Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu (pictured 2nd from right)

Below is a memo we wrote about Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should incase you forget how it all started.

It all started about 15 months ago, before his visit to Nigeria and his arrest by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) at a hotel in Lagos, the name, Nnamdi Kanu hardly rings a bell.

Before 2015, the acclaimed leader of IPOB and director of Radio Biafra was ignored by the outside world. Nobody really took him serious.

But the Nigerian government took him serious, and arrested him on October 14, 2015 when he visited Nigeria and charged with treasonable felony.  He was not to regain his freedom until April 28, 2017.

The Kuje Prison where he was incarcerated became a Mecca of sort for political leaders. The most prominent of the early visitors was former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu who on December 16, 2016, visited him and had a lengthy discussion with the IPOB leader. After the visit, Kalu declared, “It is therefore my utmost concern to see him regain his freedom,” and announced he was spearheading of a planned talk with the government.

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Thereafter, visits to Kuje Prison gained momentum.  It was the turn of Igbo leaders under the umbrella of Alaig-bo Development Founda-tion (ADF) in the first week of February 2017.

The ADF group affirmed they were contemplating a political resolution of the matter with the federal authorities. Its president, Professor Uzodinma Nwala, led the group.

By the end of the month, a more respectable delegate knocked on the prison door at Kuje.  Men of timber and caliber, like former Central Bank Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo and renowned economist, Dr. Pat Utomi, led the visit under the umbrella of Nzuko Umuna, a coalition of Igbo group that cuts across all the major groups in the South-east including those in diaspora.

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On April 4, it was the turn of Nigerian music artistes and Nollywood actors under the umbrella of United Nigerian Artists for Peace and Justice (UNAPJ). Chinaka Greatson, who led the group he described as “a collaboration of artists from the movie and music industry” hailed the visit as homage to Kanu and a show of solidarity to his cause.

The historic importance of the incarceration of the IPOB leader was not lost to former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode while he was also an inmate of the Kuje Prison for 21 days. Fani-Kayode, detained in November 2016, did not let the opportunity pass him by to visit a man he described as “great and brilliant freedom fighter,” and “easily the most courageous, powerful and credible Igbo leader in Nigeria today.”

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British government too played a part. An email originating from Joe Abuku, spokesman for the British High Commission, affirmed: “We have provided assistance to Mr. Kanu since his arrest in October last year, including visiting him regularly in prison and attending court appearances in an observation capacity.”

Eventually, freedom came when Justice Binta Nyako, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on April 25, granted him bail on health grounds, which took three more days to be perfected.

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, and former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, put up appearance at the court to show solidarity with Kanu.

After over 500 days in detention, Mazi Kanu who used to run the Radio Biafra in London walked out and breathed free air.

By then he has become a man of the people and a totem of a struggle – will he continue the struggle for Biafra restoration?

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