Nigeria’s federal government has launched further enquiries into the role of the British High Commission in Kanu’s breach of his bail terms, including his escape from Nigeria.
The main issue the government and its intelligence agents are probing is how the IPOB leader, whose Nigerian and British passports were in the custody of the Federal High Court, was able to obtain another British passport to travel out of Nigeria and traverse other African countries while he was on the run from the law.
Saying Kanu was unlikely to obtain another British travel document without the support of the High Commission, a top intelligence officer told THISDAY Wednesday night that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking the High Commission to task on the matter.
THISDAY had reported a source on Wednesday as saying: “Following the storming of his parent’s compound in Afaraukwu, Abia State, by a detachment of soldiers on 14th September 2017, Kanu ‘disappeared’ virtually into thin air, the federal government felt concerned.
“Since both, his Nigerian and British passports were still in the custody of the Federal High Court in Abuja, there were strong suspicions that Kanu got the support of the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria for his escape. That was later proved to be the case.”
However, the British High Commission in an email complaint on Wednesday by its Political Counsellor, Mr. Jonathan Bacon, denied the report of the involvement of the commission.
“We would like to draw your attention to a reference to the UK in the front-page story of today’s edition of THISDAY: “… there were strong suspicions that Kanu got the support of the United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria for his escape. That was later proved to be the case.”
This is a serious allegation, which is completely false. The High Commission categorically denies it. We would be grateful if the newspaper could publish a correction and amend the online copy,” it said.
The newspaper’s Managing Director, Mr. Eniola Bello, swiftly responded asking the commission to clarify how the fugitive got a fresh British passport to leave Nigeria and travel around Africa to perpetrate his secessionist campaign against Nigeria.
He enquired: “Taking into account your categorical denial of any involvement in Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’s escape from Nigeria, we would like a further clarification, if possible from your High Commissioner to Nigeria, on how:
a) Mr. Kanu, who had had his Nigerian and British passports impounded by a court of competent jurisdiction in Abuja, had been able to procure another British passport which he had used to travel out of Nigeria, and around the world, calling for insurrection in Nigeria and inciting violence against the Nigerian police, military and every other symbol of authority in this country; and
b) Could the Home Office in London have issued or allowed to be issued another passport to anybody whose passport had been impounded by a British court?
“We demand some categorical answers to these questions so as to place the publication of your denial of the British High Commission’s involvement in Kanu’s escape from Nigeria in proper context.”
Bacon posted the questions, saying he would obtain a response from London on Thursday.
As THISDAY awaits the commission’s response, intelligence sources told the newspaper Wednesday night that the federal government viewed with strong concern the British’s possible collusion with Kanu to break the bail bond, pointing out that the moment the fugitive stepped out of the country, NIA agents put him under strict surveillance.
“We knew he had obtained fresh travel documents and our strategy was to keep a close tab on him and ensure that he did not return to London,” the source said, explaining that: “Once we were able to consign him to Africa, we knew it would be a matter of time before we get him.”
The source said the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 greatly hampered Kanu’s moves to return to Britain but that he was in the process of moving from Kenya to Ethiopia en route to London when he was intercepted and arrested.
A reliable source said the NIA operations were commanded at the highest level with President Muhammadu Buhari coordinating and receiving timely briefings on developments.
It was even speculated that it was because the operation had reached a critical success point that the president suddenly postponed his medical trip to London in order to ensure the conclusion of operation.
THISDAY learnt that once the NIA agents located Kanu on Thursday, they collaborated with Interpol to have him arrested on Friday.
“The Interpol handed him over to NIA agents on Saturday and he was flown to Abuja from Addis Ababa in the early hours of Sunday morning,” a source said.
ARISE NEWS Channels is in possession of a video clip showing the arrival of Kanu.
Hooded, the IPOB leader was received by over 200 security operatives, including NIA, DSS, Police and Interpol, who had taken over the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja yet oblivious of their very important personality (VIP) guest.
Kanu was handed over to the NIA, which in turn handed him over to the DSS that drove him in the thick of the night to its yellow-house headquarters in Asokoro District of Abuja.