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Dragging Kenya into Kanu’s arrest, extradition, insulting – Envoy

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KENYA’s Ambassador to Nigeria Wilfred Machage has said that claims by some Nigerians that Interpol and Nigerian security operatives arrested Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in Kenya, with the support of Kenyan security officials, embarrassed his country.

Speaking at a press briefing at the country’s embassy in Abuja on Friday, Machage denied the claims and stressed that Nigerians should not ask Kenyan authorities any question relating to Kanu’s arrest.

He said anyone with questions on Kanu’s arrest should contact the Nigerian government.


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Machage challenged anyone with facts showing that Kanu was arrested in Kenya to present them, including the time and persons involved in the arrest and extradition.

“I want to make this observation by denying that Kenya was involved in the alleged arrest in Kenya and extradition into Nigeria of Mr Kanu,” a furious Machage told journalists repeatedly.

He said the allegation was fictitious and deliberately concocted to evoke antagonistic feelings among Nigerians against his country.

He said many countries, namely Rwanda, Czech Republic, Britain, Ethiopia and others faced similar allegations.

IPOB Nnamdi Kanu
Nigerian government arrests, extradites, remands Nnamdi Kanu

“I want to challenge anyone with facts to this alleged arrest in Kenya to present these facts. This should include when, how and who was particularly involved in the alleged arrest. In any case, I believe they are all Nigerians. Nigeria is a sovereign country. It’s your country. Instead of facing the Kenya High Commission in Nigeria to ask some of these questions, you should face your own government.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria knows how they arrested, maybe in Nigeria. They have the answers, not me,” he said.

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He faulted Nigeria’s Nation newspaper of July 2 for the ‘spurious, derogatory’ mention of the Kenya president’s name (Uhuru Kenyetta) in the matter. “It is unfortunate,” he said.

“I, as the High Commissioner of Kenya, wish to categorically emphasise that we shall continue to maintain cordial relations with both the Federal Government of Nigeria and its great, accommodating and amiable citizens.

“We have no intention of interfering in the internal affairs of Nigeria, which includes arresting of her own citizens, no matter how private. Kenya is committed to sustaining the historical bond of friendship between our two governments and the peoples of our two countries.

“We wish further to cement our diplomatic relations with a view to ensuring mutually beneficial relations between our two countries.

“In conclusion, on this case of alleged arrest in Kenya of Mr Kanu, I wish to categorically state here that we are not happy at this ridiculous attempt of dragging the name of Kenya and his excellency President Kenyetta on this matter of arrest and extradition of the self-acclaimed IPOB leader.”

He vowed to make no further comment on the matter.

Some Nigerian media (not The ICIR) mentioned one country or the other where the Nigerian government arrested Kanu, including ThisDay newspaper, which reported on June 30 that operatives apprehended him at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Nigerian government, through the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, claimed it extradited Kanu two days before it arraigned him at a Federal High Court on Tuesday, June 29.

Wilfred Machage, Kenya’s ambassador to Nigeria

The court detained him at the State Security Services (SSS) custody and adjourned his case till July 26 and 27.

Kanu faces an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism, and illegal possession of firearms.

Kanu jumped bail in 2017 and fled Nigeria.

On Thursday, Minister of Information Lai Mohammed said that the Nigerian government had been on Kanu’s trail for two years.

He accused the IPOB leader of living a luxurious life.

The Nigerian government believes Kanu is liable for recent attacks and killings allegedly orchestrated by IPOB and its security arm, the Eastern Security Network, in the South-East.

The government also said on Thursday that its preliminary findings showed prominent Nigerians collaborated with the accused. It vowed to apprehend and bring them to book, no matter how highly placed.

His arrest has raised concerns among many Nigerians, especially people of South-East extraction – a region he’s pushing its secession from the country.

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