The Federal Government on Tuesday presented the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Dressed in black tracksuit, Kanu was brought into the courtroom at about 1.30pm by men of the Department of State Services (DSS). He was masked, with chains on his hands and legs.
The mask and chains were later removed shortly before the commencement of court proceedings, revealing Kanu’s face. Spotting a grey goatee, Kanu looked healthy and unruffled.
At the commencement of proceedings, state’s lawyer, Shuaibu Labaran (from the Federal Ministry of Justice) recalled that Kanu had been standing trial before the court until April 25, 2017 when he was granted bail.
“The defendant did not only jump bail, he flagrantly disregarded all the conditions given by the court. He was only rearrested by security agents, who acted on intelligence,” Labaran said, and proceeded to apply ex-parte for the court’s order for Kanu’s remand in DSS’ custody.
He also prayed the court to accelerate hearing in the case to enable the state presents its case on time.
Labaran was silent on where and how Kanu was arrested.
Justice Binta Nyako, in a ruling, ordered that Kanu be remanded in the custody of the DSS.
Justice Nyako granted accelerated hearing brought back the resumption of proceedings in the case from the earlier adjourned date of October 20 to July 26 and 27.
Shortly after the judge’s ruling, Kanu sought the court’s permission to speak and was allowed.
Kanu blamed his absence in court on the invasion of his house by security operatives, which informed why he had to go underground to avoid being killed.
“My lord, my house was invaded and people were killed. I would have been killed too if I had not hid myself.
“That was why I have been unable to attend court. I would have been killed the way others were killed when my house was invaded,” Kanu said, adding that his absence was not deliberate.
Justice Nyako told him that his lawyer had raised the issue of the invasion of his residence in subsequent proceedings before the court.
The judge advised him to get in touch with his lawyer to brief him on what has happened in the case since he has been away.
At the conclusion of the proceedings, security agents discreetly moved Kanu out of the courtroom through a back channel, into their waiting vehicle, stationed behind the court premises.
Earlier at a press conference, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami disclosed that Kanu was arrested through the collective efforts of security agencies.
Malami said the IPOB chief was arrested on Sunday June 27, 2021, adding that he would be returned to court to continue with his trial.
The AGF said: “Self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed secessionist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has been through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services.
“He has been brought back to Nigeria in order to continue facing trial after disappearing while on bail regarding 11 count charges against him.
“Recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday the 27th day of June, 2021.
“Nwannekaenyi Nnamdi Ngozichukwu Okwu-Kanu, born 25th day of September, 1967 at Afaraukwu, Abia State is a holder of Nigerian passport No. A05136827 first issued 17th October 2013 at FESTAC, Lagos.
“It is recalled that Kanu was arrested on 14th October, 2015 and later arraigned on 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.
“A judge at the Federal High Court, Abuja revoked Kanu’s bail that was granted him on health ground and issued a bench warrant for his arrest on the same date, over his failure to appear in court for hearing.
“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions.
“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”