Several claims are making the rounds on the exact location where the self-acclaimed leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was rearrested on June 29, 2021.
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, announced in a recent press conference the re-apprehension of the Biafran fugitive, but did not disclose the country from where he was extradited to Nigeria.
Similarly, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who also recently addressed journalists in Abuja on the same development, did not reveal where Kanu was detained before his extradition.
This has fuelled speculations, misinformation and disinformation on social media, including the mainstream media.
Where was Kanu rearrested and detained before he was handed over to Nigeria?
Archbishop of Enugu Provence, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma, claimed that Kanu was rearrested in Brazil.
In a reaction to Kanu’s extradition, Chukwuma claimed that Kanu “played into the hands of Nigerian Intelligence Agency, who set him up with a woman from London to Brazil, where he was arrested and then tranquilised to the point of bringing him to Nigeria.”
A professor of Journalism and Emerging Media at Kennesaw State University, USA, Professor Farooq Kperogi, claimed on his official Facebook page that Kanu was apprehended and handed over to Nigeria at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“Nnamdi Kanu’s arrest and repatriation from Addis Ababa on June 29 is neither unusual nor indefensible because there is irrefutable material evidentiary proof of his habitual incitement of mass murder,” Professor Kperogi claimed in an articled published on his Facebook page on July 3, 2021.
Meanwhile, Kanu’s sibling, Kingsley Kanu, claimed the IPOB’s leader was arrested in Kenya.
In a recent statement, Kingsley said Kenyan authorities detained his brother until he was extradited to Nigeria.
“My brother has been subject to extraordinary rendition by Kenya and Nigeria. They have violated the most basic principles of the rule of law,” Kingsley Kanu claimed.
Similarly, IPOB claimed Kanu was arrested in Kenya
The group, in a statement published on July 1, 2021 by its media and publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, claimed that the Kenyan President was “strongly involved in the present predicament of Kanu.”
Also, Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said Kanu was arrested by the Kenya’s government, detained for eight days before handing him over to Nigerian authorities.
However, some Nigerian newspapers have also made claims, relying on undisclosed sources, on the exact location where Kanu was arrested.
For instance, The Punch newspaper also published that its source claimed Kanu was arrested while leaving Israel.
“A source disclosed that Kanu was arrested while leaving Israel for an unknown country but this could not be independently verified,” the paper published on June 30, 2021 in a report entitled “Kanu’s arrest: ACF demands caution, Archbishop alleges woman trapped IPOB leader”.
Similarly, THISDAY newspaper also reported that Kanu was picked up from Ethiopia.
“Reliable security sources told THISDAY yesterday that Kanu was rearrested in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by Interpol following an intensive search for him by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in collaboration with its foreign counterparts,” the paper published on June 30, 2021 in a report entitled “Nnamdi Kanu Now Dot in a Circle, Arrested in Addis Ababa, Remanded”.
On June 29, 2021, THEWILL authoritatively reported that Kanu was arrested in Ethiopia and extradited to Nigeria.
In a report captioned, “EXCLUSIVE: Finally In DSS Custody, Nnamdi Kanu Arrested In Ethiopia”, THEWILL said “Kanu was thereafter intercepted in Ethiopia by joint security operatives of the government and INTEPOL and extradited to Nigeria.”
In addition, a viral social media message claimed that Kanu left for Nigeria and was not arrested outside Nigeria.
The claim, published by a handle, @Xpsilver1, claimed Kanu was neither arrested in the United Kingdom nor in Israel.
But what do the facts say about where Kanu was rearrested and extradited to Nigeria?
The Nigerian government has not disclosed where the IPOB leader was rearrested.
The spokesman of British High Commission in Nigeria, Dean Hurlock, confirmed that Kanu was not arrested in the UK.
“We can confirm that Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested in the UK for extradition purposes,” he said.
Kenya’s immigration chief, Alexander Muteshi, told the Daily Nation of Kenya that Kanu was not arrested in Kenya.
“I can’t know that,” Muteshi told Nation in response to a question on Kanu’s arrest. “I am not in the picture of his presence in the country. I am only able to tell if somebody entered the country legally.”
The Kenyan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Amb. Wilfred Machage, has also denied Kenya’s involvement in the extradition.
“I want to address this allegation by denying that Kenya was involved in the alleged arrest and extradition to Nigeria of Mr Kanu, and I repeat, I want to address this allegation by denying that Kenya was involved,” Machage said.
He added that “Rwanda, Czech Republic, Britain, Ethiopia, and God knows which other country” had also been named as where the extradition happened.
“I want to challenge anyone with facts relating to this arrest through Kenya to present these facts,” he said.
In sum, until these facts emerge, especially from the Nigerian government or the government of the country where the extradition happened, the exact location where Kanu was rearrested will continue to be a subject of speculation.