FOR four years since he jumped bail and fled the country, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been a pain in the ass of the Buhari-led federal government. From his far away unknown safe haven, Kanu, the leader of the already proscribed secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), continued to dish out continuous attacks on Nigeria through his social media pages and Radio Biafra, an online media station which he founded.
Through his activism, which demands emancipation and independence of Biafra, the self-acclaimed warlord has continued to garner sympathies and dogged followers, who identify with his course and ideology. Therefore, it was no surprise when in December, 2020, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) sprang up as a military unit of IPoB, with claims of provision of security for the South Eastern Region against the marauding Fulani herdsmen and illegal activities of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the region.
With Nigeria’s leadership and governance languishing in bigotry, nepotism, identity politics, maladministration and poverty, restiveness and bloodshed, Kanu garnered momentum that can be likened to that of a mini-god, a saviour.
So it was a shock to most people, when Kanu, in his Fendi inspired designer wear, was arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja, and an order was issued to have him detained by the Department of State Security (DSS) till July 26, 2021, when he will face charges against him.
Subsequently, in a press conference, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, while reading Kanu’s crimes which includes sedition, ethnic incitement and treasonable felony, stated that he was arrested with the collaborative efforts of Nigeria Intelligence and Security Services.
While the re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu might seem as a win for Nigerian government in her attempt to clamp down secessionist movements and other acts which threaten the unity of the federation, it is not so in its entirety. Rather, Kanu’s case could be likened to a tick stuck on the scrotum of a man. Such cases demand diplomacy, fairness, rather than high-handedness and brutality to avoid escalation. If found guilty as charged, the sentence could be death or at least, life imprisonment. Either way, the government is likely going to make Kanu a hero (at least amongst his people/followers) and the agitation for Biafra would go on. For some reasons, Kanu is winning the government on PR warzone.
The Buhari-led administration has found itself often in the abuse of human rights, especially down south. The administration, through its activities, continue to be at the wrong side of public opinions. The administration has failed to fulfill any of her campaign promises but have succeeded in fueling and aiding national division. Through the abuse of human rights, disposal of federal character in national appointments, corruption, injustice, insecurities and clear-cut affinity for the core Muslim/Fulani North over other regions, the country has long been on a keg of gunpowder.
For the umpteenth time, Kanu’s arrest provides the opportunity for the federal government to turn a new leaf, to call agitators to the table of diplomacy and for all to lay bare their aggressions while admitting to the wrongs committed. Now is the time to make things right and not just stating that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable. There’s need to address the foundation that continues to spring up an Ojukwu, Kanu, Dokubo and Tompolo. If there’s no conscious effort to bring all to the table and discuss these national questions with conscious efforts of attaining justice and fairness, then, the country is on course for more agitations and potential implosion.