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Nnamdi Kanu: Dead Or Alive? By Ozodinukwe Okenwa

March 1, 2022

Kanu's lawyers had said that a set of clothes delivered to the IPOB/ESN leader was rejected by the DSS.


The prosecuted (detained) leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has a date with justice yet again on the 18th day of April this year. Kanu is not yet convicted of any crime even though he had pleaded not guilty to the many charges preferred against him by the Federal Government. The charges included terrorism and illegal formation of a paramilitary force named the Eastern Security Network (ESN). Of course the establishment of the ESN seemed to be a turning point in the violent agitation for the Biafran sovereign nationhood.


Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Federal High Court had ruled that Mazi Kanu should be allowed by the detaining Department of State Services (DSS) authorities to be visited twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) by his lawyers and family members. Again, she had ruled that Kanu, always wearing a Fendi white designer clothes since his extra-ordinary rendition from Kenya, be allowed to change his unique attire.


Now, on the issue of change of clothes Kanu still appeared before Justice Nyako on the same clothes the last time he was present in court. The reason given officially was that Kanu preferred the traditional 'isi-agu' wear, a popular attire with the head of the lion embroidered on it. Kanu's lawyers had said that a set of clothes delivered to the IPOB/ESN leader was rejected by the DSS.


The presiding Judge had intervened in the matter but like the DSS she had equally refused the acceptance of Kanu appearing before her decked immaculately in the 'isi-agu' Igbo attire. So it is Fendi or nothing else?


Like the veteran Nollywood actor, Chiwetalu Agu, who was arrested in Onitsha, Anambra State, some months ago by the patrolling soldiers because he wore a dress bearing the colours of Biafra with a rising sun embroidered on it Kanu had been forbidden to wear 'isi-agu' to court in order not to fan the embers of separatism.


So wearing 'isi-agu' traditional clothes or a flowing robe in the colours of the Biafran flag is now a crime punishable by arrest or whatever? Pray, if Kanu had offered to wear a flowing garb designed with green and white colours would Justice Nyako or the DSS raise any objections? Or if he chose to appear wearing a tee-shirt with Buhari's picture on it?


For the past three weeks or thereabout the DSS had reportedly been denying Kanu's lawyers and brothers access to him. Each time they went in there to see him the DSS had one convenient reason or excuse to throw about or put forward. The lawyers had dutifully raised alarm lamenting their inability to see and converse with their client.


The crucial question (despite the recent assurances given by Kanu's lawyers about his safety and sound health) thus arises following the initial revelation from the defense team as regards his current situation and whereabout. Was Kanu dead, missing or is he alive and well? Is he healthy enough or suffering from an ailment?


Well, his supporters can as well be rest assured that their champion is still hale and hearty even behind bars. Freedom for him in particular and Biafrans in general may not be nigh. Hence the need for the intensification of prayers and legal interventions.


Before the latest intervention by lawyer Ejiofor and co we had prayed and hoped that Mazi Kanu was alive and well. In the event, however, that he is poisoned, killed or detained incommunicado we hold that full disclosure be demanded and obtained. The Buhari regime cannot afford to eliminate Kanu clandestinely!


Yet, the Nigerian state is reputed globally to be a killing machine run by state terrorists masquerading as leaders. Some are in uniforms and others politicians of fortune or circumstance. They use crude and rude methods and tactics to drive home their points. They pretend to fight terrorists up north when they, themselves, are glorified terrorists!


The list of resolved and unresolved state terrorism - assassination, arbitrary detention and kidnapping - included the late Bola Ige, a serving Minister killed brutally in his home in Ibadan during 'Babacracy'. It included the systematic elimination of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential poll, Bashorun MKO Abiola. It included the hanging of the playwright and environmentalist, Ken Saro-Wiwa.


Mazi Kanu, in the minds of many Biafrans, is fighting a just cause for freedom for which history would remember him just like the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. Whether alive or dead is secondary!


The young man from Abia State had suffered a whole lot of physical and mental torture right from Nairobi where he was captured and subjected to inhuman treatment for weeks prior to his rendition to Nigeria where he is now being persecuted further, nay prosecuted.


But in the face of these challenges he has thus far given no sign of frustration, intimidation or broken spirit! He maintains a dignified personality bearing his 'cross' with uncommon equanimity.


The road to the Biafran independent nationhood is littered with blood, tears and sorrow. Yet, with determination and perseverance the dream of a new nation of the rising sun still could materialise in our beleaguered generation. Unless Nigeria commits itself to a radical restructuring accommodating every Adam and Eve, Ijaw, Yoruba, Efik, Tiv, Igbo and other minorities then Biafra remains a great project worth executing and accomplishing.


Let Mazi Kanu 'enjoy' the privileges the court ordered. The last time we checked he is yet to be declared guilty of any crime by a court of competent jurisdiction. So in the eye of the law he is still innocent.


He must not die!


SOC Okenwa

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