…Allegedly Dumps Nigerian Citizenship
…Flees United Kingdom, Sighted in Canada
…British Authorities Can’t Stop Us – IPOB Lawyer
BY THEWILL CORRESPONDENTS
BEVERLY HILLS, May 10, (THEWILL) – The chickens might just be coming home to roost for the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. The bubble, also, appears ready to burst for the self-acclaimed leader of the Biafran struggle for self-determination as Kanu, according to THEWILL checks, is currently on the run following the official request by the Nigerian Government for his arrest and extradition from the United Kingdom with the International Police (Interpol) now right on his trail.
THEWILL gathered exclusively last week that the application for the detention and extradition of the Biafran leader was made by the government about two weeks ago through the official diplomatic channel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Inside sources close to the development confided in THEWILL that the recent upsurge in violent attacks on government institutions and security facilities across the country, especially the incessant attacks in the South-East, were the main reasons for the renewed determination of the Federal Government to bring Kanu back to Nigeria to continue his trial for alleged treasonable felony. The decimation of the IPOB apparatchiki with the killing of IPOB’s second-in-command, Ikonson Commander, in Awomama, Oru East Local Government Area, Imo State, a fortnight ago by a combined team of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Intelligence Response Team and operatives of the Department of State Services was part of the robust and renewed onslaught against Kanu and elements of his movement.
Aside other charges, Kanu, who founded the IPOB in 2012 had been declared wanted by the Nigerian authorities for jumping bail after his brief release by the police in 2017, when his organisation was proscribed and declared a terrorist group.
THEWILL authoritatively gathered that the embattled Biafran leader, who holds a Nigerian/British dual citizenship, in apparent preparation for the worst, has allegedly dumped his Nigerian nationality as the first step to evading arrest by the British authorities and his eventual hand-over to the Federal Government. Realising that, that tactic might not prevent him from being arrested eventually, given the determination of the British authorities to hand him over to Nigeria, Kanu fled the United Kingdom, which, we reliably gathered, is obliged and determined to honour the request for his arrest and transfer to Abuja under the Mutual Legal Agreement Treaty between the Nigerian and British governments.
Briefly sighted in Canada following his flight from the United Kingdom as he embarked on his search for refuge, Kanu is believed to be hiding in Ethiopia at present.
Trouble started for the 54-year-old political activist when he was arrested by the DSS on October 19, 2015. The arrest sparked off a series of protests by IPOB supporters who clashed with the security forces on several occasions, resulting in deaths of many police officers and IPOB members. Mobilising across the nooks and crannies of the entire South-East, IPOB continued to grow in leaps and bounds as the fire of self-determination for Biafra among the average Igbo youth kept burning.
While calling for the immediate release of Kanu and other activists from detention, the pro-Biafra protests continued unabated until a Federal High Court in Abuja pronounced IPOB as a terrorist organisation on September 18, 2017. The Federal Government eventually proscribed the pro-Biafran organisation under the Nigeria Terrorism Act. Kanu was detained without trial for over a year and was eventually released on bail in April 2017 following a public outcry.
However, Kanu continued his agitation amid several clampdowns on his members and supporters across the South-East. An attack on his family house in September 2017 forced him to flee, thus jumping bail, following which the Federal Government declared him wanted.
Apparently living up to his Biafran dream, Kanu seems to be unrepentant, despite his present predicament. His late father, Eze Israel Kanu, sure knew his son very well when he declared that the IPOB leader would rather prefer to die than to give up the Biafran cause. And so, it was, on Friday, when Kanu declared on his regular broadcast on Radio Biafra, monitored by THEWILL, through his official @MaziNnamdiKanu Twitter handle, even from his hide-out.
Quoting Jenny Han, Kanu declared: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a burn for a burn, a life for a life. That’s how all this got started and that’s how it’s going to end,” adding, “Fulani terrorists in #AsoRock have taken over all media outlets in #Nigeria and levied war on us all. We shall defend our land.”
Earlier on Thursday, he had also stated via his Twitter handle: “In 2015, I warned the leadership of World Igbo Congress in USA and #Nigerians at large during a town hall meeting in LA that @MBuhari’s reign will usher in a deadly and devastating armed Fulani invasion of the country, but they ignored my prophesy. Today they have come.”
