ENUGU — The Igbo Elders have condemned the new arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, a group which advocates secession for the people of Nigeria’s eastern region.
Reports of the re-arrest of the human rights activist were announced on Tuesday by Abubakar Malami, the Federation’s Attorney General, who said Nigerian security agencies had arrested Kanu with the help of Interpol on Sunday.
The arrest sparked outrage in the country, citizens demand his release and safety.
Condemning the arrest, Alaigbo Development Foundation, in a statement signed by its president, Uzodinma Nwala, and president of media and publicity, Abia Onyike, said;
“The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has received the news of the arrest and deportation of Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria and his subsequent arraignment in Court in continuation of his previous trial.
2. This development is very unfortunate both for the continued existence of the crisis-riden Nigerian federation and the struggle for the self-determination and emancipation of Igboland from the artificial Nigerian federation.
3. The arrest or elimination of Nnamdi Kanu from the scene of the struggle is most unlikely to result in the smashing of the spirit of the longing for freedom of the Igbo Nation or that of other Nationalities that are equally struggling to free themselves from the chaotic Nigerian federation.
4. Earlier in the day, we saw a social media news item with the headline: “Nnamdi Kanu arrested and Boko Haram fighters released”. This news item summarizes the grave injustice in the Federal government’s attempt to crush Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB supporters, while the blood sucking Boko Haram and other bandits are on the prawl throughout the entire Federation including Katsina the home state of Mr President.
5. The Igbo Nation is meanwhile groaning under the agony of the massive arrests, torture and killing of many Igbo youths by security agents of the Federal Government.
6. One thing is very clear. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is breathing its last. It may well go the way of other federations which were created artificially and held together by the force of arms.
7. We call on the International Community not to turn it’s back on the horrors taking place in Nigeria, especially in Igboland.
8. We equally call on all Igbo lawyers no matter their persuasions, to come together and defend Nnamdi Kanu as well as several other Igbo youths who are languishing in various detention centres and prisons all over Nigeria.”
Also, Southern Youth Forum, condemned the arrest and demanded the release of Mr. Kanu.
The group, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Dezia Kue, warned that no harm should befall the IPOB leader.
The statement reads as follows: “We, the Southern Youth Forum, SYF, condemn the kidnapping of Nnamdi Kanu from his residence, by Nigerian security agents who called the act an “arrest”.
“It is worth noting that Kanu, who did not “jump bail” as the government claims, fled Nigeria after soldiers raided his home in an attempt to assassinate him at a time when a case was still before the court which he attends.
“It is also worth noting that the Federal High Court in Abuja was complicit in an attempted murder by refusing to investigate and deliver justice on the issue regarding the military invasion of Nnamdi Kanu’s home in Umuahia.
“As we continue to closely monitor developments, we call for his immediate release and also warn that no harm should befall him, to avoid a bloody crisis that Nigeria as a country may not survive.”
Mr. Kanu’s senior lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who confirmed his arrest, said;
“We have just confirmed through a correspondence from the Federal High Court Abuja, about the arrest and the extradition of my Client- Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Nigerian State.
“It is to be noted therefore, that no matter the gravity of the offences or charge preferred against him, Section 36(5) of the Constitution still presumes him innocent of the allegation.
“He was brought before the Federal High Court No 2 Abuja today on an Eleven count charge, though without our knowledge.
“As it is in the public domain, the matter has been consequently adjourned to the 26th Day of July 2021, for Continuation of Trial.
The legal team ably led by my humble self will meet them in court on this date.
“We insist that he must be given a fair hearing/trial which is his constitutionally protected right.
“His safety as also guaranteed under our law throughout the trial and afterwards, should be enforced.
“Our fortified Legal team will be meeting to agree on strategies within the context of the Charge and disposition of the Court.
“Await further update from us as we progress.”
* Jane Ola, Waamene Tigiri contributed to this report
Massacres, war fuel ethnic fervour in Ethiopia’s Amhara
As he set off to vote in Ethiopia’s national election, Tesfahun Sisay chose his outfit with purpose, pulling on a T-shirt emblazoned with a man’s face and a Kalashnikov rifle.
That man was Asaminew Tsige: revered by many in Amhara, Asaminew commanded the region’s muscular security forces until two years ago, when he was accused of spearheading a local coup and shot dead by police.
