By Obi Nwakanma
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was abducted by federal agents and brought back to Nigeria to face trial in still unclear circumstances.
First, the rumours said he was taken from the Czech Republic. Then there was Ethiopia.
Then the rumour that he had been lured to Brazil by a woman! These all turned out to be lies that could not be sustained or verified. Then finally, that he was abducted from Kenya.
I am using the word “abducted” here very consciously and very insistently because there is a question about that difference between a legitimate, open, lawful arrest, and a covert, furtive, clandestine and underhanded arrest. The federal authorities who abducted Mazi Kanu claim that it was done in collaboration with INTERPOL.
This is not clear what the international police had to do with the arrest of a political activist who even claims citizenship of another country.
That too may be a lie thrown by this administration. There are many unanswered and perhaps even unanswerable questions: What is the role of the Kenyan government in the abduction and seizure of a British citizen on Kenyan soil? If Mazi Kanu traveled to Kenya, he went there with a British passport, and was under the protection by international law of the part of the government of Kenya.
The Kenyan authorities who admitted him into Kenya knew he was traveling as a British citizen. When they were approached to seize him, did they contact the UK High Commission in Nairobi to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu was given the highest protection by the government under whose passport he was flying? How could the Kenyan government flout the most basic and elementary courtesies that now leaves it open to litigation, and, if not properly managed, that could lead to a potential international incident? Therein lays my doubt that the Kenyan authorities may have been privy to the abduction of Mazi Kanu.
That leaves one potential possibility: he was “Umaru- Dikkoed.” Mr. Muhamadu Buhari is not a stranger to that kind of subterfuge and international “gangsterism.” For the generation who might not know the story because they were not born at this point, this is not Mr. Buhari’s first rodeo. Once, he was a military dictator.
He was at the head of a band of military gangsters who plotted to violently overthrow an elected and civil government of Nigeria. Once they gained access to power, they forcefully suspended the Constitution of the republic, imposed themselves on the government of the federation, and governed by decree from December 31, 1983 to when Buhari himself was overthrown in August 1985, and then generally to 1999 when the force of civil action and international pressure pushed that cadre to “step aside.”
In Buhari’s time as a military dictator, he got his Attorney-General to craft decrees of absolutism, and prepare cases against elected civilians he had overthrown, and brought them to court under very trumped up charges for “Kwaruption.” There were many tragedies.
I’ll mention just three examples of these elected civilians he deposed and jailed: Professor Ambrose Alli, distinguished professor of medicine and hardworking governor of Bendel State went blind in jail under the conditions to which he had been subjected. He did not survive it. Aper Aku, the hardworking governor of Benue State, died soon after he was released from jail.
Dr. Sam Mbakwe developed diabetes in jail from which he was to die years later. Of course, the likes of Victor Olabisi Onabanjo, first civilian government of Ogun State, did not survive the effects of their imprisonment by the Buhari administration which accused them of “corruption.”
He died within three years of his release from jail by Babangida. Now, fellow Nigerians, compare the years between 1979 and 1983, and the years from 2015 to 2021, and determine for yourself who should actually be in jail for corruption, malfeasance, mis-governance and the destruction of the foundations of the Nigerian government and its commonwealth.
Measure the leaps of those years which Buhari disrupted, and compare it to the churlish incompetence of the current years which he supervises, and you will see the light.
It was not just that Buhari effed-up Nigeria’s economy within six months of his dictatorship, he nearly enmeshed Nigeria in some terrible international incident, when he used the then Nigerian Security Organization (NSO) under Katsina-born Muhammadu Lawal Rafindadi, the grandfather of today’s Directorate of State Service (DSS), to plan and execute the abduction of Mr. Umaru Dikko, former President Shehu Shagari’s Minister of Transport, who knew where all the bodies in that regime were buried and who had fled to exile in London, where he was squealing to the utter embarrassment of Buhari.
With the aid of some MOSSAD agents, as we now know, the NSO went to London, abducted Umaru Dikko, crated him, and prepared to bring him back to Lagos to kiss Buhari’s ring. Only a lucky tip-off saved him.
There are indications, in this case of the abduction of Nnamdi Kanu, that Mr. Buhari is still hung on his old methods.
He is using the cover of his presumed immunity to direct illegality. That is what this action amounts to: particularly as it affects the citizen of another country, and an opposition figure against Buhari’s government.
