What I can tell you, for now, assuming you don’t know it already is that Nnamdi Kanu’s rendition will live in infamy because it violated the extradition law of Kenya (the country of abduction), Britain (the country of domicile and citizenship), and even Nigeria (the country of destination). If you add other municipal and international laws, conventions, and protocols to which Nigeria is subject but chose to break just to bring Kanu to Nigeria, you begin to see why you must oppose his trial instead of monitoring it.” – Aloy Ejimakor, the Special Counsel to the Biafra Independence political activist, Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB (The Trent Online.com Newspaper, July 27, 2021).
An Igbo adage says, “Onye ji onye n’ala ji onwe ya.” Which loosely translates, “He who holds another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
General Philip Effiong, the second-in-command to the Biafran leader Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, told the military junta of Yakubu Gowon Federal Government of Nigeria, at the end of the war in January 1970, to, “Treat the surrounding Biafrans well or risk their children rising again.”
Mind you, the word General Effiong used, is “surrounding Biafrans”, and not “surrendering Biafrans.” He was referring to the Biafran children, victims of the war and kwashiorkor malnutrition disease caused by the federal government of Nigeria’s anti-Biafra policy of starvation and blockade. These were Biafran children at Amichi (near Nnewi) that day, invited to witness the so-called end of war armistice signed by both leaders of Nigeria and Biafra on January 12, 1970.
Had the successive federal Nigerian governments, and especially, the present regime of President Buhari, kept the terms of the end of the war armistice reached at Amichi in January 1970 and had they listened to General Effiong’s wise advice, the country would not be in the mess it is today.
Today, the Nigerian government of Major General Buhari is been pursued by its own shadow. The federal government of Nigeria is running away from its own Court of Law, because of its fear of Biafra ‘ghost’, and of the world coming to know of the suppressed true story of Biafra through the travails of Nnamdi Kanu at the hands of the Buhari regime. That is, the government is running away from its own court because it does not want the world to hear the TRUTH from the mouth of just one of those surrounding Biafran children at Amichi, General Effiong had warned the Nigerian government to ‘Treat well or risk their rising again.’
Today, the Nigerian government is afraid to produce Nnamdi Kanu in its own law court at Abuja, to tell his Biafra story and his travails as an Igbo at the hands of the federal government of President Muhammed Buhari. The Buhari regime, just like others before it, since 1970, is afraid to confront the Biafran story, the true story of the Biafran Igbo at the public domain, in its own Law Court at Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital City.
The question is, “Why is the Nigerian government afraid of the Biafran story, told from the mouth of Nnamdi Kanu?”
The Nigerian government under the watch of President Buhari does not want the world to see the wounded Nnamdi Kanu physically in court, what was left of him after his abduction (extraordinary rendition) in Kenya. How they had tortured, dehumanized and maltreated him in Kenya, at the behest of the Nigerian authorities in collaboration with their Kenyan counterparts. How he, Nnamdi Kanu, was forcefully brought back to Nigeria, as the Nigerian State and its Kenyan counterpart, bypassed all the known laws and legal process on extradition of a political activist or ‘fugitive’ running for his dear life from his country of destination (Nigeria), just to make sure that Kanu is brought back to Nigeria.
Who doesn’t know that extraordinary rendition (kidnapping of an individual by a State or in collaboration with another State), is a crime against humanity and against the fundamental human rights of the individual? Unfortunately, this is the crime the Nigerian government of President Buhari and its Kenyan counterpart have committed against Nnamdi Kanu in order to make sure that they brought him back to Nigeria for further humiliation of him and his Igbo people. So that, he would face the trial on the basis of their fathom charges against him at the court of the Fulani Muslim-controlled federal government of Nigeria at Abuja!
Again, to achieve this sinister agenda, the Buhari regime and its Kenyan counterpart bypassed all the known laws and legal processes on the extradition of a political activist who is running for his dear life from the country of ‘destination’ (Nigeria). They voluntarily violated the International Laws and UN Conventions on Extradition, and showed the highest form of disrespect to human dignity and fundamental human rights of Kanu, trampling on his personal will, and rights as a British citizen and political activist on a visit to a third country, Kenya. This is someone who had travelled to Kenya with his British Passport, since he had long time ago, renounced his Nigerian citizen.
