Nnamdi Kanu - Leader of IPOB
“We are not aware he committed any crime; we only know and heard he is fighting for Biafra in the most civilized and peaceful way. We know he is not even living in Nigeria and has not stolen Nigerian money. He is aspiring for self-determination without guns or infringement of any one’s right. We heard he used radio Biafra and has never fought anyone or wanted to overthrow Buhari. He told Buhari to conduct referendum for Biafran people and spoke with a strong voice and Buhari pressed the panic button by arresting him. That was how he came here. We have been hearing of him before he came and when he came, we celebrated him and now in our football championship, we called him to sponsor it as someone different from all of us. He came here for the sake of peacefully and legally aspiring for self-determination; we pity him because he has done nothing. With the opening of the championship, we are not aware Kanu committed any crime” A prison inmate said on behalf of other inmates.

Ifeanyi Chijioke had conducted a quiet interview which was done through his source that visited Kuje prison and spoke with the inmate on a confidential note. The target of Ifeanyi Chijioke was to know what really came about voting Nnamdi Kanu to open and sponsor a football championship despite being charged with treason by the Nigerian government. Kuje prison is known for its high profile inmates either sentenced or waiting trial. The opening of the said football championship by Nnamdi Kanu signifies negligence and mockery of the charge against him. A man with such serious charge to have won the love and approval of the whole inmates is something of grave concern to the government owing to how his case is being handled. “Nnamdi Kanu keeps winning because he is light; the young man spoke the truth and we are aware what truth can do. Don’t be surprise one day you hear that the inmates revolted against Buhari for imprisonment of an innocent man that ought to be used as a model for agitation” One Mr Chukwuka, a resident of Kuje said when contacted over the phone to speak with Ifeanyi Chijioke.

Nnamdi Kanu was arrested on 14th of October 2015 en route to Biafra land after sufficient awareness he created about his transit. Before the journey back to Biafra land, he noted that he would freely come home without fear of anyone. Prior to his arrest, the Federal government had tried to jam or neutralize radio Biafra which Buhari accused of hate speech but to no avail. Frustration grew until on 14th last year October, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested. He was charged with terrorism related offences but two competent courts quashed the charges and released him unconditionally. To the greatest dismay of many, Buhari flouted court orders and said before the press that he would not release Nnamdi Kanu.

Meanwhile, since the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, Nigeria has not had it easy with millions of protesters across the old Eastern region storming the streets in demand for his unconditional release. Buhari applied maximum force in stopping unarmed protesters which resulted to series of murder and massacre. Various and leading human right institutions have termed the military action ‘an act of genocide’ “Most of the victims were shot from the back, either while running away or outright execution” a representative of Amnesty international who investigated Nkpor heroes day massacre said.

“Nnamdi Kanu has been a fearless and friendly person since he came into this prison. We are very much lucky to have him around because any time you come close to him; he lectures you what you don’t know. He is not inquisitive to leave here, he feels so relaxed and hopeful, and he feels more like he is doing what should be done or expected of him. We love him so much that we approved him to sponsor our football championship” the inmate said and continued “He was accused of hate speech but we have not observed that here. He speaks truth notwithstanding who is affected and he encourages peace and harmony here. One thing we found out about this very man is his passion for people around him and that drew us close to knowing why he is here with us. He is here because of everyone of us; for a better Nigeria because with the emergence of Biafra, Nigeria will also be a better country” the inmate noted.

There was a rumored prison break in Kuje and Okah was reported to have escaped and manhunt launched against him. The prison break which was organized by few inmates was not clearly reported as there was conflicting reports. In some quarters, people believed that the prison break was staged to set Nnamdi Kanu up, so if he tries to escape, he would be murdered. While speaking on the development, the inmate said “I don’t know anything about prison break because we are stable here and have no reason to break the prison. The wardens here are professionals and we are happy with them, even if you open this prison illegally, Nnamdi Kanu will not leave because he did nothing to be here in the first place. We are not breaking out because we would leave here someday so no need trying to force our exit, to me the prison break is a hoax” he said.

Kuje prison inmates with IPOB leader
The picture of the Football championship went viral on the internet with some Wardens partaking in the opening of the football championship. There seems to be joy and happiness that Nnamdi Kanu was with them and the inmate held this view “Not only us; the Wardens might have forgotten that he was charged with treason because there was actually no treason. You would not rightly blame the Wardens because they have to be at peace with the inmates and they are doing their jobs. Nnamdi Kanu is a political prisoner and not a criminal so being with him is an honor to the Wardens and to us the inmates”. There is a report that Buhari is unhappy with the support given to Nnamdi Kanu in the prison and might take drastic action against the Wardens.

“Taking action against the Wardens is frustration, Buhari cannot make people hate Nnamdi Kanu, he made the boy a hero and he should live with that. The Wardens must do everything possible to keep the prison in order and cordial relationship with inmates is key and they just did their job by supporting the championship” a retired Warden who does not want his name in print said.

The worst scenario of Kanu’s arrest was the emergence of Niger Delta Avengers who had vowed to cripple the economy until Kanu is released as a basis for dialogue. Recently; a Liberian vessel was also hijacked by CML to push for Kanu’s release. But Buhari has chosen military action which was predicted to end in disaster over releasing Nnamdi Kanu and discussing on a round table.

Authored by Ifeanyi Chijioke
Published by Chinwe Korie
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