Kanu has been using his Radio Biafra, an online private radio station broadcasting from London, to propagate the Biafran cause for self-determination since he came to limelight in 2009.
At home in the South-East, especially in Imo State, the federal clampdown on IPOB members and the Eastern Security Network has continued as the combined team of the Army, Police and DSS intensify their effort to fish out those believed to be behind recent attacks on police formations in the state. On Thursday in Orlu, about 11 members of IPOB were killed in an ambush by federal forces as the manhunt for those responsible for the killing of policemen in the state continues.
IPOB Legal Adviser, Barrister Ohaeto Uwaize, has however condemned the situation where IPOB members, according to him, have become endangered species in the state. Narrating his encounter with some members of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday morning in Owerri, the IPOB lawyer said he escaped death just by sheer luck, saying he had yet to recover from the shock and trauma of the encounter.
Narrating his ordeal in the hands of the soldiers to THEWILL, Uwaize said: “Early in the morning on Tuesday, I was driving on Izombe Road to Oguta, Imo State, when a group of Nigerian soldiers on patrol saw me; they stopped me upon sighting the Biafran flag and some Biafran newspapers inside my car. About three of them jumped out of their vehicle and asked me what was in my car. While trying to provide an answer to their question, one of them used his gun butt and smashed my car. Another one said they just respected me because they saw that I’m a lawyer, otherwise they would have wasted me on the spot. The situation was really a sad, nasty, terrifying and traumatising experience for me. We’re now an endangered species as our lives are no longer safe in the South-East due to the heavy militarisation of the environment. Only God can save us now in that zone.”
Uwaize had earlier told THEWILL that there would be no going back on the actualisation of the Biafran nation by IPOB, saying, “The era of dialogue is already gone.”
“Let me tell you, most people in the South-East see themselves as dead persons, even myself. As far as I’m concerned, I’m a dead man. Since 2020, I considered myself to be a dead man. It was the year I died and celebrated my funeral ceremony. So, you cannot intimidate me with death. And the strong IPOB members are like that. You cannot intimidate them with death. And all the guys carrying guns are all dead people. So it is a soldier who is being paid by the Federal Government with tax payers’ money that should be afraid of death, not the people who are already dead,” Uwazie had declared.
BRITISH GOVT CAN’T STOP US – IPOB LAWYER
Uwazie also faulted the involvement of the British Government in the attempt to frustrate the Biafran dream.
He said, “The Federal Government has brought in British soldiers. Can you imagine how stupid the British Government is? When they left the European Union, nobody stopped them, but they want us to remain in Nigeria. They brought in British soldiers. That High Commissioner in Abuja is the one ruling Nigeria now, not Buhari. She is the one advising them on how to deal with easterners and the one giving logistics advice to the Fulani cabal. She has left her office at the British High Commission and relocated to Aso Rock. But we are ready to defeat them, both the British and the Federal Government because we are no longer comfortable in Nigeria. How can you go and bring your Fulani brothers from Mali, Sudan, Libya, Central Africa Republic, Niger, Mauritania and Senegal to come and take over Nigeria. You arm them with AK 47 rifles to take our land. If Usman dan Fodio did that in Sokoto, Minna and Kano in 1804, you cannot do that here now. We say no to this. We are ready for them and we are equal to the task. We’ll fight for our land and we’ll defeat them.”
SOUTH EAST ECONOMY ALREADY UNDER THREAT
The ongoing siege on the South-East is, however, threatening the economy of the geo-political zone. An ‘incursion’ into the territory of IPOB by attempting to extradite Kanu may spell doom for a region that has been on the radar of the Federal Government in a negative way. Already, there is growing tension in the region where insecurity has heightened through attack on police stations, security checkpoints and the Owerri Correctional Centre where many prisoners were released.
Since the coming of the All Progressives Congress/Muhammadu Buhari-led government, there has been a reinforced campaign among the people of the South-East to step up industrialisation and economic development of the region. Many Igbo in the Diaspora have established businesses at home to create jobs and contribute to the development of the region. These businesses include pharmaceuticals, food processing, hotel and hospitality, school, hospital and brewing. There are also many skill-acquisition centres.
In Aba, cottage factories for footwear, travelling bags and other items have emerged in the area. Incidentally, Aba is the base of IPOB members and supporters who are ready to do anything to protect the group. Many also offer handsome financial support to the group.