You can now understand why the Nigerian government of President Buhari could not summon the courage to produce Kanu in court on July 26, 2021, at Abuja. The regime is scared by its own shadow of brutality, impunity and injustice to Nnamdi Kanu and his Biafran Igbo people. The government of President does not want the world to know or see the physical injuries and trauma they have inflicted on this young man and through him, to his Biafran Igbo people. This was what transpired in Abuja on July 26, 2021, why the regime failed to produce Kanu in court!
Therefore, the government of President Buhari was only being too clever by not producing Kanu in court on July 26, 2021. Unfortunately, by not producing Kanu in court for trial, the Buhari regime has scored its own goal. It means that the government has no reason to continue to detain Kanu in its dungeon. That it must release Kanu unconditionally immediately, and return him to Britain whose Passport he was holding at the time of his abduction in Kenya. Otherwise, he should be returned to Kenya, the country of his abduction. This is the truth of the matter. The reality, which the Buhari regime was afraid of confronting with at the law court on July 26, 2021. Thus, their failure to produce Kanu in court.
But as our people say, “Every day is for the thief, but one day is for the owner of the house.” No matter, how hard President Buhari regime may try to evade the TRUTH about this matter, the fact is that there is no way the regime will continue to do hide and seek on this most important issue. Nnamdi Kanu’s abduction by the Buhari regime from Kenya has already put Nigeria at a very bad light internationally. It has put the regime in a very tight corner, too. Whether Nigeria as a nation-state will ever come clean on this matter and continue with business as usual, remains to be seen.
Buhari Regime and Biafra-phobia?
Buhari regime does not want the world to hear from the horse’s mouth, that is, from Nnamdi Kanu himself, the Biafran story in a Nigerian law court. How the successive governments of Nigeria, especially, the Buhari regime itself, have been treating those Biafran children, victims and survivors of the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra War, General Effiong had spoken on their behalf, since the end of the war to the present-day!
This answers the question, ‘What is the Nigerian federal government of President Buhari trying to hide or rather run away from by not producing Nnamdi Kanu in Court on July 26, 2021, at Abuja?’ That is after the same government had fixed that date as the day for the recommencement of Kanu’s trial in Nigeria? This is even after the same government had gone the extra miles to abduct him from Kenya, in collaboration with the Kenyan authorities. Where the Kenyan security operatives, as noted earlier on; at the behest of the federal government of Nigeria, had tortured, maltreated and dehumanized Nnamdi Kanu, violating his fundamental human rights, bypassing the legal process and Geneva Conventions on extradition of a political activist (or fugitive), to forcefully bring him to Nigeria?
How come it that the same Nigerian government that went to such an extra mile, that had bypassed all the known municipal and international laws on extradition, to forcefully bring Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, a British citizen to Nigeria, is today afraid of coming to its own law court to present its fathom charges against the man? What is playing out, if not that the Nigerian government of President Buhari and its sponsors, gatekeepers of this British contraption, called Nigeria, are afraid of Kanu’s Biafra story!
Therefore, what happened at Abuja on July 26, 2021, was that the Nigerian State under the government of President Buhari and his Aso Rock Cabals felt being pursued, and chased around by the ‘Ghost’ of Biafra in Nnamdi Kanu. The Nigerian government of President Buhari, controlled by him and his Fulani kinsmen and cohorts, is today, facing a very strong judgment, in a battlefield of law and conscience with the ‘Ghosts’ of those millions of Biafran children, victims of the war, General Effiong had spoken on their behalf in 1970 at Amichi? This was why the Nigerian security operatives, DSS were advised by the Aso Rock Presidency not to produce Nnamdi Kanu in court that day.
But the question is, ‘for how long will they continue to run away from the truth of Biafra and their responsibility as a government of Nigeria?’ We wait to see! In other words, ‘Is the Nigerian government running away from confronting the TRUTH of Biafran story, which the presence of Nnamdi Kanu in court that day, on July 26, 2021, could have laid bare before other Nigerians, the international community and the world at large?’
The TRUTH of the ‘Ghost of Biafra’ is what is pursuing the Buhari administration. The administration will continue to fumble and commit more blunders and mistakes until it comes to equity with the Biafra question, the reasons for Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation for the Biafra self-determination and independence.
Nigeria’s continued denial and lies against the Biafran Igbo is the crux of the matter. That is, how successive Nigerian governments and rulers at the centre, since the end of the war in 1970 to the present day, had failed to do the needful, to assuage and rehabilitate the Biafran victims and survivors of the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra War?
