Embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, on Saturday, clocked 54 years old in the custody of the Department of State Services.
Many IPOB loyalists have since flooded social media with congratulatory messages to Kanu, who was born on September 25, 1967, at Afaraukwu, Abia State.
The secessionist leader is a holder of Nigerian and British passports. He had earlier jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom though he said that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.
After about three years abroad, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021, announced that the IPOB leader was re-arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.
Kanu’s Lead Counsel, Ejiofor Ifeanyi, had said the IPOB leader was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria.
Upon his re-arrest and extradition in June 2021, he was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako for terrorism-related charges and has since been remanded in the DSS custody in Abuja.
Justice Nyako had adjourned the trial of Kanu to October 21, 2021, for continuation of hearing.
However, through his lawyers, Kanu had dragged the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Kenyan Government to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, over the alleged violation of his fundamental human rights by the two governments.
The IPOB leader had also approached a High Court of Abia State to challenge the alleged infringement on his fundamental rights by the Nigerian government.
He had asked the court to award him N5bn as damages for the breach of his fundamental human rights which began with the 2017 extrajudicial attempt on his life in Abia, his involuntary flight to safety/exile, his abduction in Kenya, and his extradition to Nigeria.
The court had adjourned the hearing of the case to October 7, 2021.
Kanu’s Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor had drawn some inspiration from the September 17, 2021 fundamental rights judgment of the Oyo State High Court in favour of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) and against the Federal Government.
Ejimakor said, “The Oyo State High Court judgment in Igboho’s case (which is similar to Kanu) restates the locus classicus on the wide jurisdiction of State High Courts when it comes to enforcement of the fundamental rights stipulated under the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter.”
Kanu’s followers had declared several sit-at-home orders in the South-East to protest his arrest and demand his release from the custody of the secret police.
The sit-at-home orders have been said to cripple economic activities in Imo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi, especially on Mondays.