Here’s Why Nnamdi Kanu Is Still in Prison Despite Release Order

November 9, 2022

Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of proscribed separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has a cat and mouse history with the Nigerian government. 

The British-Nigerian activist gained prominence when he launched Radio Biafra in the United Kingdom with which he spread his agenda calling for the breakaway of Biafra from Nigeria.

Nnamdi Kanu [Image source: Punch]

Kanu was first arrested in Lagos in October 2015. He was detained for over a year and a half despite court orders demanding his release. In April 2017, he was released on bail on health grounds. 

However, he skipped bail and went abroad. He also went against another of the terms set for bail by granting interviews to champion the IPOB movement.

Road to his recent arrest 

In June 2021, Kanu was rearrested and brought to Nigeria to face trial on treason charges. The Attorney-General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, gave no details as to where he was arrested, except to say that it was the collaborative effort of Nigerian intelligence and security services.

Abubakar Malami [Image source: Vanguard]

In April 2022, eight out of 15 charges brought against him were struck out by the Federal High Court in Abuja. The federal government in May 2022, amended the charges against Kanu and listed his lawyers as accomplices. 

In July 2022, a group backed by the United Nations called for the release of Kanu from detention. Almost immediately, a northern coalition of 52 groups rejected the call for Kanu’s release, underscoring the highly sensitive and political nature of the matter.

Recently, on October 14, 2022, an appeal court sitting in Abuja freed Kanu of all terrorism charges. It also ordered his release and the payment of compensation of up to ₦500 million. The court noted that the federal government violated all known laws when it forcefully extradited Kanu. The extradition was done from Kenya to Nigeria for the continuation of his trial.

Why is Kanu still in custody? 

The government said it would not release Kanu despite the court ruling. It said instead, it would review its legal options and could institute other charges against him. He remains in the custody  of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Malami, the Attorney General, said that although the basis upon which Kanu was freed was based on rendition — that is, the process of sending a suspected criminal to another country for interrogation — it was not, in his opinion, sufficient enough. He provided four reasons why the government couldn’t release him.

In his words, “In arriving at a decision whether to release or not release (Kanu), one; you look at the rule of law, two; you look at the public and the national interest, three; you look at the security situation, four; you look at international diplomacy.”

He argued that Kanu had jumped bail before and could not be trusted to not do so again. Malami also argued that his history suggests that he could incite people again after his release. He feared that he could use his influence to launch a foreign attack against Nigeria.

This is not the first time this is happening. In 2017 for instance, despite a court ruling ordering the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, the Nigerian government  refused to do so, stating that the continued detention was in the “security and public interest.”

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky [Image source: Guardian]

Where does this leave Nnamdi Kanu? 

His legal team has pleaded with the DSS to grant him access to a physician, following a court order. 

It remains to be seen if they would comply.

ALSO READ: What Nnamdi Kanu’s Freedom Means for Nigerians

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

October 28, 2019

Getting flewed out, avoiding obligations —  all in a day’s work for Nigerian politicians. View this email in your browser 21 – 1 – 2019 This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things leading up to the 2019 General Elections, and why they matter. 5pm. Every Monday. Stay woke.  IT’S 26 DAYS TO […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

More from Citizen

February 3, 2023

This week’s Abroad Life subject is Nigerian diaspora Twitter influencer, Oluomo of Derby, who is the founder of NIUKCommunity, a diasporan community with over 9,500 members. He tells us about his ‘japa’ journey, his inspiration to build a Nigerian “home away from home” and how he’s enlightening his community on the 2023 elections.

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X