The Federal Government on Thursday said it would go after highly-placed Nigerians and other collaborators of the Independent People of Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who stated this at a press briefing in Abuja, said irrespective of the collaborators’ standing in country, they would all face the full wrath of the law for challenging the nation’s sovereignty.
Mohammed said this as the lead counsel to the IPOB leader, Aloy Ejimakor, in an interview with one of our correspondents, disclosed that he had written the British High Commission, complaining about Kanu’s arrest and extradition.
He also lamented that despite writing the Department of State Services, he had not been allowed access to the IPOB leader.
Kanu, who is facing trial for treasonable felony, jumped bail in 2017 and fled the country for the UK when soldiers stormed his parents’ residence at Afaraukwu, Abia State.
The Minister for Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, however, announced on Tuesday, that he had been rearrested through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services.
The Abia State indigene, who is also a British citizen, was thereafter taken before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, where an application for his remand in DSS custody was granted.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammed, on Thursday, said, “None of Kanu’s collaborators, irrespective of their standing in society will be spared.
“They will all face the full wrath of the law for their activities that challenge our nation’s sovereignty and threaten its unity. No one, no matter how highly placed, is bigger than the country.”
The minister also faulted those calling for fair trial for the IPOB leader, saying he jumped bail when he was granted one.
The minister added, “It is interesting that many are suddenly calling for a fair trial for Kanu as if he didn’t get one before he decided to jump bail and flee.
“However, I can assure you that the fair deal that Kanu denied many of the victims of the violence which he instigated through his broadcasts and tweets will not be denied him.”
Mohammed claimed that Kanu lived a flamboyant lifestyle before he was arrested.
Kanu lived five-star life – Lai Mohammed
“It will interest Nigerians to know that for over two years, our security and intelligence agencies were on the trail of the proscribed IPOB leader as he lived a five-star life across several countries, travelling on chartered private jets, living in luxury apartments and turning out in designing clothes and shoes.
“Of course, as we all saw, he was wearing clothes made by Fendi, a luxury Italian fashion brand, when he was arrested,” the minister said.
He refused to give details of how and where Kanu was re-arrested.
He however admitted that the re-arrest was made possible by the diligent efforts of security and intelligence agencies in collaboration with undisclosed countries.
He described Kanu’s re-arrest as one of the most classic operations in the world.
He added, “There have been speculations on how this re-arrest was pulled off and in which country the hitherto fugitive leader of the proscribed IPOB was nabbed.
“What we can tell you, once again, is that the re-arrest was made possible by the diligent efforts of our security and intelligence agencies, in collaboration with countries with which we have obligations. We continue to respect and honour the obligations.”
IPOB fumes over Uhuru Kenyetta’s role
But IPOB expressed displeasure over the role allegedly played by the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyetta, in what it described as the unlawful arrest of Kanu.
The group, which said its investigations showed that Kenyetta was instrumental to the unlawful arrest of Kanu, observed, “The treacherous action of Uhuru kenyatta against Nnamdi Kanu and Biafrans at large is a clear violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and United Nations Code.”
The secessionist group stated this in a statement signed by its Director of Media and Publicity, a copy of which was made available to The PUNCH, on Thursday.
It stated, “Based on our preliminary findings, President Uhuru Kenyetta was very instrumental to the abduction of our leader in Kenya. The treacherous action of Uhuru Kenyatta against Nnamdi Kanu and Biafrans at large is a clear violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, and United Nations Code.
“As we continue with our investigations into this crime with a view to unmasking all the collaborators, we announce the following interim actions until further notice:
“We call on all Biafrans both home and in the Diaspora to boycott travels with Kenya Air Lines; to immediately stop patronising any product made in Kenya; and to boycott any business dealings with Kenyans. We cannot be relating friendly with anyone collaborating with our oppressors to keep us in perpetual slavery!”
On his part, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, advised the Federal Government to ensure that rule of law and due process was followed in the prosecution of Kanu.
Governor Wike, who made this assertion during an interview on Arise Television on Thursday, explained that irrespective of the differences the arrested IPOB leader had with Rivers State Government, he suggested that due process must be followed in his prosecution.
Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, stated Wike’s position in a statement in Port Harcourt titled, ‘Trial of Nnamdi Kanu must follow due process—Wike’ with a sub-title ‘demands arrest of bandits, Miyetti Allah militias’.
Also on Thursday, there was palpable tension in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
Recall that the military has been in Oyigbo for over eight months since hoodlums burnt down police stations there.
THE PUNCH, who monitored the area, reported said the military base and police stations in Oyigbo lpare were heavily guarded.
It was observed that the number of checkpoints along the Oyigbo road had increased, while sandbags had been placed at the border between Rivers and Abia states to serve as barricades.
