The Nigerian government on Friday blamed the Nnamdi Kanu-led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its military wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), for some violent attacks in Lagos and other parts of the country during the October 2020 #EndSARS protest.
Abubakar Malami, the justice minister, said Mr Kanu, through his online broadcasts, instigated the large scale destruction of public assets during the #EndSARS protest particularly in Lagos, as well as the South-east and South-south regions.
The AGF addressed journalists in Abuja on the update on investigations on Mr Kanu and another separatist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
He said Mr Kanu set up the ESN, an armed wing of IPOB, to carry out “subversive activities” against Nigeria.
Violent activities of IPOB have always been known to be restricted to the South-east, where the ESN violently enforces a sit-at-home order on Mondays, and the South-south region.
Friday would be the first time major violent attacks would be linked to the proscribed group outside the two regions.
Mr Malami said the IPOB leader, who is currently standing trial on an amended seven-count charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja, desecrated and looted the Oba of Lagos Palace under the cover of #EndSARS anti-police brutality protest in Lagos in October 2020.
Abubakar Malami [Source – The Guardian, Nigeria]The internet was awash with video clips and photos of the invasion and looting of the palace by those considered to be hoodlums who hijacked the #EndSARS protest at that time
Some the marauders made away with the Oba’s staff of office, shoes and other paraphernalia of office.
The Oba himself, Rilwan Akiolu, was rescued and evacuated from the palace by security agents.
“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,” Mr Malami said on Friday.
Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu
He added, “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.”
He blamed the IPOB/ESN for similar attacks in Lagos.
“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.”
He added that “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 vandalised.”
Mr Malami blamed the group for 10 attacks in the three regions of the southern part of the country.
IPOB [Photo Credit: Daily Post Nigeria]“As a result of these broadcasts, members of IPOB attacked and killed security personnel and burnt down police stations, correctional centers, INEC offices, bus terminals, the Palace of Oba of Lagos, banks, hospitals, shopping malls and vehicles, amongst others,” the AGF alleged.
Mr Malami said the press conference was meant to intimate Nigerians on the findings of a presidential ad-hoc committee investigative that was set up to inquire into the causes of widespread violence in Nigeria’s South-east region, following Mr Kanu’s re-arrest and repatriation from Kenya to Nigeria last June.
Giving a list of prominent Nigerians who have been allegedly killed by the ESN operatives on orders of Mr Kanu, the AGF named the gruesome killing of All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Ahmed Gulak, on May 30 in Owerri, Imo State.
He highlighted other violent killings to include: Obi 1 of Okwudor autonomous community, Eze E. Anayochukwu Durueburuo and Eze Sampson Osunwa of Ihebineowerre autonomous community as well as the killing of Chike Akunyili, who was the widower of the late Dora Akunyili, and eight others.
The separatist, Mr Kanu, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military in September that year, a situation one of his lawyers, Alloy Ejimakor, described as the “rule of self-preservation.”
A judge subsequently revoked his bail for ditching his trial, and ordered his trial to be separated from the rest of the co-defendants’.
While the trial of the rest of the defendants has made some progress, Mr Kanu’s has been stalled since 2017.
On June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced that Mr Kanu had been rearrested and brought back to Nigeria to continue facing his trial.
He said the IPOB leader was “intercepted” days earlier but did not give details.
Although there has been no official disclosure about where and how Mr Kanu was arrested, relatives and lawyers to the IPOB leader, have described how he was “kidnapped” in Kenya under controversial circumstances.