Missing radical leader of Nigerian secessionists Nnamdi Kanu re-appears in Israel

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The missing leader of the Indigenous People’s of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who disappeared last year after security forces stormed his family residence in Abia state, has been sighted in Israel, radio Biafra reported on Friday.

Radio Biafra also published the pictures of Kanu repordtedly praying in Jerusalem, Israel.

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It was not clear when the pictures were taken. But multiple Nigerian outlets reported that Kanu was alive and had been sighted in the Holy City.

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Nnamdi Kanu alive

Last September, the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, said Kanu was well in London, United Kingdom.

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At a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Mr Onyeama was asked by TODAY NEWS AFRICA‘s Simon Ateba “where is Nnamdi Kanu?”

The minister did not give a direct answer, but quoted the former governor of Abia State, Uzor Kalu, as saying in a recent interview that Nnamdi Kanu was “safe and sound in London and no one should worry about him”.

Onyeama said he was only repeating what Kalu said that Nnamdi Kanu who disappeared last year was in London but gave no answer of his own.

He insisted that he was not quoting himself but was only quoting Kalu, adding that if the information was not correct, the quote was not from him, but from someone else.

Orji Uzor Kalu, former governor of Abia state

Kanu disappeared on 14 Seprember 2017 after Nigerian soldiers stormed his home in Afara-Ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State.

His legal team, family, friends and supporters claimed the IPOB leader was either killed in the invasion by the army or was abducted and detained by the soldiers.

Nnamdi Kanu

But the army has said that Kanu was not in its custody.

The Federal Government of Nigeria proscribed IPOB on September 20, 2017, just days after Kanu disappeared.

Since his disappearance, many have been wondering about his whereabouts. 

In New York, Onyeama was asked about his whereabouts. He said the question about his whereabouts was interesting and simply quoted Uzor Kalu, saying that he is well and in London.

Onyeama was addressing journalists to preview Nigeria priorities for the 73rd UN General Assembly high-level week.

He said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s top focus would be “to communicate to the global community what we have been doing in Nigeria, challenges we face, achievements that we’ve made and our road map for the future”.

Mr Onyeama, who noted that Nigeria was on full election mood, listed President Buhari’s achievements in the areas of security, the fight against corruption and the economy.


Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, addresses journalists at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday, 21 September 2018. Photo: Emmanuel Ikodor, TODAY NEWS AFRICA

He said Boko Haram, the deadly Islamist group that has been wreaking havoc in Nigeria’s northeast region, as well as Cameroon, Niger and Chad since 2009, had been significantly degraded, although not completely crushed. 

“It’s still not completely over, but the group has been very significantly degraded,” he said during a press briefing at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

He listed other security challenges, including clashes between herders and farmers in the middle belt and militant agitations in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, but said the government had successfully dealt with them.

Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, addresses journalists at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Friday, 21 September 2018. Photo: Emmanuel Ikodor, TODAY NEWS AFRICA

Mr Onyeama praised President Buhari’s fight against corruption, funds recovered, the whistle-blower policy, but acknowledged that funds stolen and stashed abroad were hard to repatriate even after court orders due to complications from foreign governments.

He also praised the administration for its economic successes, including in agriculture. He said the government has also been paying close attention to education with social investment programs.

Onyeama said President Buhari who would be in New York for the UN General Assembly would hold high level interactions, including bilateral meetings with several heads of state and government, but did not mention them. He did not also disclose specific events the Nigerian leader would be attending.

On the arms deal with the United States, he said Nigeria paid upfront and the combat jets would be delivered by 2020. He was not sure of how much was paid, only recollecting that it could have been between $100 million and $200 million.


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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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