CLAIM: Nnamdi Kanu has been released from DSS’ custody.
VERDICT: False. A recent tweet by the legal counsel to IPOB implies that the separatist leader is still in the custody of the state’s secret police. Meanwhile, news outlets report the pleas made by state players for Mr Kanu’s release.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has continued to be remanded in a holding facility of the Defense State Security (DSS) despite the appellate court’s order to release him.
The embattled IPOB leader had witnessed eight of the 15 counts against him dropped in April 2022, and the remaining seven also struck out in Oct. 2022. However, Mr Kanu is yet to be released by the state secret police.
Amidst the development, a Facebook user identified as Billionaire Blogger posted a video where a lady and man stated that the IPOB leader had finally been released.
“God is wonderful. Them don release Nnamdi Kanu. Them don release Nnamdi Kanu,” the lady jubilated.
Domiciled in France, according to the video, she hailed the IPOB leader and congratulated him. She further declared that the IPOB leader will emerge as the next president of Nigeria.
The lady also requested other Facebook users who would come across the video to share it around.
Her male counterpart, who appeared on the video after she had ended her appeal, also reiterated the claim that Mr Kanu has been released. He stated that the court had ordered the release of the IPOB leader because Mr Kanu’s arrest breached territorial laws since he enjoyed dual citizenship.
“It is very wrong for a country to breach territorial integrity by going into another country to arrest a man who is a dual citizen,” he said.
He further stated that he viewed the government’s decision to release the IPOB leader as bait to lure Mr Kanu to incite either ethnic or political insurrection. He reclined his belief against the backdrop of the 1914 amalgamation that was signed to bind the southern protectorate, the northern protectorate and the colony together as an independent state.
He spoke of an “agreement” that was made during the amalgamation to go back from it if the needed peace and harmony were not achieved after 100 years. According to him, that time elapsed in 2014. As a result, any party is at liberty to walk out of the pact to the former status quo without defaulting on any legal obligation related to the agreement.
He added that due to the discovery of oil in the lands of the southern part of the country, the authorities have refused the legitimacy for any perceived secession, declaring there is peace in the country.
He said Mr Kanu only tried to spotlight the country’s lack of peace and harmony. Although they arrested him, the separatist leader has now been released.
Already, the post has generated 23,000 likes, over 6,000 comments, and 835,000 views as of Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.
Most of those in the comment section only found the video incredibly true and were quick to text in their “congratulations.”
“Congratulations to you, sir.” Double Clear1 commented.
“A big congratulations to the hero of our time.” Nancy Ndubisi wrote.
However, we were not ready to take the news at face value, so we verified its authenticity.
A keyword search enabled us to locate a Daily Post report dated Thursday, Oct 19, 2023. The report amplifies a social media text message by Mr Kanu’s special counsel, Aloy Ejimakor.
The paper reports that Mr Ejimakor perceived his principal’s arrest and subsequent detention by former president Muhammadu Buhari as ethnically motivated and unlawful.
Daily Post indicated that the legal practitioner had written the message on X (formerly Twitter) and further tagged the handle of the president, President Bola Tinubu, not to do the same as his predecessor had done. Consequently, we looked up the post on X and found it.
“Buhari’s detention of MAZI NNAMDI KANU was not based on law but on the politics of tribalism that has dogged Nigeria since time. Tinubu (@officialABAT) shouldn’t validate it. #FreeMNK,” part of the message reads.
We noticed the hashtag “#FreeMNK,” which only seems to suggest that the IPOB leader is still in detention and has not been released yet.
In another development, the ImoState governor, Uche Nwosu, made a plea to release Mr Kanu.
Mr Nwosu was appealing to the president, President Bola Tinubu, to release Mr Kanu ahead of the gubernatorial election in Imo State for peace to reign in the state.
A Guardian newspaper report also tells of the decision of the supreme socio-cultural group in the southeast, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to seek the release of Mr Kanu by the end of the year.
The paper further reports that the indigenous group beckoned on all its Biafran supporters to abstain from exercising any aggressive action for 40 days, beginning from October 31, 2023. The announcement was said to have been made by the group’s Secretary-General, Okechukwu Isiguzoro.
The claim is false. No public or material evidence suggests that Mr Kanu has been released from detention. Rather, available information only shows that the IPOB leader is still in the custody of the secret police.