INDIGENOUS People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu has been arrested and deported to Nigeria where he will now face prosecution for jumping bail and his outstanding treason charges.
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 Nigerian civil war. His campaign, which has led to the phenomenal growth of Ipob, has set him at odds with the Nigerian government who had him arrested and put on trial for treason.
While the case was still pending, Mr Kanu was granted bail in April 2017 for health reasons 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, Mr Kanu was arrested and deported to Nigeria to face trial. Abubakar Malami, Nigeria’s attorney-general and justice minister said that international collaborative efforts with security agencies led to Mr Kanu’s arrest and repatriation to Nigeria.
Mr Kanu and his co-defendant are facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja. In September 2017, Mr Kanu fled the country after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.
That September, the Nigerian government obtained a court order to designate Ipob a terrorist group and got it proscribed. Mr Kanu had said the arrest warrant against him means nothing and had vowed to remain abroad to continue his campaign for a Biafran republic.