Claim: A Facebook user earlier this month shared a video with the claim that IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been released from prison.
Verdict: False! There is no evidence that Nnamdi Kanu has been released from prison.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a prominent British-Nigerian political activist renowned for his advocacy and demand for the South East secession from Nigeria. He is the leader and founder of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra or IPOB, a group established in 2014.
Nnamdi Kanu is also the Director of Radio Biafra, a radio station in the United Kingdom, which Kanu has deployed to propagate his secession message.
Kanu was arrested on October 14, 2015, on 11 counts of charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matters, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others. Soon after, he was released after being granted bail by Justice Binta Nyako.
However, he was re-arrested on June 27, 2021, and has since been behind bars.
The three-minute video posted on October 10, at 11:45 am, by a user called Billionaire Blogger, claimed that Kanu has been released.
The video started with a woman jubilating about the release of Nnamdi Kanu from prison. She said, “My people dem don release Nnamdi Kanu oooo.”
Backing it up with her native dialect and much more emphasis, she kept saying, “God is wonderful, I tell una say dem go release am, God is wonderful.”
Still, excitedly, she added, “Nnamdi Kanu, you are blessed, you are favoured. They will give you the next president, in the mighty name of Jesus.”
She also encouraged people to watch and share the video so that people would see it worldwide.
The video continued with the same testimony from a man who said that Nnamdi Kanu was released a day before.
Moving further with his detail, he said, “The Court of Appeal don talk am say, it is very wrong for a country to breach territorial integrity by going into another country to arrest a man who is a dual citizen, oooooooohhhh.”
According to him, this development seems like an attempt by the Nigerian Government to look for “confusion”.
“Dem go de look Nnamdi Kanu to shout IPOB or Obidient, or weda him go shout Biafra, so that Nigeria go come back to the way it use to be according to agreement made during amalgamation,” he expressed.
He asserted that a pact was established during the 1914 Amalgamation, stipulating that Nigeria would revert to its original fragmented state if, after 100 years, peace and unity remained elusive. This justification was employed to support Kanu’s actions, with 2014 being cited as the year when this agreement was set to expire.
As of Saturday, October 28, 2023, the video had garnered 26,000 likes, 7,000 comments, 6,000 shares, and 952,000 views. While perusing the comments, it became evident that many people were sending congratulatory messages to mark this significant development.
Clement Iyoha, for instance, said, “ Congratulations to King Nnamdi Kanu.”
Another user, Ifeanyi Paul Abamba, also said, “ Congratulations my brother, congratulation, congratulation.
Hilary Kalu, a user who is inquisitive and excited, said, “ Are you serious? I can’t wait to see my hero back home. I love this man Nnamdi Kanu with passion.”
Prime Progress, amidst all this, decided to pick it up from there to be sure if the claim had any element of truth in it.
Nnamdi Kanu is a prominent figure in the Nigerian media landscape, and news of his release would undoubtedly have generated significant attention. However, when Prime Progress conducted a Google search on the information, there was no single report or statement corroborating the claim of the recent release of the IPOB leader.
In fact, on August 28, 2023, Vanguard, a prominent Nigerian media outlet,reported that a Nigeria House of Representatives ad hoc committee had called for the “unconditional” release of the IPOB leader. Still, it did not confirm that he would be released, as such information was not provided in the article.
Furthermore, on October 5, 2023, Punch Newspaper reported that the Supreme Court had set December 15 as the date for delivering a judgment on the appeal aiming to compel the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu, raising questions as to how and why Kanu would be set free before this day.
Also, recent news reports on October 28 indicate a call by elders from the South-South, South-East, South West and Middle Belt, at a meeting they held in Abuja for the unconditional release of Kanu. This call would not be necessary if Kanu had been released earlier in the month.
In conclusion, the news that Nnamdi Kanu has been released is false, as there is no credible news report backing the claim.