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QUESTION: Will FG go after Nnamdi Kanu now that his location is known?

October 20
11:50 2018

Until Friday, the news in town was that Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was missing — some even said he had been killed. But in a video posted on social media, Kanu was seen in Israel observing spiritual rites. The leadership of IPOB and Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer, have confirmed the authenticity of the video, saying Kanu will address his supporters within 24 hours. 

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Kanu was out of the public glare after the military raided his Abia residence on September 17, 2017. Emmanuel, his younger brother, had said he might have been killed, asking the military to produce his corpse. While his supporters mounted pressure on the government to produce him dead or alive, his opponents said the IPOB leader decided to go underground.

In February, TheCable had reported how Kanu escaped to Ghana, following the siege laid to his residence. Security sources had informed TheCable that Kanu was ferried to the Niger Delta creeks by militants at the height of Python Dance II. From there,he found his way to Ghana by sea, where he was spotted on several occasions alongside his wife.

But his appearance has raised more questions than answers; what has he been up to since disappearing? What will happen to his court trial? Will the federal government ask any country hosting him to extradite him to face treasonable trial? How will he lead IPOB which has been tagged a terrorist group? And most importantly, does this mean the resurgence of IPOB agitations for an independent state of Biafra?

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HOW KANU ALMOST LANDED HIS SURTIES IN TROUBLE

A lot of things happened during Kanu’s absence. Enyinnaya Abaribe, senator representing Abia north; Emmanuel El-Shalom, a Jewish high priest; and Tochukwu Uchendu, a chartered accountant, who stood as sureties for the IPOB leader when he was granted bail after spending 18 months in prison almost landed in trouble.

The senator had asked the court to revoke the undertaken he took on behalf of Kanu but the court failed to grant his wish. On June 12, he was picked by the Department of State Services (DSS) after failing to account for the IPOB leader. He was arraigned after spending four days in DSS custody. Before then, the federal high court in Abuja where Kanu is facing trial had already threatened to send him to prison if he failed to produce Kanu.

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It’s possible that the lawmaker is a bit relieved now that Kanu has resurfaced but does that mean he is off the hook?Kanu’s trial was stalled following his continued absence in court. At some point, the federal government had to separate his case from that of the other co-accused, filing fresh charges against them but with his appearance, is the secret police going to get to arrest him? To do that, however, they would have to put him on global watch list, soliciting the help of international police (INTERPOL) — unless Kanu returns to country (which is not likely).

IPOB ON THE MOVE AGAIN?

Kanu’s disappearance saw IPOB agitations and their activities declining. Protests by the group reduced and their threats to everything Nigeria subsided.

Although the group was at the time declared a terrorist organisation and banned as well, there is no doubt the absence of Kanu affected IPOB members. Whether they would regroup to push their agenda forward or remain on the low is still not clear but judging from their reactions to Kanu’s appearance, the group might be on the move again.

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