IPOB: What Nnamdi Kanu said about being a member of the proscribed group

The Nnamdi Kanu case is one that will not end anytime soon. Nigeria is a country where cases like this drag for years and are soon forgotten before another dramatic judgment is made.

A High Court in Umuahia, Abia Wednesday, January 19, 2021, ordered Nigeria’s Federal Government to pay the sum of ₦1 billion to Nnamdi Kanu, for violating the rights of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Judge Benson Anya described the invasion of Kanu’s Afaraukwu residence as notorious and brazen. He also ordered the Federal Government to issue a public apology to the IPOB leader in three national dailies and advised that a political resolution be adopted in resolving Kanu’s case.

Kanu in a suit filed through his counsel, Aloy Ejimakorm accused the government and Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) of allegedly violating his fundamental human rights. DSS director-general was also joint in the suit.

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Other respondents include the Federal Government of Nigeria (first), chief of army staff (third), inspector-general of police (fifth), and three others.

In another development, Shuaibu Labaran, counsel to the federal government, said Nnamdi Kanu – re-arraigned Wednesday on a 15-count charge of a treasonable felony – denied being a member of the proscribed group.

He said, “One of the charges suggesting that the defendant, Nnamdi Kanu is a member of IPOB and he vehemently denied being a member of IPOB.”

That is very curious and we urge Nigerians to see us through how we are going to prove all those charges against the defendant in no time to come.”

But Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, rebutted that, saying the leader of IPOB never denied being the leader of the Igbo nationalist organisation while taking his plea at a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to the lawyer, the clarification became necessary because of what he described as “deliberate misrepresentation/falsehood and wrong narratives being perpetuated by some mischief makers” and gaining prominence in social media.

Ejiofor said this in a statement on Thursday titled, “Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never denied being the leader of IPOB – Let the records be set straight”, saying “…I shall resist every mischievous ploy being adopted to misinform the unsuspecting members of the public who were not privy to the details of the proceedings in court yesterday, with a wrong and mischievous interpretation of the purport of the plea taken by our indefatigable client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

For the records, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu never denied being the leader of IPOB while taking his plea, but only stoutly denied the fact that IPOB is a terrorist organisation and that being its leader is an offense, which position is well informed.

Shuaibu Labaran is a lawyer contracted to prosecute the defendant, Nnamdi Kanu, while Ifeanyi Ejiofor is the Defense Attorney and will both defend their clients when there is misinformation flying around. But, this is the truth.

IPOB is a proscribed organisation and admittance of association is the same as admitting to lead a terror group. When he agrees that he leads a terror group, Ifeanyi may have to swim in the snow to defend him.

IPOB, for its unlawful activities, was in 2017, pronounced as a terrorist organisation by the then Nigerian army’s Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, after a reported clash between military personnel and IPOB members in Umuahia, Abia. Maj.-Gen. Enenche gave reasons for pronouncing IPOB a terrorist organisation to include that, IPOB members used “stones, machetes and broken bottles, among others on a military patrol on Sept. 10, 2017.” A development then Senate President, Bukola Saraki condemned.

The group, IPOB, and other concerned Nigerians also condemned the proscription, and asked the federal government to reverse it, citing bandits and killer herdsmen who maim and kill people every other day. All of that fell on deaf ears. And now, there are reports over 1,400 people have been killed in Southeast Nigeria under 14 months.

It may look like Nnamdi Kanu is shying away from the bravery he displayed before his arrest, but he is simply telling the federal government that IPOB should not be called a terrorist organisation. Though, this is a tricky case for the IPOB leader.

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