In other words, in the Nnamdi Kanu phenomenon, today, the ‘Ghost’ of Biafra has gripped Nigerian State for its negligence and denial of atrocities and crimes against humanity it committed against the Biafran people. The same crime against humanity, the Nigerian State under the watch of President Buhari has continued to commit against the same Biafrans, especially, the Igbo nation. This is the fact most commentators on the Nnamdi Kanu phenomenon and the raging agitation for Biafra self-determination and independence, are afraid to acknowledge and speak about.
Because, had the Nigerian government remained faithful, and pursued with sincerity and sense of purpose, the so-called Gowon’s ‘Three-Rs’ of “Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Re-integration,” uttered at the end of the war in 1970, somebody like Nnamdi Kanu would not have emerged today to request for Biafra freedom and independence.
Moreover, the ‘Ghosts’ of those millions of Biafran children, killed by Kwashiorkor and other malnutrition diseases, caused by the starvation and blockade policies against Biafra, put in place by the federal military government of General Yakubu Gowon, would not have arisen today to haunt the Nigerian State forever. This implies that we would not be having all the ongoing vigorous agitations for self-determination and independence for Biafra or Oduduwa Republics today, among others, had the gatekeepers of the Nigerian State done the needful in this regard.
Had the successive Nigerian governments since 1970, done the needful in rehabilitating the war victims, especially, the Biafran children that survived the war, we would not be talking of agitation for the restoration of the Sovereign State of Biafra in 2021. Today, because of the negligence and insensitivity of successive federal governments of Nigeria towards the Igbo nation since 1970, to the present day, those forgotten and wounded children of post-Biafran war have arisen to say, ‘enough is enough.’
Nnamdi Kanu is just one of them. There are many more of Nnamdi Kanu on the waiting list, ready to emerge on the stage and on the international scene like Kanu himself and his Radio Biafra broadcasts, at any given time. Unless something urgent is done right away, to appease them, and especially, to address the Biafra question, Nigeria and its sponsors must brace up for more Nnamdi Kanus. There is no amount of intimidation capable of stopping the will of a people, determined to reclaim their freedom and self-determination, in an unjust society like Nigeria. No armour can withstand the will of such a people. This is the reality on the ground today in Nigeria, on this matter too!
This is despite the ongoing Nigerian government’s anti-Biafra propaganda and the ethnic-biased Nigerian mainstream media trial of Nnamdi Kanu, which takes pleasure in demonizing him and his IPOB and ESN at any given opportunity. None of these is going to change anything, on the will of the people fighting for their survival, freedom and self-determination.
In other words, the Nigerian government of President Buhari did not produce Nnamdi Kanu in court on July 26, 2021, because the government knows that the Nigerian State it represents is guilty of what it has done to Nnamdi Kanu, the Igbo nation and the entire Biafrans in Eastern Nigeria. The government knows too, that Nnamdi Kanu has no case to answer in any law court because of his agitation for the self-determination of his Biafran people. That all the government’s fathom charges of ‘treasonable felony, inciting violence through his Radio Biafra broadcasts, or the accusation of ‘hate-speech and of possession of firearms because he formed the ESN Vigilante outfit to protect his people from the menace of Fulani killer-herdsmen, etc., brought against him, are all baseless.’
Who doesn’t know that the Buhari government is going after Nnamdi Kanu, and wants to eliminate him, because of Kanu’s agitation for Biafra self-determination, and because of ESN, security outfit mechanism, Kanu has put in place in the Southeast zone since last year December, to protect and guard his Igbo people against the incessant attacks by President Buhari’s Kinsmen, Fulani-killer herdsmen. These are Fulani killer-herdsmen, who roam around towns and villages in Biafraland, with AK-47, killing people, raping women, destroying farmlands, and kidnapping people, while the government and its security operatives are careless.
In spite of all the atrocities committed by these Fulani killer-herdsmen, none of them has ever been arrested, prosecuted or jailed by the Buhari regime. Yet, the IPOB and ESN members, who have never killed anybody, are the ones Buhari regime has unleashed upon them, the Nigerian military and police, who are today having a field-day in arresting, shooting at night and killing extra-judicially, these innocent Igbo youths in the Southeast and parts of South-South geopolitical zones?
This is part of the injustice against the Igbo in Nigeria, which gave rise to Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation for Biafra self-determination and independence. Only a stupid person would fold his arms and watch his people killed on daily basis, their farmlands destroyed and women raped by members of a State-sponsored terrorist group, the Fulani killer-herdsmen (a.k.a. bandits), and refuse to do something. After all, self-defence is a fundamental human right.
