Nigerian govt accuses Nnamdi Kanu of hijacking #EndSARS protest, causing nationwide destructions

The Nigerian Government has accused detained leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu of hijacking the historic #EndSARS protests last year.

Youths across the country on October 2020 took to the streets to demand extensive police reforms and scrapping of its brutal unit codenamed Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The federal government through the then Inspector General of Police IGP Mohammed Adamu reannounced the disbanding of the police unit often accused of extra-judiciary killing young Nigerians.

The announcement from Mr Adamu did not deter the youths to leave the streets. Their argument was that the October 11, 2020 declaration was not the first, second or third time the brutal unit was dissolved but continued to exist afterwards.

In a bid to convince the demonstrators of being sincere, the police boss announced the formation of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) as replacement two days after. This also did not force the youths who tabled their five-point demands to authorities out of the streets until on October 20, 2020 when soldiers swooped on them at the Lekki tollgate in Lagos and opened live rounds bringing the historic demonstrations to an end.

Before the Lekki invasion, pro-government thugs attempted to stop the determined young populants but all their arsenals, which included unleashing violence, counter-protests, all failed.

The conduct of the soldiers which has been widely condemned necessitated the youths nationwide to go berserk in response to their colleagues massacred at the tollgate. The youths resorted to looting COVID-19 palliatives hoarded at warehouses and burning some police stations.

Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the federation has now blamed the IPOB leader of being responsible for all the rampaging actions of the country’s youths.

Mr Malami at a press conference in Abuja on Friday said the separatist leader hijacked the protest which sought an end to police brutality through his broadcast.

The full text of the briefing, which contained some erroneous points, is reproduced below.

Text of press conference on Friday 22nd October 2021 by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) on investigation reports on alleged acts of terrorism and allied offences perpetrated by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you to this very important press conference.

As you are aware Nnamdi Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been at the centre of a subversive campaign against the Nigerian State. Consequently, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on 14th October 2015. He was charged to court for treasonable felony, among other crimes. He was granted bail by the Federal High Court, Abuja on 25th April 2017. He, however, breached the bail conditions and fled abroad.

While in self-exile, Nnamdi Kanu intensified his subversive campaign, using online Radio Biafra to instigate violence and incite members of IPOB to commit violent attacks against civil and democratic institutions, particularly the security personnel, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and civilians. He instigated the destruction of public and private properties across the country.

As a result of these criminal activities, IPOB was proscribed and designated a terrorist organisation by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in an order made on 20th September 2017.

Despite the proscription of IPOB by the Federal Government, Nnamdi Kanu continued the subversive campaign, instigating and inciting broadcasts to direct members of the IPOB to launch attacks on the government.

The EndSARS protests of October 2020 played into the sinister plans of Nnamdi Kanu, whereby he seized the protests through subversive and inciting online broadcasts and actively commanded and directed attacks on security personnel and facilities.

As a result of these broadcasts, members of IPOB attacked and killed security personnel and burnt down Police stations, Correctional centres, INEC offices, bus terminals, the Palace of Oba of Lagos, Banks, hospitals, shopping malls and vehicles, amongst others.

On 12th December 2020, Eastern Security Network” (ESN) was formed by Nnamdi Kanu as an armed wing of IPOB with the mandate to advance the nefarious agenda of the outlawed group. ESN continued to launch attacks on security personnel, civilians perceived as enemies as well as the destruction of private and public properties.

The destructive activities of IPOB/ESN pose a serious threat to Nigeria’s national security and its corporate existence, which resulted in the re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu and members of his group.

The eventual re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu in June 2021, and some members of his group led to the inauguration of a Presidential Ad-hoc Committee, comprising twenty-four (24) members drawn from:

Federal Ministry of Justice (MoJ),

Federal Ministry of Information (MoI),

Nigeria Police Force (NPF),

Department of State Services (DSS),

National Intelligence Agency (NIA), and

Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA),

The Committee, inaugurated by the President, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), was headed by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The Committee finds as a fact, that consequent upon the instigating directives of Nnamdi Kanu, members of IPOB/ESN carried out massive attacks on democratic institutions especially INEC Facilities with a view to hampering the democratic process in Nigeria. These attacks that were carried out between October 2020 and June 2021 include the following:

That acting on the instigating directives of Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB members and #EndSARS protesters attacked and killed many security agents, destroyed several public and private properties, including police stations, public transport buses and other facilities across the country.

That on 21st October 2020, Nnamdi Kanu through an online call-in radio programme (Radio Biafra), further instigated IPOB members to burn down all police stations and kill government security forces, which was carried out and several security personnel (especially police officers) were killed, and public and private properties destroyed.

One hundred and seventy-five (175) security personnel were killed by IPOB/ESN, comprising one hundred and twenty-eight (128) policemen, thirty-seven (37) military personnel and ten (10) other security operatives;

The killing of prominent Nigerians, (recently there were gruesome killings of traditional leaders: Obi 1 of Okwudor autonomous community, Eze E. Anayochukwu Durueburuo and Eze Sampson Osunwa of Ihebineowerre autonomous community as well as the killings of Dr Chike Akunyili and eight others as well as the killing of Alhaji Ahmed Gulak on 30th May. 2021);

That as a consequence of Nnamdi Kanu’s broadcasts, there were nineteen (19) attacks on INEC facilities that resulted in the destruction of offices as well as burning of eighteen (18) INEC logistical vehicles, several election materials, equipment and ICT gadgets in Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo States;

That one hundred and sixty-four (164) police stations and formations, including Police Headquarters, Owerri, Imo State were attacked by IPOB/ESN leading to the death of one hundred and twenty-eight (128) policemen {as stated in III above}; one hundred forty-four (144) injured while six hundred twenty-eight (628) vehicles were destroyed.

That three hundred and ninety-six (396) firearms and seventeen thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight (17,738) ammunition were carted away during the IPOB/ESN attacks;

That there were three (3) IPOB/ESN attacks on Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS), including the Headquarters of NCoS, Owerri, Imo State where one thousand eight hundred and forty-one (1,841) inmates escaped;

That the Headquarters of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Umuahia, Abia State was also attacked by IPOB/ESN leading to the death of one (1) officer;

That there were several IPOB/ESN attacks and destruction (arson) of public and private properties during the EndSARS and Biafra agitations across the country, especially in the South-East and South-South regions, notably the Palace of the Oba of Lagos where twelve (12) flats were completely looted and vandalized, the country home of the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, was burnt, over one hundred and fifty (150) buses burnt at the Lagos Bus Terminal, Sen. Ndoma Egba’s home in Calabar Municipal, Cross River State, was completely looted and vandalized, Lagos State DNA and Forensic Centre, City Hall Race Course, First Bank Branch Lagos, Lagos State Public Works Commission, Nigeria Port Authority (NPA), Marina, Lagos, High Court Igbosere, Lagos, were all burnt, amongst other heinous crimes committed.

We have also established that Kanu is not alone in his subversive activities. He has accomplices in Nigeria and abroad, individuals and groups as well as state and non-state actors who are aiding and facilitating his campaign against the people and state of Nigeria. Some of the state actors aided KANU, even as a fugitive, in his destructive mission, ignoring the terrorist nature of his activities.

We call on these countries to desist from aiding subversive acts by Kanu and IPOB against the state of Nigeria and its people. Conversely, there are some friendly countries that, recognising the status of IPOB as a terrorist organisation, have either banned the activities of IPOB or placed KANU on Stop List. To these peace-loving countries that have put Kanu on their Stop Lists and banned IPOB from operating in their territories, we express our appreciation.