Wanted IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu arrested after 4 years on the run

Kanu will face pending charges against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Nnamdi Kanu was on trial four years ago before he disappeared and fled abroad

The 54-year-old fled the country in 2017 while he was out on bail, and facing charges bordering on treasonable felony in connection to his agitation to secede the south east region from Nigeria.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, announced at a media briefing on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 that international collaborative efforts led to Kanu's arrest.

He was arrested on Sunday, June 27, but it's unclear where exactly the arrest took place.

The suspect is already back in Nigeria and will face pending charges against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Charges against him border on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, improper importation of goods, and others.

Kanu's troubles with the Nigerian government started when he was arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) in 2015.

He spent two years in custody until he was granted bail on health grounds in April 2017.

The fiery agitator then disappeared from the public space after an alleged attack by military troops on his father's compound in Abia State in September 2017.

He missed numerous court dates, leading to a revocation of his bail, and an order for his arrest.

Kanu was not seen in public for another year until he resurfaced while praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in October 2018.

He has since then continued his agitation from abroad, even though the government declared IPOB a terrorist organisation and proscribed the group's activities in the wake of his 2017 disappearance.

The group has since then created a paramilitary wing with the aim to fight insecurity in the south east, but the Eastern Security Network (ESN) has repeatedly been linked by authorities to a spate of recent attacks on security agencies, attacks that have left dozens of operatives dead.

Malami on Tuesday accused Kanu of instigating many of those killings and other violent acts in the south east using his media broadcasts.

"He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against the Nigerian state and institutions," the AGF said.

Kanu was also one of the central figures reportedly responsible for the Federal Government's decision to suspend Twitter in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, accused the social media company of failing to acknowledge Nigeria's request to deplatform the IPOB leader.

He said Kanu was allowed to use the platform to incite his followers to attack security operatives and denigrate the Nigerian state.


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