“I knew he was doing a good job. I felt this when I bought it, and I decided to wear it today.”
His image with a superimposed Kalashnikov — the standard-issue weapon slung over the shoulders of many in the region — symbolises the willingness of ethnic Amharas to defend their homeland and identity at whatever cost.
As recently as April, around 100 people were slaughtered in Ataye, a town in Amhara surrounded by ethnic Oromo settlements.
“I feel for my people, for the harassment they face. I feel their grievances. That worries me. I do not have peace of mind,” said Asnakew Melkie, a 46-year-old farmer wrapped in a heavy blanket in the hillside village of Yohannes.
Ethiopia is divided into regions along ethnic and linguistic lines, and Amhara is one of the proudest and most powerful states in the diverse Horn of Africa nation of 110 million people.
Tewodros II, one of Ethiopia’s great emperors, and an ethnic Amhara, unified a swathe of provinces into a single centralised state in the 1800s, and his people dominated politics well into the 20th century.
“Ethiopia is our region. What is now deemed the Amhara region, we don’t accept that,” said Belete Molla, chairman of the National Movement for Amhara (NAMA), the region’s main opposition party.
“The Amhara people were the last to join political parties based on ethnic characteristics, to define themselves as Amhara,” Belete said.
Besides warning darkly of an “Amhara genocide”, they are determined to reintegrate long-contested parts of western and southern Tigray into Amhara.
They got their chance in November, siding with federal troops as they chased Tigrayan forces into the mountains, and occupying western and southern parts of the region.
The contest over these areas has been a central flashpoint in the eight-month-old war, with Tigrayan rebels shifting their focus to retaking these lands in a fresh offensive launched in July.
– ‘Survival struggle’ –
The region is ruled by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Prosperity Party (PP), and its president has been an outspoken voice for ethnic Amhara sentiment.
Analysts say the PP had little choice but to adopt the Amhara cause championed by its opponents in the crucial region.
Abiy’s party thumped NAMA in the federal and regional election in Amhara on June 21, contributing to a landslide majority in the national parliament that is set to give the prime minister a new five-year term.
Biafra: Kanu’s trial will still take place on July 26, says lawyer
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer for Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Biafran pro-independence group — Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), said the activist’s trial before a Nigerian high court in Abuja will still take place on July 26, 2021.
The lawyer made this known on Friday amid speculation the trial would not take place as the Nigerian judiciary announced it would embark on vacation.
“We have just received a confirmation from Federal Federal High Court Abuja, that Hearing on Our Client’s case above referred will still go on as earlier schedulde on Monday next week being the 26th Day of July 2021,” said Ejiofor in a statement received by Gazette Africa.
Kanu, is being held in the Nigeria’s Department of State Services detention center in Abuja after since he was seized in Kenya and illegally repatriated to the country.
The separatist leader who had fled to Israel in 2017 when his home was raided by soldiers who killed many civilians in an attempt to assassinate him, faces charges of treason and other unfounded crimes, for calling for a referendum on the independent state of Biafra in the east of the country.
Biafra: Kanu ‘will soon regain his freedom’ says his lawyer
UMUAHIA — Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Biafran pro-independence group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), said his client would soon be freed from prison in Nigeria.
Ejiofor, who previously disclosed that the separatist leader was being tortured and dehumanized in detention, called for calm on Thursday, saying the situation was receiving the attention it desired.
The “present situation is receiving desired attention from every quaters.We are not leaving any space for anything untoward to happen to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“He will soon regain his freedom, despite all the shenanigans playing out now. Chukwuokike is with us, and can never fail us.We are keeping on within our proffessional capacity.
“We Shall keep you updated regularly. But be calm , focused and prayerful, that this period too will come to pass, and it shall all end in praises. Forward ever,” said the legal practitioner.
Kanu is being held in Nigeria for calling for an independent state known as Biafra in the east of the country.
The separatist leader who fled Nigeria to Israel in 2017 when he escaped an assassination attempt by government forces who raided his home in Umuahia, killing dozens of civilians, has resurfaced in Nigeria blindfolded and handcuffed in court where he faces charges of “treason” and other unfounded crimes.
The Nigerian government declined to give details of the acclaimed “re-arrest” in Kenya, but it was confirmed that Mr. Kanu had been kidnapped in Kenya and illegally repatriated to Nigeria.
His case to resume in court on July 26 and 27.
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