Where was Nnamdi Kanu arrested?

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Where was the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu arrested?

Singapore, Czech Republic, Cameroon, Kenya, Ethiopia or Brazil – These are few of the countries that have been mentioned since the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, revealed on Tuesday that Kanu was arrested and brought back to Nigeria on Sunday.

He said the arrest followed a collaborative effort between security agencies in Nigeria and the Interpol.

Kanu had a few days ago insinuated that Nigeria was trying to use Interpol to get at him.

The IPOB leader was hurriedly arraigned on Tuesday before Justice Binta Nyako, who remanded him in the custody of the Department of State Service, DSS till July 26 for continuation of trial.

Kanu was initially arrested on 14th October, 2015 on an 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.

He had fled Nigeria in September 2017 after the military invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, in the southeast of Nigeria.

The Nigerian army then insisted it was not holding him and the Nigerian government secured a controversial court order proscribing IPOB as a terrorist group.

Kanu failed to show up at the last hearing date for his trial. The trial judge ordered his lawyer to produce him at the next sitting on March 28 2018.

Kanu, who holds Nigerian and British passports, was known to be living in London until this arrest.

However, TheLeadng authoritatively gathered that Kanu was arrested outside his London base on Sunday. The United Kingdom has frustrated earlier requests and moves by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to arrest and extradite the secessionist.

The British government has also declared that it didn’t play any role in the arrest and extradition of Kanu.

The spokesman, British High Commission in Nigeria, Dean Hurlock, said, ‘We are aware of reports that Nnamdi Kanu has been detained in Nigeria by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“We can confirm that Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested in the UK for extradition purposes.”

Security sources told TheLeadng that Kanu was arrested while on transit as alluded to by Malami during his briefing.

Malami had said that Kanu was intercepted by security operatives and brought to Nigeria.

“The UK government didn’t agree to extradite Kanu. However, while he was on transit outside his base, he was intercepted by operatives of a friendly country, which notified the Nigerian government,” one of our sources disclosed.

He added that the request for the arrest of Kanu was made to the INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France, about two months ago but the IPOB leader could not be arrested at his London base because he is a British citizen and repatriating him to Nigeria may be challenging and the process cumbersome.

“So, the security agencies waited patiently for him to leave the British soil before moving against him; he was arrested while on transit. There was evidence of his meetings with foreign governments to solicit support for Biafra,” he said.

Supporting this view, a top government official said the news of the arrest of Kanu came as a surprise to the government and changed some of the plans of President Buhari, including his scheduled medical trip to London.

Buhari at the weekend postponed his medical trip to London indefinitely.

“Yes, we alerted the Interpol about the cases about Kanu and were seeking collaboration to arrest him but the news of his arrest came as a surprise to the government. It was not believed until he was brought to Nigeria. It was made a top secret in the government circle that some kitchen cabinet members were not aware of it. I doubt if the Vice President was aware. No media aide of the president was informed. It was top secret,” the source disclosed while declining to state the country where Kanu was arrested.

The news of his arrest took the world by surprise as it was not reported in the media until when Malami made it known at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

Not even the Biafra Radio announced that its chairman was missing.

He dismissed insinuation that the government used covert operations against
international best practices, stressing that the arrest was done by Interpol.

It was learnt that Kanu was arrested while in transit through the use of Advanced Passenger Information (API), which has the input of various international airlines, Immigrations, Customs, airports authorities and secret services of various countries.

A top security source who confirmed the use of Interpol to track Kanu but declined to name the country he was picked, said API was being used to track Persons of Interest (PoI) as in the case of the IPOB leader.

“He was not arrested using covert operation as applied during the botched attempt to bring back late Umaru Dikko in the 80s when Muhammadu Buhari was military head of state.

“It is also not true that a woman was used to track him before he was brought back home through the back channels. No woman was used because it will amount to an illegal act against a sovereign country,” the source said.

There were unconfirmed reports on Tuesday that the National Intelligence Agency used a lady to lure him to Brazil where he was arrested. Another report also claimed that it was at Czech Republic that he was arrested.

TheLeadng gathered that Kanu might have been nabbed following a tip-off from a European country to the INTERPOL.

He was said to have visited Singapore and went to the Czech Republic on Friday en route to the UK. But he was arrested on Saturday in Prague, The Czech Republic and flown back to Nigeria on Sunday.

A source disclosed that Kanu was arrested while leaving Israel for an unknown country but this could not be independently verified on Tuesday.

However, another source claimed that Kanu was arrested in Cameroon on his way to meet leaders of the armed separatist groups fighting to carve out Cameroon’s English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions into a breakaway state called Ambazonia. Biafra and Ambazonia have a pact of collaboration.

However, two top security operatives said Kanu was arrested in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The sources claimed that Kanu was lured to Ethiopia with the promise of a huge cash donation to the ongoing agitation in the South East.

It is belief that Kanu will disclose the exact location to his lawyers when he is given opportunity to see them.

Who is Nnamdi Kanu?

Nnamdi Okwu Kanu is a Nigerian Biafra political activist, being the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. Kanu founded IPOB in 2014 and wants to create an independent state for the people of the old Eastern Region of Nigeria through an independent referendum.

He began his activism for the freedom of Biafra as a Radio Biafra director and anchor of Biafra awareness under Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), who said while in a meeting in Kaduna, Nigeria on June 12, 2014, that he handed over Radio Biafra to Nnamdi Kanu but Kanu disappointed him.

Until 2009 when he started Radio Biafra, a station that called for an independent state for the Igbo people and broadcast to Nigeria from London, Kanu was a relatively obscure figure.

He would later run into trouble with the Nigerian government and was first arraigned over allegations of terrorism, money laundering, treason, others, on October 14, 2015. He was later granted bail in 2017 but on March 28, 2019, his bail condition was revoked.

Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a lawyer for IPOB, called on the government to guarantee Kanu’s safety.

“We insist that he must be given a fair hearing/trial which is his constitutionally protected right,” Ejiofor said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Southeast Nigeria has seen a recent surge in attacks, with around 130 police and security officials killed and around 20 police stations attacked this year, according to local media tallies.

Election offices have also been attacked.

IPOB, which agitates for a separate Igbo state, has denied being behind the violence, accusing the government of a smear campaign.