Nnamdi Kanu is a British/Nigerian political activist, political economist and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). He was born on 25th September 1967 in London, United Kingdom to Nigerian parents. He is currently 53 years old. He is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The main aim of IPOB is to create an independent state for the people of old Eastern Region of Nigeria through referendum.
Nnamdi Kanu is the director of a UK registered radio station named Radio Biafra. On 14th October 2015, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Lagos and charged for treason by President Buhari government. He was detained for more than one year, despite various court orders that ruled for his release. When in court, Nnamdi Kanu appeared regularly wearing a Jewish prayer shawl and head covering. He said in court, that he believes in Judaism and considers himself a Jew and oftentimes has led his Biafran people to various Jewish prayers and religious observations.
On 28th April 2017, Nnamdi Kanu was released from prison on bail. Nnamdi Kanu was born in Isiama Afara Ukwu, a small town in Umuahia, Abia State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. His father is a king. He is a traditional ruler of Isiama Afara Ukwu. His father’s name is Eze Israel Okwu Kanu (JP) and his mother’s name is Ugoeze Nnenne Kanu.
Nnamdi Kanu attended Library Avenue Primary School Umuahia and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate. After which he proceeded to Government College Umuahia and obtained his West African Senior School Certificate. After completing his primary and secondary school education, Nnamdi Kanu attended University of Nigeria Nsukka and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and Master Degree in Political Science before proceeding to the United Kingdom to further his education. While in the UK he attended London Metropolitan University and obtained a doctorate Degree in Political Science.
On 5th September 2015, Nnamdi Kanu was a guest speaker at the World Igbo Congress which was held in Los Angele, California in the United States of America, where he told his audience “we need guns and we need bullets to earn our freedom”. In an interview in June 2017, Nnamdi Kanu explained his comment saying that he demanded for bullets and guns from a group of US-based Nigerians for self-defense against the incessant attacks on Igbos by Fulani herdsmen which were currently reoccurring in Biafra lands.
Nnamdi Kanu’s pronounced strategy has been the application of civil disobedience in pressing home his demand for the freedom of his people. In various air broadcasts, Nnamdi Kanu stated how his adoption of Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi’f forms of civil disobedience will lead to the “restoration of Biafra”. In an interview granted to Newsweek, Nnamdi Kanu opined his belief in the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.
During the 2019 presidential election, Nnamdi Kanu threatened to boycott the election. According to the leader of IPOB, boycott is a multi-faceted approach. It is civil disobedience, passive resistance; it is an expression of our resentment of Nigeria and what it represents. His position on election boycotts was widely criticized by local Nigerian politicians who argued to the contrary. On the eve of the election, Nnamdi Kanu lifted the boycott position and urged Biafrans to participate in the election after which he described his condition as signed, sealed and delivered. His shift was received in different quarters as being open to the appeal and opinions of others.
On 18th October 2015, it was reported that Nnamdi Kanu had been arrested in Lagos by Nigerian secret police known as Department of State Service (DSS). However, during his trial, Nnamdi Kanu told his solicitors that on 14th October 2015, he was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) in his hotel room at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria. The solicitors in a press briefing said, between 14 and 17 October 2015 their client’s whereabouts were unknown until 18th October 2015, when the press media broke the news of his arrest and detention by the SSS in Abuja. The news of the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu generated protests across Delta State, Enugu State, Rivers State, Cross River State, Abia State, Imo State, Akwa Ibom Sate, Bayelsa State and Anambra State.
On 19th October 2015, it was reported that Nnamdi Kanu had been granted bail after a secret arraignment at a Magistrate Court, Wuse 11 in Abuja the capital city of Nigeria. However, the bail seemed “controversial” and there were claims that the DSS announced the bail only “to calm the angry people of Biafra”. The Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Abuja on 18th November 2015 ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to produce Nnamdi Kanu at the court on 23rd November 2015.
However, it was reported that the Department of State Service (DSS) obtained a “secret court order to detain Nnamdi Kanu”. Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, Obetta, in an interview said whilst in court, the prosecutor gave him a document containing a court order permitting the Department of State Service (DSS) to detain Nnamdi Kanu for the next three months to “conclude what they said was an investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing”.
Nnamdi Kanu was finally arraigned on 23rd November 2015 in an Abuja Magistrate Court for the first time for charges of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and membership of an illegal organization by Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS). Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu’s supporters stormed Abuja in luxury buses on a peaceful protest for their leader who was arraigned by the Federal Government before the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court, Abuja on 23rd November 2015.
More protests by IPOB members numbering over 15,000 grounded vehicular movements in the southeastern key economic city of Onitsha and protest for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. It was the same with over 20,000 protesters in Aba, Abia state on the same day.
Nnamdi Kanu, through his counsel, filed an application asking the federal authorities to transfer him from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) to prison. His lawyer, Obetta, insisted that transferring his client to prison would enable him to have easy access to his legal team. Whilst in court, the Department of State Service (DSS) requested the Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ Court, to discontinue the trial of Nnamdi Kanu under section 108(1) of administration of criminal justice act 2015.
Idakwo further stated that the Department of State Service (DSS) had obtained an order from the Federal High Court in Abuja, dated, 10th November, to detain the accused in its custody for 90 days. However, Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer Obetta objected to the continued detention of his client. Obetta prayed the court not to discontinue the case because the prosecution did not present any information from the Attorney-General of Nigeria Federation who had the authority to approve such.
Obetta also told the court that “the DSS violated the order of the court which granted bail that was perfected but not granted, adding that the accused had been in Department of State Service (DSS) custody since he was arrested. The court’s magistrate, after listening to both counsels, adjourned the matter until 1 December 2015 for ruling.
On 20 October 2015, Nnamdi Kanu was released on bail. However, media sources supporting the objectives of IPOB called the bail “controversial” and claimed the DSS announced the bail only “to calm the angry people of Biafra”. Nnamdi Kanu was later released on bail by Justice Binta Nyako for health reasons.
Nnamdi Kanu disappeared from public view after his home was raided by the Nigerian military in September 2017. There had been speculations regarding his whereabouts for over a year with members of his IPOB accusing the Buhari government of masterminding his abduction. He later reappears in October 2018 after photographs and videos of him in Israel were widely circulated on social media.
However, he has continued to tour various countries in Europe while a case of treason brought against him by the government of Nigeria continues to lie pending. Nnamdi Kanu has since the beginning of his advocacy made highly controversial comments on various occasions. Sometime in 2017, a video of Nnamdi Kanu was released wherein he issued an open death threat to former Nigerian president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
He had told a gathering of supporters at his home that if any harm comes to him, members of IPOB should eliminate Obasanjo and his lineage. This was in reference to Obasanjo’s statement at a gathering in Abuja that all must be done to Stop IPOB. Nnamdi Kanu is very famous and influential. He has an estimated net worth of over $15 million.