Recently, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) beamed searchlight on the criminal charges preferred against the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and why he would remain in detention.
The British-Nigerian Nnamdi Mazi Kanu became ensnared in the claws of the Federal Government of Nigeria when he founded the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group and an advocate of an independent state of Biafra in 2012. According to sources, IPOB’s grouses are political alienation, inequitable resource distribution and ethic marginalisation. Kanu the self-acclaimed arrowhead of IPOB, has been in murky waters for allegedly masterminding violent acts resulting in loss of lives and destruction of properties, particularly in the south-east region of Nigeria. And because of his alleged subversive campaign against the Nigeria State, Kanu was arrested on October 14, 2015 and charged to court for treasonable felony, among other crimes. Kanu was granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja on April 25, 2017, but he breached the bail conditions and fled overseas. And while on self-exile, Kanu reportedly intensified his subversive campaign through online Radio Biafra to instigate violence and incite members of IPOB to commit violent attacks against civil and domestic institutions, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and civilians. He instigated the destruction of public and private properties across the country, according to sources. Kanu, who is facing 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, was rearrested, extradited and re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. And since his re-arrest and incarceration, the spate of violence and killings in the south-east region, particularly, has escalated even as the group’s protests against Kanu’s continued detention has culminated in the imposition of ‘sit-at-home’ order by IPOB on the people of the region.
On Friday, October 22, 2021 the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, at a press conference entitled ‘Investigative Reports on Acts of Terrorism and Allied Offences Perpetrated by Nnamdi Kanu and Reports on the Sponsors and Financiers of Sunday Igboho and Associates’, highlighted Kanu’s subversive activities.
According to Malami, perpetration of subversive activities by IPOB, led to Kanu’s arrest and the proscription and designation of IPOB as a terrorist organisation by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja in an order made on September 20, 2017.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, however, noted that the proscription order did not deter the outlawed organisation from engaging in subversive campaigns, instigating and making broadcasts to direct members of IPOB to launch attack on government.
Malami revealed that the ENDSARS protests 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, according to Malami, members of IPOB attacked and killed security personnel and burnt down police stations, correctional centres, INEC offices, bus terminals, the Palace of the Oba of Lagos, banks, hospitals, shopping malls and vehicles, among others.
Malami disclosed to newsmen that on December 12, 2020 the Eastern Security Network (ESN) was formed by Kanu as an armed wing of IPOB, with the mandate to advance the nefarious agenda of the outlawed group. Also, Malami said ESN continued to launch attacks on security personnel, civilians perceived as enemies as well as destruction of private and public properties, and that the destructive activities of ESN and IPOB posed threat to Nigeria’s national security and its corporate existence, which he said resulted in the arrest of Kanu and members of his group.
The eventual re-arrest of Kanu and some members of his group in June 2021, according to Malami, led to the inauguration of a Presidential Ad Hoc Committee comprising 24 members drawn from the Federal Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Federal Ministry of Information (MoI), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Department of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). The committee was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari and headed by the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
“The committee finds as a fact that consequent upon the instigating directives of Nnamdi Kanu, members of IPOB/ESN carried out massive attacks on democratic institutions, especially INEC facilities, with a view to hampering democratic process in Nigeria. These attacks that were carried out between October 2020 and June 2021 include: (1) That acting on the instigating directives of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB members and ENDSARS protesters attacked and killed many security agents, destroyed several public and private properties, including police stations, public transport buses and other facilities across the country; (ii) That on 21st October, 2020, Nnamdi Kanu through an online call-in radio programme (Radio Biafra), further instigated IPOB members to burn down all police stations and kill government security forces, which was carried out and several security personnel (especially) police officers) were killed and public and private properties destroyed. (iii) One hundred and seventy-five (175) security personnel were killed by IPOB/ESN comprising one hundred and twenty-eight (128) policemen, thirty-seven (37) military personnel and ten (10) other security operatives; (iv) Killing of prominent Nigerians, (recently these were gruesome killings of traditional rulers: Obi 1 of Okwudor autonomous community, Eze E. Anayochukwu Durueburuo and Eze Sampson Osunwa of Ihebineowerre autonomous community as well as the killings of Dr Chike Akunyili and eight others as well as the killing of Alhaji Ahmed Gulak on May 30, 2021); (V) That as a consequence of Nnamdi Kanu’s broadcasts, there were nineteen (19) attacks on INEC facilities that resulted in the destruction of offices as well as burning of eighteen (18) INEC logistics vehicles, several election materials, equipment and ICT gadgets in Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states; (vi) That one hundred and sixty-four (164) police stations and formations, including Police Headquarters, Owerri, Imo State were attacked by IPOB/ESN leading to the death of one hundred and twenty-eight (128) policemen (as stated in three above), one hundred and forty-four (144) injured while six hundred and twenty-eight (628) vehicles were destroyed; (vii) That three hundred and ninety-six firearms and seventeen thousand seven hundred and thirty eight (17,738) ammunition were carted away during the IPOB/ESN attacks; (viii) That there were three (3) IPOB/ESN attacks on Nigerian Correctional Services (NCos), including the Headquarters of NCoS, Owerri, Imo State where one thousand eight hundred and forty-one (1,841) inmates escaped; (ix) That the Headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Umuahia, Abia State was also attacked by IPOB/ESN leading to the death of one(1) officer; (X) That there were several IPOB/ESN attacks and destruction (arson) of public and private properties during the ENDSARS and Biafra agitations across the country, especially in the South-East and South-South regions, notably the Palace of the Oba of Lagos where twelve (12) flats were completely looted and vandalised; the country home of the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, was burnt; over one hundred and fifty (150) buses burnt at the Lagos Bus Terminal, Senator Ndoma Egba’s home in Calabar Municipal, Cross River State, was completely looted and vandalised; Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, City Hall Race Course, First Bank branch, Lagos, Lagos State Public Works Commission, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Marina Lagos, High Court Igbosere, Lagos were all burnt, among other heinous crimes committed by IPOB/ESN,” Malami said.
The attorney-general and minister of justice disclosed that Kanu had accomplices in Nigeria and abroad, including individuals and groups that were aiding and facilitating his campaign against the people and state of Nigeria. He said some of the actors aided Kanu even as a fugitive in his destructive mission, ignoring the territorial nature of his activities. Malami therefore called on these countries to desist from aiding subversive acts by Kanu and IPOB against the state of Nigeria and its people. Malami expressed appreciation to some peace-loving countries that recognise the status of IPOB as a terrorist organisation, and so have banned the activities of IPOB or have placed Kanu on Stop List.