The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has confirmed the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, its leader, but said the development is “not the end of the road”.
In a statement on Wednesday, Emma Powerful, the group’s spokesman, asked IPOB members to “mobilise” and attend the court hearing on July 26 when Kanu’s trial will continue.
Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), said on Tuesday that Kanu, who leads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was “intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and Security Services.”
The separatist leader was subsequently taken to the federal high court where a judge granted an order for him to be remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) until July 26.
But in the statement titled, ‘Nothing should happen to our leader’, Powerful said Kanu was “abducted” by the federal government “in collaboration with all those that view IPOB and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as stumbling block against their bid to hold Biafra in perpetual slavery.”
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Powerful further said that Kanu deserves justice and a fair hearing as he faces trial on an 11-count charge bordering on alleged terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society and illegal possession of firearms.
“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,” he added.
For almost four years after he fled Nigeria in 2017, Kanu piloted the affairs of IPOB from abroad, mostly from the UK where he runs Radio Biafra and engages in fierce monologues preaching his separatist cause.
The group has since become stronger and more emboldened, although it has been outlawed and tagged a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian military and a court.
While in the UK, Kanu launched the Eastern Security Network (ESN) as a militant arm of IPOB which he claimed will protect the south-east from criminal activities.
But the emergence of ESN coincided with a spike in attacks against security and government infrastructure in the region.
The secessionist group also forged an alliance with the Ambazonia Governing Council (AGovC), the separatist movement in Southern Cameroon, to exchange weapons and personnel.