Desist from backing Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB, Nigerian govt warns foreign nations


Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu

The Nigerian government Friday called on foreign nations allegedly supporting Nnamdi Kanu, and his proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to desist.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, said such nations were supporting the “subversive” activities of Mr Kanu, and IPOB, despite the designation of the group as a terrorist organisation in Nigeria.

Mr Malami addressed journalists at his office in Abuja barely 24 hours after Mr Kanu was, on Thursday, produced from custody for re-arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja on seven charges related to treasonable felony and terrorism.

His address centred on the report of investigations carried out by a 24-member Presidential Ad-hoc Committee, inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, following Mr Kanu’s rearrest outside Nigeria in June.

The committee led by Mr Malami linked various “destructive activities” including killings of prominent persons and 175 security agents, destruction of about 164 police stations and formations, among other violent crimes to IPOB and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
“The destructive activities of IPOB/ESN pose serious threat to Nigeria’s national security and its corporate existence, which resulted into re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu and members of his group,” Mr Malami said.
“We have also established that Kanu is not alone in his subversive activities.

“He has accomplices in Nigeria and abroad, individuals and groups as well as state and non-state actors who are aiding and facilitating his campaign against the people and state of Nigeria.

“Some of the state actors aided Kanu, even as a fugitive, in his destructive mission, ignoring the terrorist nature of his activities.

“We call on these countries to desist from aiding subversive acts by KANU and IPOB against the state of Nigeria and its people.”

The official did not name the countries he was referring to.

But the United Kingdom and the United States of America are among notable nations that have resisted calls by the Nigerian government to designate IPOB as a terrorist organisation since it was proscribed in Nigeria in September 2017.

‘Friendly nations’
Mr Malami also said there are “friendly” nations that have either banned the activities of IPOB or placed Mr Kanu on ‘Stop List’.

“Conversely, there are some friendly countries which, recognising the status of IPOB as a terrorist organisation, have either banned the activities of IPOB or placed Kanu on Stop List.

“To these peace-loving countries that have put Kanu on their Stop Lists and banned IPOB from operating in their territories, we express our appreciation,” Mr Malami said.

Kanu, IPOB
Mr Kanu was first arrested in October 2015 regarding his separatist activities using IPOB to galvanise an agitation for the carving out of the Igbo-dominated South-east region and part of the South-south as an independent Republic of Biafra.

He was charged with treasonable felony before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Mr Kanu, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country in September of the same year – a development that coincided with the invasion of his home by soldiers in Afara-Ukwu near Umuahia in Abia State.

In that same month, the Nigerian government designated IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

Both the UK and the U.S. have resisted calls by the Nigerian government designate IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

The Nigerian government has, on a number of occasions, fumed over the ‘soft spot’ the UK allegedly has for Mr Kanu, who has dual citizenship in the UK and Nigeria.

Mr Malami said on Friday that despite the proscription of IPOB “Nnamdi Kanu continued the subversive campaign, instigating and inciting broadcasts to direct members of the IPOB to launch attacks on government.”

He added that the #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests of October 2020 “played into the sinister plans of Nnamdi Kanu, whereby he seized the protests through subversive and inciting online broadcasts and actively commanded and directed attacks on security personnel and facilities.”

“As a result of these broadcasts, members of IPOB attacked and killed security personnel and burnt down police stations, correctional centers, INEC offices, bus terminals, the Palace of Oba of Lagos, banks, hospitals, shopping malls and vehicles, amongst others.”

In June, Mr Malami announced the re-arrest of Mr Kanu, without disclosing how and where.

He did not give the details in his address on Friday.

Mr Kanu who was remanded in the custody of the State Security Service (SSS) was re-arraigned on seven counts of terrorism and treasonable felony.

He pleaded not guilty and proceedings were adjourned till November.

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