The federal government Tuesday reacted to the reappearance of the Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu months after he was declared missing.
Kanu was last seen in public in September 2017 before Nigerian soldiers raided his residence in Umuahia.
In September 2017, the Indigenous People of Biafra alleged that Kanu and his parents might have been killed by the troops during the invasion of his house.
“We are using this opportunity to inform the whole world, including the United Nations, that the Nigerian Army killed our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, during the attack and invasion of his compound in Umuahia, Abia State,” Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, said in a statement.
However, on Sunday, the separatist leader resurfaced in Israel. In a video, Kanu was seen praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
“I’m in Israel,” Kanu said on Sunday in a broadcast on his outlawed pirate radio station – Radio Biafra.
While reacting to this, President Muhammadu Buhari’s media assistant, Garba Shehu, in an interview on the BBC Hausa Service said: “If it happens to be true, the video footage showing Mr Nnamdi Kanu; the truth has been revealed about his alleged assassination against the Nigerian government.”
Shehu said the Nigerian government was put under pressure over false accusations that Kanu had either been killed or kidnapped.
“This fairy tale went up to United Nations General Assembly, where some IPOB members staged a protest accusing Nigeria government of kidnapping and even killing of Mr. Kanu,” Shehu said.
Kanu during his broadcast on Sunday said he would return to the country soon and also called his supporters to boycott the February general elections until there is a referendum on the status of Biafra.
He said, “I have returned full-time and I’m coming back home I will bring hell with me.”
The presidential aide noted that Kanu’s trial is expected to continue should he (Kanu) return to the country.
In 2015, Kanu was charged with “criminal conspiracy, intimidation and membership of an illegal organisation” – charges that could amount to treason.
He was released on bail after meeting all the bail conditions in 2017 after spending more than 19 months without trial on treason charges.
After his bail, he renewed his campaign for independence, before his house in the south-eastern Abia state was raided by the military.
It is, however, unclear how he got to Israel without his travel documents and his trial has stalled due to his consistent absence from court.
Three persons that stood surety for him were dragged to court by the Nigerian government, claiming that the separatist leader violated terms of his bail.
But his lawyer said in March that the government was in a better position to tell the court about the whereabouts of his client.
“(The government) should be in a better position to explain to court where he is.”