The World Igbo Congress (WIC) is calling on the Nigerian authorities to ensure the safety of the self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, saying the rights of the secessionist leader must be protected.
Kanu who jumped bail in 2017 was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria on Tuesday. He is facing treason charges and was remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) following an order by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
But the World Igbo Congress in a statement signed and issued by its chairman Anthony Ejiofor and spokesperson Basil Onwukwe, urged the federal government to treat the IPOB leader according to universally accepted laws.
The group on Wednesday called on the “Nigerian Government to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu is treated in accordance with the rules and international conventions that guarantee that his rights and personal safety are protected.”
Kanu, a UK citizen, had been in the country after jumping bail. The government did not, however, say where he was rearrested, triggering speculations about how he was recaptured.
The WIC, however, claims that the Biafran agitator was not captured in the UK and called on the British Government and the international community to investigate the circumstances surrounding Kanu’s rearrest.
“The UK government needs to investigate the collusion of any other country or party in this saga,” the Igbo group further stated.
“The government of the US, the UN and the international community to take note of the ongoing abuse of human rights in Nigeria including this matter of abduction of Nnamdi Kanu.”
In 2017, the Nigerian government proscribed IPOB and designated it as a terrorist organization but the World Igbo Congress has faulted the move, accusing the government of double standards and targeting the Igbo.
“The world has taken notice of the disparity in the treatment of Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen who have been designated as terrorists by known international agencies,” it added in the statement where it called for the protection of the rights of Ndigbo.
“These killers are routinely arrested, compensated, released, and oftentimes absorbed into the Nigerian security services. On the other hand, the Igbo has been subjected to massive shoot-at-sight order, arrests and abduction. We would like to emphasize that no government in the world or any international security agency has designated IPOB as a terrorist organization and Nnamdi Kanu is not on any terrorist watchlist anywhere in the world.”
Rallying Support From Abroad
On October 2015, he was arrested by Nigerian authorities 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 granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons.
However, Mr Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.
Since then he has been sighted in Israel and has continued to rally his supporters in Nigeria to employ violence in achieving secession.