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MUST-READ: 26 True Facts About Nnamdi Kanu

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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday, announced the re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Southeast secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB at a joint press briefing with the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali.

The Federal High Court Abuja has ordered that he be remanded in a facility of the Department of State Security pending the determination of his trial. The matter has been adjourned till 26 July.

     Here are 26 facts about the IPOB leader.

1. Nnamdi Okwu Kanu was born on 25 September 1967, the year the Nigerian civil war started.

2. He is a Nigerian/British citizen with both Nigerian and British passports.

3. He was born in Isiama Afara Ukwu, Umuahia, Abia State.

4. His father, Eze Israel Okwu Kanu (JP) was the Isiama Afaraukwu of Okwulagba  Afaraukwu community in Umuahia, Abia State.

5. His father died in December 2019 at 86.

6. His Mother Ugoeze Nnenne Kanu died in August 2019.

7. The death of both parents have been attributed to the invasion of his family compound by Nigerian soldiers, though that has not been verified.

8. He attended Library Avenue Primary School and had his secondary education at Government College Umuahia.

9. He studied at University of Nigeria, Nsukka but relocated to the United Kingdom before graduating.

10. He began his activism as Director, Radio Biafra and was in charge of publicity for Biafra under Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), who said while in a meeting in Kaduna, Nigeria on June 12, 2014, that he handed over Radio Biafra to Kanu, leader of IPOB but he (Kanu) disappointed him.

11. He was a relatively unknown figure until 2009 when he started Radio Biafra.

12. On 5 September 2015, he was the guest speaker at the World Igbo Congress, which held in Los Angeles, United States where he said, “we need guns and we need bullets.”

13. In an interview he granted Newsweek, Kanu said he believes in the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, “I hope that what we are looking for can be accomplished peacefully. I am an advocate of passive resistance. Gandhi and Martin Luther King tried it to very good effects, so why should it not work in our case?”

14. On 18 October 2015, it was reported he was arrested in Lagos State by the Department of State Services (DSS) at the Golden Tulip Airport Hotel Ikeja, Lagos where he allegedly checked into using a fictitious name, Ezebuiro Nwannekaenyi.       .

15. However, Kanu had told his solicitors that he was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS), in his hotel room on 14 October 2015.

16. On 19 October 2015, it was reported that he had been granted bail after a secret arraignment at Magistrate Court, Wuse 11. But that was controversial as there were claims the DSS announced the bail to calm his supporters

17. The Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Abuja on 18 November 2015 ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to produce Kanu at the court on 23 November 2015.

18.  Kanu’s lawyer, Vincent Obetta, in an interview said whilst in court, the prosecutor gave him a document containing a court order permitting the Department of State Services (DSS) to detain Kanu for the next three months to “conclude what they said was an investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing”.

19. He was arraigned before the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court, Abuja on 23 November 2015.

20. Kanu’s supporters stormed Abuja in luxury buses protesting against the arrest and arraignment of their leader

21. The protesters, carrying placards sang and danced outside the court premises whilst the hearing proceeded. Protesters wore T-shirts and caps with inscriptions like “Biafra Now or Never”, “Buhari Release Kanu For Us”, “On Biafra We Stand”. More protests by IPOB members numbering over 15,000 grounded vehicular movements in the South-eastern key economic city of Onitsha concurrently. It was the same with over 20,000 protesters in Aba, Abia State on the same day.

22. He remained in DSS custody despite being granted bail on several occasions till 28 April 2017.

23. Justice Binta Nyako, while granting him bail gave him several conditions, among which was he must not grant interviews and must not be in a crowd of more than 10 people.

24. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Tochukwu Uchendu and Emmanuel Shallom Ben signed as sureties to grant him bail.

25. Not being seen in public for over a year, there was wide-ranging speculation regarding his whereabouts, with IPOB members accusing the federal government of having abducted him. However, in October 2018, photographs and videos, showing he was in Israel, were widely circulated on social media. This was later confirmed by mainstream media.

26. Sometime in 2017, a video of Kanu was released in which wherein he issued an open death threat to former Nigerian president Chief Obasanjo. He had told a gathering of supporters at his home that if any harm befell him, IPOB members should eliminate Obasanjo and his lineage. This was in reference to Obasanjo’s statement at a gathering in Abuja that everything must be done to Stop IPOB.

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