HOW NNAMDI KANU WAS CAUGHT IN KENYA
By Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire
Let me start by admitting that I don’t have all the details as to the chain of events that led to the capture of Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya. But the following narration will guide you to ask more questions.
Nigerian Government had complained many times to the British Government that Nnamdi Kanu was inciting violence in Nigeria. Immediately after the end-SARS riot, Nigeria made passionate pleas for British support citing some of the utterances of Nnamdi Kanu during the riot. Truly, the British authorities were growing uncomfortable with the utterances of Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB on their Radio Biafra. But the British did not want to be seen to be against the Igbos because the igbos always claim victim, given how they were seen during the civil war. They actually hated what IPOB was doing, but they were afraid of being seen as against the Igbos or igbos hating Britain.
However, after the end-SARS riot, the British found an opportunity to go after Nnamdi Kanu and one Yoruba man called Adeyinka Shoyemi, who was based in the United Kingdom and was known to be inciting violence against the Igbos. The British authority believed that prosecuting Nnamdi Kanu for hate speech while also prosecuting Shoyemi for the same type of offence against the Igbos would help create an impression of ethnic balance and neutrality, and prevent Igbos from accusing the British of being against the Igbos.
In pursuit of this plan, the British authority invited Nnamdi Kanu and his deputy, Uche Mefor. Around the same time, they invited Shoyemi. Uche Mefor responded to the invitation. During the interview, Mefor denied making any statement inciting violence. On the issue of incitement, the law focuses on statements made by you, not a statement made by your organization. And looking at it, they did not really have much against Mefor. But they had a lot against Nnamdi Kanu and Shoyemi. Mefor was warned and allowed to go. However, Mefor saw the handwriting on the wall and soon left IPOB.
Nnamdi Kanu did not respond to the invitation, but he understood that he could be arrested in Britain. To avoid that, he left Britain and relocated to Nairobi, Kenya. You must understand that Nnamdi Kanu was not just visiting Kenya when he was captured there. No, he was living there with his kenya girlfriend. He had rented a house in a posh area of Nairobi he believed that Kenya as African Country would give him safety than any white European Country whom he believes hate igbos. He had his car and was driving himself. Sometimes his kenya girlfriend drove him. He drove himself alone to the airport to pick a guest another ipob member who was Simon Ekpa connection when he was followed and kidnapped. Simon Ekpa was involved in the planning and coordination with the Nigeria and British government because he wanted to take the leadership position of ipob after Kanu is in prison. Simon Ekpa understood that many igbos would donate and support him once kanu was locked up.
By the time Kanu left Britain for Kenya the last time, he was being closely monitored by British intelligence. They knew he was making plans to travel to Kenya because they got a reliable information from Simon Ekpa. They would have stopped him if they had wanted to. But they actually preferred his traveling to Kenya because the British would prefer it if the dirty job was done by someone else outside Britain and Simon Ekpa also played a role in convincing Kanu that kenya is the right country to start the freedom movement. When Kanu got to Kenya and settled, he continued to make his incendiary broadcasts, but his followers thought he was broadcasting from UK. While he was in Kenya, the British intelligence contacted the Nigerian intelligence, the NIA, and informed them and offered to help Nigeria get Kanu. Nigeria was happy. Then, the British intelligence contacted the Kenyan Intelligence. However, the British agents insisted that Nigeria must give a guarantee that they would not kill Kanu, that they would use the courts to try him and convict him. That was the condition the British gave in order for them to assist Nigeria.
The Kenyan agents were willing to help, especially as a favor to the British. However, the Kenyan agents decided to use a non-state militant group or pretended to be a non-state group. They monitored Kanu and observed his movement. His phone were tapped. He was monitored 24/7. They knew he was going to receive a guest (a personal friend) he invited to visit him in Nairobi. On the day, Kanu went to pick his guest he spoke to Simon Ekpa. He went to the airport alone. He drove himself. So, he drove in his car to the airport alone. He was followed by the group. As he drove into the airport parking lot and tried to step out of his car, he was surrounded by some men. They kidnapped him and took him to where he was held for six days.
For the first six days after his capture, nobody on Kanu’s side knew what happened to him. His kidnap was so professionally done that nobody on Kanu’s side had any idea where he was. And when they realized he was missing, they could not announce it because that would be a big shock to IPOB and this gave time for Simon Ekpa to plan the take over and be able to raise money for some igbo business men and women. They couldn’t just announce that their leader was missing. For those six days, arrangement was being made by the Kenyan captors and the Nigerian agents on how to remove Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria. Nigerians came with a private plane and Kanu was taken from Kenya to Nigeria. The Kenyan authority was fully involved. As you know, no plane takes off without the approval of the airport authorities and without the manifest or cargo identified. It was after they brought Kanu in Nigeria that his people got an idea of where he was and what had happened to him.
The British went ahead to try and convict Shoyemi and sentenced him to four years in prison. They would have tried Nnamdi Kanu under the same law and would have convicted him as well. But they were happy that they didn’t have to do it themselves since they understood that the Igbos would cry been a victim.
The British advised Nigerians that killing Kanu would help his cause and give his followers a martyr they would want to die for. It would even be worse if he was killed in secret, as it would mean that his followers would never believe he was dead and there would be many people claiming to have received instructions from him because the igbos are not united they only need to make money from Biafra agitation many criminals might take advantage of the opportunity. They reasoned that putting him through a public court trial would expose the fallacies and weaknesses of his movement and also allowing Ekpa to get greedy with the power vacuum. They rightly believed that if convicted, Kanu would ultimately plead for pardon and that would be an opportunity to get him to renounce his neo-Biafran movement. They had Ojukwu as a precedent. After 13 years in exile, Ojukwu was practically begging Shagari to pardon him so he could return to Nigeria to challenge Zik as leader of the Igbos. He asked to be given the opportunity to lead the Igbos back into Nigeria. The British understood that if imprisoned, Kanu would beg to be pardoned and he would make concessions, just as Ojukwu turned around and wanted to be a Senator in the country he had wanted to secede from. In other words, after Ojukwu returned to Nigeria he supported one Nigeria so much that he said he was willing to go to war again but only to keep Nigeria one. Kanu is already cooperating with Nigeria after seeing the betrayal by Simon Ekpa and some trusted igbos. Kanu silence is intentional he knows that Biafra is a money making scheme used by igbos he trusted to defraud other Igbos.
The British understand Nigeria better than Nigerians understand Nigeria. They know what is happening and they are influencing events more than Nigerians realize. Mr. Shoyemi is still in prison in Britain for inciting Yorubas against the Igbos in Lagos.
Nnamdi Kanu will be released eventually. But the credit will go first to the President and his administration. And a little credit will go to Ohaneze. He will be released to Ohaneze. They will never want any credit for his release to go to Kanu or to IPOB or to anyone else. That is why he will not be released through the judgment of the courts. It is the President that will pardon him when all the factors are together. In fact, it could happen soon Simon Ekpa knows this that is why he wants more igbos dead in the Southeast to prevent this from happening. I would have said it could be before the end of the year. But the negotiations that will lead to his release have not started. The terms of his release have not been worked out or penned down. So, it may not be before the end of the year unless people are willing to work overtime on it. Also, they would prefer to convict him first and pardon him from prison.
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