speculation about where the arrest took place has grown.
Ipob spokesman Emma Powerful, has now confirmed that his leader was arrested was arrested in Kenya. He added that he spoke to Mr Kanu’s brother who confirmed that the Ipob leader was apprehended by the Kenyan authorities and handed over to Nigerian security officials.
Mr Powerful said: “News has reached Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s family that he has been unlawfully arrested in Kenya, detained and has subsequently been the subject of extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria where he is now detained.2
He quoted Nnamdi brother, Kingsley Kanu saying: “My brother Nnamdi Kanu demands the right to self-determination for Biafra. Self-determination is the right that underpins the United Nations but because Biafrans support Nnamdi Kanu’s call for self-determination, my brother has now been subjected to the most serious violations of international law.”
“Whilst visiting Kenya, Nnamdi was detained and handed over to the Nigerian authorities who then flew him to Nigeria. My brother has been subject to an extraordinary rendition by Kenya and Nigeria who have violated the most basic principles of the rule of law.
“Extraordinary rendition is one of the most serious crimes states can commit. Both Nigeria and Kenya must be held to account and I demand justice for my brother, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Nnamdi Kanu holds both British and Nigerian citizenship. Nnamdi Kanu is Biafran, not Nigerian as he has rejected his Nigerian citizenship.
“The British high commission in Nigeria must insist upon my brother’s immediate release and they must guarantee his safety and security. Nnamdi Kanu must be returned home to the UK to his wife and his sons who live here.
“Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, must make it clear to the Nigerian authorities that they will not tolerate the unlawful detention of British citizens and that the UK government condemns the Nigerians and Kenyans for undermining the rule of law. There will be consequences for those who resort to extraordinary rendition and the British government must insist upon justice for Nnamdi Kanu.”