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Nnamdi Kanu was kidnapped by the Federal Government’ – says Soyinka

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Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, has claimed Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was kidnapped by the Federal Government. 

Kanu was extradited to Nigeria on Sunday, June 27 to face trial after he jumped bail and fled the country in 2017. 

The circumstances surrounding his arrest has stirred controversy as the government did not reveal where he was arrested or the legal framework applied for his arrest.  

Reacting to the arrest while speaking  with BBC Pidgin on Monday, the Nobel laureate said there would be outrage if Nigerians know the truth about Kanu’s arrest. 

“It’s not for me to tell the president to prepare himself because it’s going to be a huge squawk when the truth about how Kanu was arrested comes out. People are alleging this or that. That is one phase whether Nigeria has acted outside international law,” Soyinka said. 

“The second issue, however, has to do with Kanu’s conduct outside the nation. There’s been a level of hate rhetoric which has been unfortunate, from Kanu. Hate rhetoric is an issue that can only be judged by the laws of any nation. 

“Was it right to have been kidnapped?’ You can say intercepted as much as you want but I think Kanu was kidnapped. That is wrong internationally and morally.” 

Soyinka also echoed criticism that the Federal government does not express the same enthusiasm it did when arresting Kanu to when it arrested bandits and insurgents. 

“The government cannot wash itself clean on what seems to be a kind of comparative energy in pursuing the destabilised forces in the nation,” he said. 

“If we take ourselves back, once when I threw a challenge to Buhari, what I expect from a true leader is to issue an order, give a deadline that any illegal occupant of any villages, farms is given 48hours to quit after which the mighty forces of the nation will be unleashed on them. It was ignored. 

“Years later, he came to say ‘we will respond to these people in the language they understand’. This is what I expected him to have said years ago, at the beginning of the insurgency. 

“Their leadership–the Miyetti Allah — should have been arrested years ago, long before IPOB was declared a terrorist organisation.”

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