The self-exiled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) says he has returned fully and is “coming back with hell.”
“I have returned full-time and I am coming home and I will bring hell with me,” Nnamdi Kanu said in his first public statement on a live broadcast on Radio Biafra which commenced 6 p.m. on Sunday.
The live broadcast, monitored on the ‘Radio Biafra’ Facebook page, comes two days after social media went agog over a video showing Mr Kanu praying in Israel 13 months after he disappeared with whereabouts unknown.
His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who had repeatedly accused the Nigerian Army for his client’s disappearance, confirmed the video, saying he had received a direct statement from Mr Kanu saying the video was not doctored.
One of Mr Kanu’s associates, Femi Fani-Kayode, a former aviation minister, also said on Saturday that he received a call from “my brother” (Kanu) and that they are working together to remove President Muhammadu Buhari come 2019.
“We have agreed to work together to vote Buhari out”, he tweeted on his handle @realFFK on Saturday.
Mr Kanu in Sunday’s broadcast, however, said his group is not interested in anything else other than for the government to set a date for a referendum.
“We will not relent till referendum is conducted. We stand for the truth. It’s referendum or nothing else,” he noted.
Mr Kanu has been at the vanguard of the call for an independent Biafra Republic from the Nigerian state through referendum.
The IPOB leader, who is facing charges of treasonable felony at the Federal High Court in Abuja, had called for a boycott of elections in Anambra last November if government failed to set a date for referendum.
The call for boycott failed as clashes occurred last September – two months before the Anambra election, between IPOB members and soldiers when the military commenced an operation in South-east states.
Since then, Mr Kanu’s whereabouts has remained unknown until his reappearance in Friday’s footage and Sunday’s broadcast.
While thanking the governments of the U.S. and Germany for not accepting that IPOB is a terror group, Mr Kanu criticised the Nigerian military and government for invading his country home in Abia State and proscribing the group.
“They are doing all they can to hold us down but we are still here. They fabricate falsehood.
“IPOB is very special. The largest black movement in the world,” he claimed.
Nnamdi Kanu’s breakaway group from the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), was formed in 2009 and enjoys limited support from some Igbos.
Mr Kanu who was based in London, UK, was arrested alongside three others on October 14, 2015 in Lagos. Justice Binta Nyako on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health grounds and adjourned the matter to November. The army and IPOB clashed before the adjourned date.
The judge has since frowned at Mr Kanu’s disappearance and blamed his sureties for Mr Kanu jumping bail.
While the federal government proscribed IPOB and labelled it a terrorist organisation in the wake of the clash, the U.S. government, however, said it does not see IPOB as such.