But need one say that he leaves his Attorney-General vulnerable because he has no such immunity? What is more vital to this situation is that Buhari’s administration might have broken international law against the use of state terrorism, and may push foreign governments to classify the Nigerian state as a promoter of international terrorism! If the Kenyan government denies complicity, that is it! If they accept complicity, it leaves them equally open to litigation, and to the idea that international visitors to Kenya, which depends on tourism for a lot of its national revenue, are unsafe, and cannot be protected from external forces while they visit Kenya.
Meanwhile, the Buhari administration has brought Mazi Kanu home to face trials for threatening the sovereignty of Nigeria.
I wonder what Buhari thought he was doing when he overthrew an elected government and suspended the Constitution of the republic in the wee hours of the last day of 1983? It is Mr. Buhari and his cohorts who should be in the dock standing trial for treason, for indeed it is treasonable conduct to violently overthrow the elected government of a sovereign nation, and there is no statute of limitations to such a crime against the nation.
Which is why it is imperative to evacuate that provision in the 1999 Constitution which abrogates the capacity of the courts to try any actions against the state preceding the 1999 Constitution. It is a statement that indemnifies infamy.
Actors like President Buhari have made possible, from their serial violations of the sovereign codes of Nigeria, the rise of the likes of Nnamdi Kanu, born in the heat of war, but who have felt themselves alienated by the permissive discriminations and institutional failures produced by the involvements of the Buharis in government.
Now, he has Nnamdi Kanu in custody, but so what? Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, last week, said they are also in pursuit of the sponsors of Nnamdi Kanu, and will bring them to justice.
He need not look far. Every standing Igbo is a supporter of Nnamdi Kanu, and makes the “toro-toro, afu-afu” contribution to his political campaigns.
So, how is he going to make them pay? Deny them federal appoints? Deny them federal contracts? What else? Come off it, Lai! Will the Nigerian government arrest all Igbo? Well, let Lai Mohammed and his government try.
There is no jail larger than Nigeria in which the Igbo are already imprisoned, according to the logic of things.
Where else is he going to keep the Igbo supporters of Kanu? Which jail can hold them all? Will he kill them all? Well, then that would be a real, frontal declaration of war, and those so threatened are obligated to defend themselves by all means necessary.
It is the right of every citizen in a republic to bear arms in their own defence in the face of a tyrannical order. I need to emphasize this because two things are already obvious: There was no wild, national jubilation at the “arrest” of Kanu. That should tell this regime something.
Nnamdi Kanu is not a criminal, he is a political prisoner of an increasingly intolerant regime which has deployed gangster methods to abduct the citizen of another country but ignores and panders to the real terrorists whom it gives coverage.
Mazi Kanu has disavowed his Nigerian citizenship. He claims British citizenship and as a result cannot be tried in a Nigerian court. Besides, there is no crime, in spite of the manufactured or very obviously trumped up charges about inciting the deaths of people.
Incitement is not treason, nor is it murder, nor is it true in fact. Kanu calls for the separation of Biafra from Nigeria through a referendum.
That is not a crime. It is a legitimate political position. Nnamdi Azikiwe campaigned for the independence of Nigeria from Britain, and even instigated the Labour strikes led by Michael Imoudu, which the British colonial authorities considered subversive. Azikiwe and the nationalists were considered treasonous by the British, but here is Buhari today, enjoying the benefits of that freedom movement and all that “treason.”
And while we are at it, the IPoB which Kanu leads has consistently vowed a non-violent, peaceful method in its pursuit of a referendum towards Biafran independence. Not every Igbo agrees with Biafra. But certainly every Igbo agrees that the Igbo have not been well treated in Nigeria, especially so by this administration.
Most Igbo do not consider Buhari to be the President of Nigeria, and there are hints of the plan to institute a citizens’ arrest of Buhari after his immunity lapses, to face charges of treason for the overthrow of an elected government in 1983.
There is also this small matter of the fact that Nnamdi Kanu is an Aro-Igbo. The Aro, who have their eyes and ears everywhere in the world, and ran one of the world’s most complex Mafia systems from the 15th century, will exact their fierce and quiet revenge, against anyone, irrespective of office or stature, should anything unjust, and untoward happen to an Aro child, whether or not, the entire Aro agrees with him. It is the Aro code of honour. Let justice therefore prevail in this matter of Nnamdi Kanu.