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Timeline of Nnamdi Kanu’s ignoble journey to prison, exile and back to jail

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The arrest of the leader of the proscribed Igbo separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in London, at the behest of the Nigerian government on Tuesday, brings to an end his over two years of evading arrest after he jumped bail and escaped to the UK.

Before his recent arrest, Kanu had lived the life of a fugitive, always managing to escape arrest, before coming out to boast that he was the ‘man the Nigerian security agencies could never arrest.’ That boast and braggadocio has finally come to an end.

Let’s take a look at the many times Kanu has had brushes with the law.

October 14, 2015
Kanu was first arrested on October 14, 2015, by the Department of State Services (DSS), in Lagos State as he sneaked into the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

October 18, 2015
When he was arraigned on October 18, 2015, Kanu reportedly told his lawyers he was arrested by agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria in his hotel room at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Ikeja.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, arrested in London, bundled to Nigeria- Malami

He was arraigned on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.

He was subsequently detained by the DSS in Abuja, with news of his arrest causing protests across Delta, Enugu, Rivers, Cross River, Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and Anambra States.

January 20, 2016
On January 20, 2016, a Federal High Court judge, Justice James Tsoho, ordered that Nnamdi Kanu should be remanded at the Kuje Prison, after he was arrested and arraigned before him.

The DSS had put him on trial for charges bordering on treason and agitations for the Republic of Biafra. At the hearing, Tsoho ordered that Kanu be taken to prison instead of being kept in custody of the DSS, overruling the request by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mohammed Diri, for the continued incarceration of Kanu by the DSS.

January 10, 2017
On January 10, 2017, Kanu was again arrested and charged to a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, the next day, on charges of criminal conspiracy and belonging to an illegal society.

He was, once again, detained at the Kuje Prisons where he stayed for some months before he was granted bail. His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, while announcing his release from prison, had said:
“Nnamdi Kanu has been released this evening and he has left Kuje prison,” adding that the release took place after all bail conditions had been met.

April 2017
After being in detention for about two years, Kanu was granted bail on health reasons but he jumped bail and skipped out of the country, after flouting some of the conditions given to him by the court.

Kanu first resurfaced in Israel before transiting to the UK and despite several court injunctions and insistence on his appearance, the IPOB leader has remained abroad until his arrest on June 29, 2021.

In one of his broadcasts on Radio Biafra, Kanu had said:
“Their problem is Nnamdi Kanu and the solution to their problem is referendum. They gave me conditional bail to cage me and IPOB but I refused.”

September 12, 2017
In September 2017, the Nigerian Army once again, arrested Nnamdi Kanu and placed him under house arrest, according to Ejiofor.

READ ALSO: Nnamdi Kanu arraigned in court

According to the lawyer, Kanu was arrested at his country home in Umuahia, Abia State, during a raid by the Nigerian Army in what was known as ‘Operation Python Dance’ where four members of IPOB were reportedly killed in a shootout while trying to prevent his arrest.

“Just to notify the world that my client’s (Nnamdi Kanu) house is presently under siege by the trigger-happy soldiers acting under the direct instruction of Chief of Army Staff. He has been placed under house arrest at the moment while shooting sporadically into the air. Casualties are being counted as the unprovoked assault progresses. Some IPOB members have just been killed at least four people,” Ejiofor had said in a statement.

However, the then Abia State Police Command spokesman, Geoffrey Ogbonna, denied the claim, saying the Army was only on its routine patrol and passed through the area.
“They have moved on now to other parts of the city. I have been to that area; they were on their normal ongoing show of force. I don’t think they tried to break into the building,” Ogbonna had said.

March 28, 2019
On March 28, 2019, Justice Binta Nyako, who had granted him bail on the grounds of his ill-health, revoked the bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest in any part of Nigeria.

Owing to his absence during several court sittings, Justice Nyako, the judge who granted him bail, revoked it and ordered that he should be arrested and extradited to Nigeria.

Kanu, however, dismissed the arrest warrant issued against him and vowed to remain abroad to continue agitating for Biafra.

“The bench warrant against me is merely academic. It will surely be ignored by an international legal and diplomatic order that has voiced its disapproval of what is happening to IPOB in Nigeria,” he had said in another of his broadcasts.

June 29, 2021
According to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), in an emergency press briefing in Abuja, Nnamdi Kanu was allegedly arrested in London by what the AGF described as combined team of Nigerian and foreign security agents in a coordinated interception.

“Recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday, June 27, 2021.
“Nwannekaenyi Nnamdi Ngozichukwu Okwu-Kanu, born September 25, 1967 at Afara-Ukwu, Abia State, Nigeria, is a holder of Nigerian Passport No A05136827, first issued October 17, 2013, at FESTAC, Lagos,” Malami said at the briefing.

The fugitive was promptly extradited to Nigerian and arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the nations’ capital, on Tuesday, on charges bothering on terrorism, treasonable felony and sponsoring an unlawful organization.

June 29, 2021
Kanu was arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), on June 29, after he was brought to the court in handcuffs amidst tight security at about 1:40pm.

After a brief hearing, Justice Nyako ordered that he should be remanded in prison custody while the case was adjourned till July 26.

By Isaac Dachen

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