Insecurity: Apply same zeal to apprehend killer herders, Ortom advises FG
The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, also spoke on Kau’s arrest and appealed to the Presidency to apply the same zeal and strategy it used to apprehend him to also arrest sponsors of armed herdsmen as well as leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
Speaking at the inauguration of 2021 fertilizer sale in Makurdi, Ortom said that the arrest of sponsors of armed herdsmen and leadership of Miyeiti Alla Kauta Hore would bring the desired peace in the country.
Ortom said that the Presidency would not need to dissipate much energy in the arrest of armed herders since, according to him, the leaders of the Miyetti Allah live in the country.
He stated, “It is regrettable that Kanu who is fighting a just cause could be arrested while leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore are walking about freely.
“Let there be justice and the only way to do this is to arrest the leaders of the herdsmen who have caused so much pain and suffering to our people.
“Let me say that if Federal Government could deploy so much zeal to arrest Nnamdi Kanu they should also be able to apply same in arresting the herdsmen, especially, the leadership of Miyeiti Alla Kauta Hore who live with us in the country.”
1,000 arrests won’t stop agitations – Mbaka
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria, Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka, said arrest of 1,000 people would not stop agitations.
Mbaka spoke on Wednesday during his weekly ministration ‘E No Dey Again’, told the worshippers that some state governors had lured the IPOB leader into the hands of his traducers.
While blessing inmates and correctional centres across the country, Mbaka’s countenance suddenly changed and he said, “Don’t sell your sons and daughters because of a political promise that you are not even sure will materialise tomorrow.
“Don’t sell your son because you are governors today! Live and let live.
“Let the leaders listen. The solution is not in arrest and handcuff, the solution is in job creation! Leaders beware! Their stubbornness will collapse this country one day! If care is not taken, will happen like an earthquake!
“Even if you arrest 100 people, it will not stop the agitation. If anything, it will worsen the situation,” he warned.
It was not clear which governor or governors that the priest was referring to, but it appeared that South-East governors were not unconnected with Mbaka’s vituperations.
Mbaka stated, “Many people are clapping for them (the Federal Government) now, but when the heat becomes unbearable; when the sun riots, when heavens shake you will understand.
“When they killed Jesus Christ and put him in the prison-grave – Jesus’ prison was in the grave – they thought it was all over for Him, that the end had come.
“Whoever that you have in heart now that is in the prison, may the Lord be with that person. May the Lord show such a person mercy. May the Lord show him favour, even from the prison warders that would be protecting him,” he noted.
Mbaka also took a swipe at the Federal Government over what he called, worsening poverty, hunger and insecurity in the country, and charged the present regime and leaders at all levels to act fast and address the country’s challenges before it was too late.
Meanwhile, a former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, H Stella Odife has called on the Federal Government to stop using force in resolving national issues, noting that re-arresting the leader of IPOB would not solve the problems in Nigeria.
Odife, who spoke during the inauguration of South-East Peace Counsellors by the Advocates for Global Peace Forum International, said that there could not be peace in Nigeria without first dealing with underlining issues.
While calling on the Federal Government to listen to the agitation of youths, Odife disclosed that the agitation was as a result of poor governance, militarisation and marginalisation of the zone by the regime led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
“We cannot talk of peace in the South-East without thinking of Nigeria as a whole because the major problem we have down here is as a result of activities at the national level.”
Ejiofor, lead counsel to the detained IPOB leader, on Thursday, said two days after he wrote the DSS, he had yet to be allowed access to Kanu.
Ejiofor accused the DSS of having an agenda as it had not responded to the letter he wrote to the DSS to enable him to see his client.
He also said that he had copied the letter to the court.
In a telephone conversation with our correspondent, he said, “They are working in collaboration with the court. That was why they took him to the court without my knowledge. Otherwise, what stopped them from calling me and letting me know the matter coming up on Tuesday.
“Now I had to write application to the DSS to allow me to see him and up till now they have not responded. So there is a conspiracy between the Federal Government and the court to kill him.”
I’ve been denied access to Kanu since arrest, says lawyer
The lawyer, however, said the British High Commission was already looking into the case after he wrote a letter on the matter.
Kanu’s lawyer said he filed a formal request with the DSS for counsel visitation, adding that he did not get any response.
“And that’s not fair. It’s even straining on being unlawful as a detainee has a constitutional right to have prompt access to his counsel.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), I wrote a formal letter to the British High Commission on this matter and I am happy to say that it is receiving prompt and favourable consideration.
“In my view, the manner of his interdiction and forcible deportation to Nigeria is profoundly extra-legal and does not conform to international laws and treaties to which Nigeria is signatory. Kanu is not a common criminal, but a political prisoner or a prisoner of conscience. As such, the next engagements will not only be legal but political and diplomatic, especially given the fact he is a British citizen who was unlawfully renditioned and brought to Nigeria against his will and the will of the British authorities,” he added.