From Yusuf Alli, Abuja, The Nation
Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was arrested abroad and brought back to Abuja on Sunday in an “unconventional way”, it was learnt last night.
The arrest was planned and executed by the Nigerian Security and Intelligence agencies. It was coordinated by the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA).
It was gathered that the NIA, which is the external arm of Nigeria’s security intelligence, lured the separatist campaigner from his base in London to another country from where he was “intercepted” and whisked to Abuja in a chattered jet. Sources gave confliciting names of country where he was arrested.
Kanu’s arrest and repatriation, it was further learnt, jolted the foreign mission in Nigeria because it came to them as a shock.
They did not have an inkling into the plan.
The diplomatic missions had to be making frantic enquiries to enable them get the full information on the covert arrest and repatriation.
A source said: “The security agencies got intelligence report that Kanu was out of London and they quickly activated the arrest plan. The whole process was unconventional. He was with a woman in a hotel when he was picked up and brought to Nigeria.
“Intelligence agencies had trailed him to Britain and Germany (where his brother lives) but they could not get him until he jetted out to a South American country. He had scheduled a rendezvous in a hotel with a woman.
“All I can tell you is that he was “picked up” and brought to face justice. This is why the government has repeatedly claimed that Kanu was intercepted. No envoy of Nigeria participated in the operation.
“The unconventional method was realisable because Kanu has been watch-listed by the Federal Government through the International Police (INTERPOL) having jumped bail.”
When our correspondent checked INTERPOL Red Notices last night, Kanu was not listed in relation to any offence.
The source linked Kanu’s arrest and repatriation to the Umaru Dikko’s case in 1984 “except that this was a breakthrough for our intelligence agencies.”
Dikko was Minister of Transport in the Second Republic. The military government that sacked President Shehu Shagari’s government attempted to bring Dikko back from London in a crate. The plan failed.
Another source said Kanu broke down when he woke up and realized that he was in Nigeria.
“He cried intermittently when he got to know that the game was up. He was however consoled by security agents who asked him to cooperate.
“A few top government officials, who had restricted access to him, said he was begging for forgiveness.”
It was gathered that the British Embassy may offer Kanu consular assistance if requested.
It was gathered that such consular service is a standard practice.
The source said: “The British Embassy’s approach to consular assistance for all British Nationals is clear and publicly available.
“For any British national, the embassy is ready to provide consular support if requested. The embassy cannot comment on any specific case at this point.”
Kanu was yesterday taken before justice Binta Murtala Nyako for his trial to resume. He told the Judge that he fled the country to avoid being killed.
‘It was collective effort’
Explaining Kanu’s arrest at a news conference yesterday, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), said: “Kanu was arrested through the collective efforts of security agencies.
Malami said the IPOB chief was arrested on Sunday.
The AGF added: “Self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has been arrested through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services.
“He has been brought back to Nigeria in order to continue facing trial after disappearing while on bail regarding 11 count charge against him.
“Recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday the 27th day of June, 2021.
“Nwannekaenyi Nnamdi Ngozichukwu Okwu-Kanu, born 25th day of September, 1967 at Afaraukwu, Abia State is a holder of Nigerian passport No. A05136827 first issued 17th October 2013 at FESTAC, Lagos.
“It is recalled that Kanu was arrested on 14th October, 2015 and later arraigned on 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.
“A judge at the Federal High Court, Abuja revoked Kanu’s bail that was granted him on health ground and issued a bench warrant for his arrest on the same date, over his failure to appear in court for hearing.
“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions.
“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, paramilitary, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”d