Governor El-Rufai has revealed why Boko Haram, bandits can’t be treated like IPOB.
As reported by The Nation, governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State yesterday told those accusing the federal government of giving preferential treatment to Northern bandits that there is no basis for comparison between such gunmen and the re-arrested leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Such critics, according to El-Rufai, are comparing apples to oranges.
The Nation gathered yesterday that the Department of State Security (DSS) which is holding Kanu is now investigating allegations that some state governors and senators from the Southeast were paying the IPOB leader for the purpose of enjoying the protection of his proscribed group.
Also yesterday the Kenyan government denied involvement in the arrest of Kanu, saying it does not want to be dragged into Nigeria’s internal affairs, while a US firm of lobbyists launched a campaign over his matter in Washington.
El-Rufai, speaking in an interview on Pidgin Service of the BBC, said Kanu’s case is different from that of Northern bandits because the IPOB leader “challenges the sovereignty and the authority of a state and incites violence; he refers to his own country as a zoo,” in contrast to the bandits who “are just collections of independent criminals. It is a business for them. It is not a case of Nigeria must break up.”
His words: “I was very happy (when Nnamdi Kanu was arrested) because first, he jumped bail, jeopardising his sureties.
“Secondly, a person that challenges the sovereignty and the authority of a state and incites violence; he refers to his own country as a zoo.
“This should be a message to all these separatists challenging the authority of the Nigerian state to be very careful.
“No! No! No! No! People are comparing apples to oranges.
“Nnamdi Kanu is the leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation. He is identifiable, costably in constant communication and everyone knows where he is.
“Let’s take Boko Haram for instance. Shekau was in hiding and for the past 10 years and the military had been waging a war to get him.
“It is not like Shekau was in Saudi Arabia, sitting in one place, tweeting about the break-up of Nigeria or asking Boko Haram to go and kill Helen and Nasir el-Rufai.
“Nnamdi Kanu is in one place while Shekau is waging guerrilla warfare. The insurgency is still going on and the Federal Government is not giving up.
“Regarding bandits, they are not centralised under one leadership. Who is the head of the bandits? Who is the equivalent of Nmandi Kanu with banditry?
“Bandits are just collections of independent criminals. It is a business for them. It is not a case of Nigeria must break up.
“I want to challenge anyone to tell me the central leader of bandits in the same position as Kanu.”
Detectives probe govs, senators over protection money paid to Kanu
The Nation gathered yesterday that detectives were probing allegations that Kanu was on the payroll of some state governors in the Southeast and senators from the geo-political zone for the purpose of protecting them from attack by IPOB.
Also being investigated for the same allegations are ex-governors, businessmen, politicians and groups.
It was learnt that investigators were strong on clues of local funding of IPOB.
It was gathered that most of the funds were secretly channeled to IPOB.
The Federal Government on Thursday said preliminary investigation has led to the uncovering of Kanu’s collaborators.
A top source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Detectives have stumbled on clues that certain individuals and groups have been paying protection fees to IPOB against attacks.
“Some of these individuals had been overwhelmed with fears and they had to dole out funds to IPOB to show their loyalty.
“Others who believe in IPOB’s cause have been surreptitiously providing funds to this illegal body to make the secessionist bid successful.
“So far, there is appreciable evidence of local funding which investigators are tracing. Some bigwigs have been paying protection fees.”
Responding to a question, the source added that detectives are looking at “clues on governors, ex-governors, businessmen, politicians and groups that have been allegedly paying cash secretly to IPOB against attacks.
“We have not been able to verify any case but some governors had even offered to meet and negotiate with IPOB leaders.
“A few others have been defending Kanu as if they have other interests than the unity and sovereignty of Nigeria.
“Nigerians will soon be briefed on the findings of investigators.”
There were also indications that the British High Commission in Nigeria may offer consular service to Kanu not only because he is a British citizen but because the penalty of the charges against him is death penalty.
A source said: “The British High Commission is interested in the arrest of Kanu not only because he is a citizen of Britain but due to the nature of the case with death penalty.
“Any case attracting the death penalty for its citizens, Britain does not joke with it. So far, the High Commission is ready to offer consular service.
“As I am talking to you, the High Commission is yet to have access to Kanu.”
US lobbyists launch campaign for Kanu
A US firm of lobbyists, BW Global Group LLC, yesterday launched a campaign for Kanu, claiming he was illegally detained and repatriated to Nigeria.
The firm, which was personally hired last March by Kanu, said he was captured in another country “via an unlawful rendition by the Nigerian Security Forces.”
It added that his rendition “would violate international law.
The lobbyists said a complaint on the matter has been lodged with the British High Commission in Nigeria
DSS permits Kanu to meet with his lawyers
Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, yesterday confirmed that the Department of State Security (DSS) has approved an application he filed to meet with his client.
“Update, thankfully our effort is yielding the desired result. We have just received a communication approving our visit to our client- Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“Shall keep the world posted on the outcome immediately after the meeting, later in the day. God is with us,” Ejofor tweeted.
Kanu was taken to court on Tuesday just moments after the federal government announced his re-arrest.
He had fled Nigeria after jumping bail in respect of charges of terrorism, treasonable felony and illegal possession of firearms leveled against him.
Kanu’s IPOB had earlier yesterday protested the inaccessibility of Kanu by his counsel.
The group said it was all part of the plot by the state to starve Kanu to death or poison him in detention.
It said: “The mission they could not actualise in September 14, 2017 when soldiers invaded his Afaraukwu home during Operation Python Dance is what they want to actualise now.
“His health has been deteriorating in the DSS cell as he has refused to eat their food since almost one week they kidnapped him.
“We demand that DSS should allow him access to his lawyers and family members for this is his lawful right.
“South East governors and Ohaneze including politicians in the region must ensure that nothing bad happens to Nnamdi Kanu because Miyetti Allah and sympathisers of terrorists are going free in the country but ordinary person and innocent citizens are being molested everyday because they are Biafrans. We won’t accept that.”
FG should arrest Miyetti Allah leaders – Benue groups
Three social-cultural groups in Benue State, the Mdzough U Tiv, MUT, Opiatoha K’ Idoma and Omi Ny’Igede yesterday challenged the federal government to arrest leaders of Miyetti Allah in the same way IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested.
The groups representing the Tiv, Idoma and Igede people at a joint press conference in Makurdi said herdsmen have killed more people and displaced hundreds in Benue yet they are going about freely.
Represented by retired Police Commissioner Iorbee Ihagh, AVM Tony Adokwu (rtd), and Dr. Ben Okpa for Tiv, Idoma and Igede respectively, said killer herdsmen posed more danger to Nigeria and Nigerians than anybody else.
They said they were “deeply concerned and worried that the FG has refused to look inwards by arresting leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other violent Fulani groups who openly threaten and carry out attacks on communities in Benue and other states of this country without any form of resistance.
“If the same energy expended in arresting Nnamdi Kanu can’t be applied to arrest ‘terrorists’ who are freely walking on the streets of Abuja and other cities of Nigeria, then it is questionable.
“It is public knowledge that the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, in a recent address, alluded to the fact that foreign herdsmen are living inside forests across Nigeria and are responsible for the banditry and other terrorist activities in the country.
“Incidentally, these people have known links that speak out when some of the attacks are carried out. Unfortunately, they have never been invited for questioning by security agencies. What a fight against insecurity.
“We wish to state unequivocally that in Benue State, militia herdsmen are 95 per cent behind insecurity and hunger. They threaten, attack and claim responsibility for the killings.
“We wonder why the FG turns a deaf ear to such insolence. What a selective justice!”