The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has said the rearrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was in accordance with the legal process.
The Special Assistant to the Minister on Media and Public Relations, Jibrilu Gwandu, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, stated that the IPOB leader was represented by a lawyer throughout the judicial process that led to the grant of his earlier bail.
Kanu, who is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, jumped bail in 2017 and left the country, only to re-emerge in Israel and then in the United Kingdom.
The former London estate agent was rearrested on Tuesday. He was initially arrested in late 2015 after calling for a separate state for Biafra, in South-East Nigeria.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned till July 26 and July 27.
Gwandu told Sunday PUNCH, “Bench warrant was lawfully and judiciously procured through judicial process by a competent court of law, whose bail conditions he breached with impunity.
“He (Nnamdi Kanu) has been represented by a counsel all through the judicial process and was never denied a right of choice of counsel or recourse to one, even when he symbolises a proscribed association (IPOB) in law and, in fact, his association has been legally proscribed.
“So, there was no illegality in the entire process.”
Gwandu also told one of our correspondents that although the Office of the AGF had a meeting with the British High Commissioner on Thursday, the IPOB leader’s rearrest was not discussed.
“The legality or otherwise of Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest was not discussed in the meeting. I sent you a press release on the issues that were discussed. The meeting was scheduled long before the arrest,” he said.
The PUNCH earlier reported that the United Kingdom said it would seek clarification from the Federal Government on the circumstances and legality of Kanu’s rearrest.
The Head of Communications, British High Commission, Mr Dean Hurlock, had stated this while responding to enquiries from one of our correspondents on Wednesday.
The Office of the AGF, in a statement on Thursday, also stated that the AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had a meeting with British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, adding that the issues discussed were the Electoral Act amendment, Petroleum Industry Bill, and Twitter ban.
The Federal Government explained that security and intelligence agencies were on the trail of Kanu for over two years before he was rearrested, saying the head of the outlawed IPOB movement was detained again on Sunday – without giving details on the location of his arrest.
Kanu’s detention in 2015 had sparked mass protests and clashes with security services.
IPOB, which agitates for a separate Igbo state, has denied being behind the violence, accusing the government of a smear campaign. Election offices have also been attacked by suspected members of the group.