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Nigeria: Court Orders Detention of Separatist IPOB Leader Kanu in DSS Custody

A Nigerian court has ordered the detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the custody of the Department of State services

Nnamdi Kanu

A Nigerian court has ordered the detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the custody of the Department of State services (DSS).

Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court gave the order on Tuesday and is sequel to an application by counsel to the federal government, Shuaibu labaran.

Kanu was said to have been intercepted by joint security operatives of the government.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who made the disclosure in a joint press briefing with heads of the department of security services and the police, said Kanu was arrested on Sunday June 27, 2021.

However, the briefing was silent on where he was arrested.

Ruling on the request for remand in the custody of the DSS, Justice Nyako, held that the Prosecution should inform Kanu’s lawyer of his rearrest and remand in the custody of the DSS.

The judge subsequently adjourned till July 26 for continuation of trial.

In 2019 a judge had ordered his arrest over his failure to attend hearings nearly two years after his release on bail.

Secessionist feeling has simmered in the southeast since the Biafra separatist rebellion of 1967-70 that tipped Nigeria into civil war and killed around 1 million people.

Mr Kanu was arrested in October 2015 on charges of criminal conspiracy and belonging to an illegal society.

A military deployment to the region in 2017 to curb IPOB’s campaign stoked tensions, as did Kanu’s arrest.

He was freed on bail on medical grounds in April of that year but has not been seen in Nigeria since an army raid on his house five months later.

“In the absence of any reasonable explanation for his absence, I hereby revoke his bail and order that a bench warrant be issued for his arrest,” Justice Binta Nyako said at the Federal High Court in the capital Abuja.

By Abel Ejikeme

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