After over three years of fireworks; to put it mildly, the Federal Government eventually got their hands on the self-proclaimed supreme leader of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The news was reported on Tuesday, June 29th as Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) addressed journalists in Abuja after the arrest and extradition of the IPOB Leader.
According to Malami:
“The self acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist 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.
“It is recalled that Kanu was arrested on 14th October, 2015 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,” Malami added.
Nnamdi Kanu had jumped bail and escaped to the United Kingdom where he was believed to have been arrested on Sunday, June 27th.
For Kanu to have appeared in court on Tuesday, it means that the British government would have been involved and such process of handing over a fugitive to a country where he has been convicted of a crime is known as extradition. The process of Kanu’s extradition appears incredibly swift as extradition processes are expected to take months, sometimes years due to the technicalities involved.
According to the UK’s guidelines on extradition processes, with Nigeria recognised as a “category 2 territory,” the following steps must be followed:
- extradition request is made to the Secretary of State
- Secretary of State decides whether to certify the request
- judge decides whether to issue a warrant for arrest
- the person wanted is arrested and brought before the court
- preliminary hearing
- extradition hearing
- Secretary of State decides whether to order extradition.
Going by Malami‘s claim that the IPOB leader was arrested on Sunday, June 27th, it will then be difficult to say that the due extradition processes were followed, given that Nnamdi appeared in Abuja just two days after.
This would indicate that the Federal Government went to extreme lengths to get Kanu back to Nigeria.
And for such an (un)popular purveyor of hate speech, the Federal Government deserves some credit for apprehending someone who has consistently shown intense hatred and disgust for the government and its apparatuses, not minding the consequences of his words.
Kanu had repeatedly called for his followers to pick up arms against the Nigerian state while threatening to stop elections in the South East.
Long before #TwitterBan, Facebook had removed Kanu’s account on the grounds of hate speech and coordination of harm.
Despite his alleged crimes, many have rightly called for a fair trial of the IPOB overseer without the stain of human rights abuse on the case and an unnecessary glorification of a fugitive.
Meanwhile, locally based bandits, if not terrorists, continue to kidnap secondary school students in droves while millions of Nigerian lives continue to risk being abducted by plying Nigerian roads. However, none of the bandits have been apprehended with Nigerians appearing to conclude that it could only take a State-backed group to wreak much terror on the country.
Popular cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has continued to gained traction because of his unofficial role as the spokesman of bandits and it brings to wonder if the Nigerian government could be so swift and decisive in just a matter of days with Kanu but continues to appeal to bandits to stop their rampage.
This Nnamdi Kanu saga, even as it remains to be seen how his foot soldiers will react, has suggested to Nigerians that the government could be decisive when it wants to and they will hope that such energy is therefore applied to the issue of insecurity.
Kola Muhammed has imprint across local and international media. He is passionate about trends in the domains of culture, communication and technology.