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‘From Azumiri to Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal,’ Nnamdi Kanu narrates escape from Nigeria

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More than two years after his escape from Nigeria, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has narrated how his escape from the country.

Kanu, who was standing trial in Nigeria over alleged treasonable offence, had in September 2017, disappeared and nobody could explain his whereabouts. Different rumours surrounded his disappearance.

His escape came after the Nigerian soldiers allegedly invaded his father’s Afaraukwu’s home in Abia State mid September, 2017.

While some suggested he might have been killed by soldiers during the attack, there were some, including his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who accused the Nigerian Army of being responsible for wherever he was.

Amid the rumours, Kanu later surfaced in Israel about one year after he disappeared from Nigeria. He later returned to the United Kingdom (UK), where he has been till date.

However, two years after that escape, a Sun newspaper report quoted Kanu to have narrated how he and some of his members managed to get to Azumiri in the coastal area of Abia State, from where they escaped into the Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and then to Israel.

Kanu’s escape story read, “We were able to rent a boat on the coast. We left from a small town in Abia, Azumiri, an unobtrusive place where the Nigerian authorities might not have thought to look.

“We planned to go to the Republic of Benin, just west of Nigeria. For 14 days we travelled in dangerous seas in a small boat with an outboard motor.

“The Atlantic off that coast is heavy, stormy, and treacherous; on more than one occasion waves threatened to swamp our little craft.

“I was still gravely injured and in need of constant medical attention. At one point we put ashore to find ice to keep the medication I needed chilled. It was a dangerous time. I stayed hidden in a room while my companions went foraging for supplies.

“From Benin, I travelled by road to Senegal, a distance of nearly 2,000 kilometres. Once in Senegal I was able to make arrangements to travel to Israel. None of these journeys was easy.

“I was still in pain and the threat from Nigerian agents abroad never went away. When we stopped to rest on the road, I couldn’t go out.

“My world was shrunk to a room with a window, and sometimes not even that. I might as well have been in prison.

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“Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast; all the countries I had to pass through rely economically on Nigeria, their governments corrupt enough to arrest me and send me back. I had to stay silent, unknown.

“I couldn’t even tell my wife or family where I was, just in case they became targets. It was agonising to realise that they didn’t know if I was dead or alive.

“Israel was a haven for me, but it took over a year to get there, and only then did I feel confident enough to let my fellow IPOB family members and immediate family know I was safe.”

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