Fugitive leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, on Tuesday, said he jumped bail and fled the country in 2017 to save his life.
Kanu, who was granted permission to speak during his arraignment at Federal High Court in Abuja said his disappearance was due to the unlawful invasion of his house in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State by security agents.
Dressed in a black tracksuit, Kanu spoke shortly after he was docked before trial Judge Binta Nyako. Before he jumped bail in 2017, he was being tried on 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, improper importation of goods, among others.
Kanu, who was re-arrested and extradited to the country on Sunday stressed that he fled the country to avoid being killed.
He said: “My lord, my house was invaded and people were killed. I would have been killed too if I had not hid myself. That was why I have been unable to attend court.
“I would have been killed the way others were killed when my house was invaded.”
The IPOB leader who was in court without his lawyer, was later asked by the trial judge to get in touch with his legal counsel for briefing on the case as July 26 was fixed as the date for the continuation of the trial.
But scores of journalists waiting to speak with the separatist leader and take snapshots of him outside the courtroom were disappointed as security agents whisked Kanu away through a back door and into their waiting vehicle stationed behind the court premises.
The New Diplomat had earlier reported that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami on Tuesday said the leader of the proscribed IPOB was arrested on Sunday.
Malami, who addressed a press conference at the Ministry of Justice, Abuja, disclosed that Kanu was arrested through the joint efforts of the intelligence and security services.
In the wake of the IPOB agitation which started in 2014, Kanu was arrested on October 14, 2015 on treason charges. He was apprehended in Lagos, Nigeria and was detained for close to two years.
Following a wave of demonstrations that trailed Kanu’s arrest, he was later released on bail on Friday April 28 2017. The trial judge said the bail was granted on health grounds at the time.
But Kanu disappeared in September 2017 following the deployment of troops to the southeastern city of Umuahia.
In his absence, the IPOB foot soldiers have carried on with the Biafra separatist agitation he championed. Kanu has continued to churn out orders to members of the group through his Radio Biafra, social media accounts and regular press statements.
Kanu has been accused of instigating violence especially in south-eastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, paramilitary, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.