The arrest of the supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu which was announced yesterday the 29th of June, 2021 by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has been followed by several reactions from both Nigerians and the international community.
It was gathered that Kanu was arrested by a combined team of Nigeria and foreign agents in a coordinated interception on Sunday, 27th of June, 2021.
The Coalition of Northern Groups in a statement by its Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suileman had commended the Federal government and other agencies for the arrest of the Ipob leader but expressed its concerns saying his apprehension would not end the agitation of Biafrans.
The statement read in part;
“We commend the effort of the federal government and the agencies that made this possible particularly the International Police and authorities of the United Kingdom for honouring their obligations with Nigeria.
“Nobody should make the mistake of assuming that the arrest is anywhere near the end of the Biafran affair. We stand our ground that a referendum must be held to determine this and all other agitations for self-determination from any part of the country.”
The British High Commission has also reacted to the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu through its spokesperson, Dean Hurlock, stating to newsmen that they can only confirm Kanu’s arrest didn’t occur in the United Kingdom where he was based.
“We can confirm that Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested in the UK for extradition purposes.”
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has however described Kanu as a terrorist, rebel, and enemy of the Nigerian state, adding that the Nigerian Government should not waste time on his trial.
“He is a terrorist. He’s an enemy of the state. Is he not a terrorist? How are open grazing and Nnamdi Kanu related? Is there a relationship between a terrorist attacking government institutions and open grazing in the South-East? IPOB is a proscribed organization.
A terrorist always has a mission to terrorize people. How can someone be defending his territories inside a sovereign state? Is that not a rebel? And, a rebel is an enemy of the state. The state should apply maximum force on him. They should not waste time with long trials. They should prosecute him for the killing of policemen, killing of innocent people, and destroying means of livelihood.
That they have arrested him is a good development for the country but they should not waste time about his trial. He is a terrorist.”
Also, the Ohaneze Ndigbo in a statement by the Secretary-general Okechukwu Isiguzoro had expressed its joy and relief over the arrest stating that Kanu’s present ordeal was a result of his refusal to heed advice and warning from the Igbo-elders.
They however urged the Federal government to tread with caution to prevent destabilization that may result in extra-judicial acts.
The statement reads;
“The re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu the leader of IPOB is the beginning of the end of violent agitations in southeastern Nigeria and a lesson to others that, deviation from the nonviolent agitations and wasting of the innocent blood of the Igbo youths contradicted what Igbos are known for, and self-determination should not be used for purposes of fortune and fame-seeking.
The federal government should handle the situation carefully because his large followers of Ipob wouldn’t resort to violent revolts, his trial should be strictly based on the laws of the land, they shouldn’t kill him because it will destabilize the entire country.”
Also reacting to the incident, the Former Minister Of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has warned the Federal government not to allow the leader of IPOB to die in their custody, stating that he should be treated with decency, decorum, and respect.
“It is no longer news that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been arrested and detained.
“I advise the Federal Government to ensure that he does not die in custody and that he is treated with decency, decorum, and respect.”
Deji Adeyanju, a Human Rights Activist, in a tweet on Wednesday, had disclosed that the Federal government used a politician Kanu trusted to lure him.
“Kanu was not arrested in the UK. Someone high up in the Govt told me they used a guy, a politician Kanu trusted, to deceive him to come for peace talks and arrested him in one of the African countries. You will recall that Buhari even made comments that IPOB should give peace a chance.”
He further urged the Federal government to also use the same energy in arresting ‘real terrorists terrorizing the country.”
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s rights must be respected at all times. The Buhari Govt should go and arrest the real terrorist terrorizing our country and their sympathizers in and out of Govt.
The Pantami and Gumis of this world.”
A Presidential Media Aide, Bashir Ahmad had on Tuesday, 29th of June, 2021 said the head of the proscribed group was known to instigate violence which has claimed the lives of many persons and destruction of public properties.
In a counter-reaction, IPOB Spokesperson, Emma Powerful, who had accused the federal government of kidnapping their leader stated that the group would not relent in the pursuit of Biafran freedom, adding that the government would be held responsible should “anything untoward happen to our leader”.
“IPOB will not relent in the pursuit of Biafra freedom. We have crossed the Rubicon in our struggle for the restoration of Biafran Sovereignty. There is no going back no matter the level of intimidation by our oppressors.
Our leader can never be coerced into abandoning the struggle for Biafra restoration irrespective of the circumstance. At this very challenging moment in the history of our march to freedom, all IPOB family members must stand firm and resolute behind our selfless leader. We stand by him and the God of Heavens in whom we trust and rest our confidence shall not let us down. We shall triumph!
We remind the Nigerian government and her security agencies that our Leader deserves justice and a fair hearing. We also want to state unequivocally, that no harm should befall our leader. Should anything untoward happen to him, Nigeria Government will be held accountable for it.
We are watching closely and all our intelligence units are following up on the developments. The international community should not be quiet over the atrocities of the Nigeria Government against Biafrans. They must rise in defense of justice now.”