Moreover, agitation for self-determination is not a crime. It is a Fundamental Human and Peoples’ Rights recognized by both Nigerian Constitution and the UN Conventions, African Union Charter, and by all other International and Municipal known laws of the civilized world.
Therefore, by witch-hunting Nnamdi Kanu because of his agitation for Biafra self-determination, and refusing to produce him in court for his trial, President Buhari is telling the civilized world how helpless his government is in battling with the TRUTH of Biafra, the reasons for the agitation for Biafra self-determination and independence being championed by Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB in Eastern Nigeria.
This is something the gatekeepers of this British contraption, called Nigeria must understand. It is high time they tell themselves the truth of why the ongoing agitations for self-determination, and why things are the way they are in the country today. The quest for Biafra self-determination and independence ought not to be seen in isolation from the failure of the Nigerian State to ‘take care of those Biafran children, survivors of the genocidal Nigeria-Biafra War, kwashiorkor and starvation policy of the Nigerian State against Biafra, when the war ended in 1970 to the present-day.
The fact is that until Nigeria ‘appeases’ the ‘spirits and souls of those Biafran children, victims and survivors of the genocidal war, the country will know no peace or progress as a nation-state. Without sounding superstitious, it is no gainsaying the fact, to emphasize once more, that the ‘God’ of Biafran children, victims of the war, is not happy with the Nigerian State. Not until the Biafran question, posed today by these children is addressed and resolved amicably in truth, honesty, and sincerity, to restore their wounded humanity, Nigeria will never make any headway as a modern nation-state. Period!
Abducting and keeping Nnamdi Kanu in the dungeons of Nigerian security operatives, will not change anything. This is because, the ‘Biafran spirit’ in Nnamdi Kanu is as well, alive and well today in the hearts and souls of millions of other Biafrans, young and old, home and abroad.
What this means in effect, is that the Nigerian government or rather Nigeria as a nation-state does not want to answer to its conscience to the Igbo nation and the world, about its continued atrocities against the Igbo, embodied in Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation for Biafra self-determination and independence. It is high time Nigeria listens to the yearning of Nnamdi Kanu, which is where the Igbo as a nation and people, stands today. Love or hate him, Nnamdi Kanu has embodied in himself through his Biafra agitation, the collective will and aspiration of Igbo nation and other Easterners, yearning for freedom and independence. No amount of intimidation or distraction on the part of the Nigerian government can change this collective will of the people.
As Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor rightly said, “Nigeria scored own goal” by abducting Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya and forcefully bringing him to Nigeria without following the legal judicial process of extradition. “No valid prosecutorial or judicial action can proceed from such a manifestly criminal conduct by a State.” In this case, the only option left for Nigeria is to unconditionally, release Nnamdi Kanu forthwith. The more the Buhari regime holds Nnamdi Kanu in its custody, the more the regime makes caricatures of itself and the Nigerian state in the eye of the world.
Who doesn’t know that by abducting Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya without following the legal process of extradition, Nigeria has lost the jurisdiction and all the legal rights to try him in its soil? Therefore, the country has no other option but to release Kanu unconditionally and return him to Britain, which is the country he was holding its Passport in at the time of his abduction in Kenya. Anything short of this is inviting more trouble and doom on the fast-fading fragile ‘unity’ of the Nigerian State.’ The future of Nigeria as a nation-state hangs in the balance today, more than ever, because of this type of undemocratic and embarrassing behaviour of the government in power.
Above all, the Nigerian State is on the edge of precipice today more than ever, because of the way this administration chose anti-Igbo policy as its driving force instead of pursuing the Gowon’s abandoned ‘three R’s of ‘reconciliation, reconstruction and re-integration.’ Especially also because of the regime’s failure to be guided by justice and equity in its dealing with all the component ethnic-nationalities that make up the Nigerian State, on basis of equality and fair play.
The absence of justice, equity and fair play in the DNA of this administration, is why the unfolding truth regarding the crooked way the administration abducted Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya, will no doubt, be the most defining moment of the Buhari Presidency.
The future of the Nigerian State as things are today, will, to a great extent, be determined by how the unfolding drama concerning the illegal abduction of Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya by the Buhari government is handled by the regime. The ball is now at the court of the regime to do the needful before it is too late!
A Stich in Time Saves Nine!
By Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji, a Roman Catholic Priest, and Professor Ordinarius of contextual theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Rome.
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