SaharaReporters has exclusively received a copy of a handwritten statement signed by Nnamdi Kanu in which he apologized to President Muhammadu Buhari and Igbo elders for disparaging or insulting statements he made about them.
The statement, dated October 23, 2015, was made while he was in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) and on the official letterhead of DSS.
Mr. Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, had among others called President Buhari evil, a terrorist and a paedophile. He has been in detention since his arrest on October 14th. For nearly two months he was held in the custody of the DSS without any charges being officially issued against him. During that time, he was also denied access to medical services and legal aid.
In the handwritten statement, Mr. Kanu said, “I unreservedly apologize [for my Buhari remarks] and will be doing so in a private letter to the President.”
Following his arrest, the IPOB leader was later officially charged, along with two others, with six counts of treason and other offences. On December 17, he applied for and was granted bail, but remained in the custody of the DSS.
Of the statement of October 23, Mr. Kanu’s lawyer, Vincent Obetta, confirmed to a SaharaReporters correspondent on the phone that it was written by his client.
He, however, dismissed reports that stated his client apologized to President Buhari in a separate letter and that “until I see that [letter] I cannot comment” on it.
In addition to apologizing to President Buhari, Mr. Kanu also admitted to saying “uncomplimentary things” about former President Goodluck Jonathan which “should not have happened because it is un-African.”
He described the IPOB as a group of people who wish to group themselves together “for the purpose of Evangelism or going out to the streets to distribute leaflets and preach the message of lawful existence of Biafra as stipulated in the UN Charter.”
Mr. Kanu denied that there is any agitation on his part for armed conflict, saying that any such suggestion is “purely designed to stop the Nigerian Armed Forces ostensibly the police from coming out and killing innocent people.”
IPOB volunteers, he also said, are “modeled on exactly the same tenet as the world renowned Salvation Army Front,” adding, “Its ambitions are army but it does not carry any weapons, and that the same thing applies to the volunteers of IPOB.
The full text of Mr. Kanu’s statement can be found below:
I can confirm that I, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra worldwide is a legally registered and duly recognized body at the United Nations pursuing the rights of a specific indigenous people, in this case Biafra, to seek self-determination according to the said charter the reason for the formation of the Indigenous People of Biafra is to avail those referring to themselves as Biafrans the opportunity made available as a result of the United Nations Declaration to seek the peaceful re-Birth of Biafra in line with international laws, lack of holistic development in the socio-economic landscape of Nigeria, lack of youth employment, corruption in high offices, and economic repression.
Opportunities no longer existed for the majority of the people, and especially young graduates to find meaningful employment in the job market, general hardship, brutal repression of civil and human rights coupled with system that shuns inward investment contributed to the thinking behind the formation of IPOB.
The People of Biafra all over the world have particular emphasis on those residing in the diaspora it is not advised that those in Nigeria contribute. No contribution is accepted from those in political office or from organizations only individuals belonging to those organizations may choose to contribute if they wish to the volunteer force. IPOB is a group of people who may wish to group themselves together for the purpose of Evangelism or going out to the streets to distribute leaflets and preach the message of lawful existence of Biafra as stipulated in the UN Charter.
There is no armed conflict agitating and any reference to such is purely designed to stop the Nigerian Armed Forces ostensibly the police from coming out and killing innocent people.
IPOB volunteers are modeled on exactly the same tenet as the world renowned Salvation Army Front. Its ambitions are army but it does not carry any weapons. The same thing applies to the volunteers of IPOB. There is no arms training involved. I am the Director of Radio Biafra and solely responsible for the output the (genre?) of Radio Biafra is strictly to capture attention and imagination and not designed to incite anyone to violence.
For very many years the Nigerian state and Nigerians in general have continued to witness poor economic management, fraud, corruption, and mismanagement of every sector of the economy. Therefore, as Radio Biafra programs were designed to wake up the public from their slumber and address the issues of the time, which is youth unemployment, lack of infrastructural provisions, poor electricity, an absence of rural development, and conspicuous absence of respect for human rights.
The area as envisaged as Biafra are predominantly South-East and South-South territories having cultural, linguistic, traditional, and commonality in value system. Reference to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a terrorist, evil, and Paedophile is regrettable and uncalled for and for that I unreservedly apologize and will be doing so in a private letter to the President. Before PMB there was the administration of Goodluck Jonathan I also said some uncomplimentary things about him and Igbo elders as well, which I now recognize should have happened because it is un-African to be rude or insolent to elders. All I was trying to do is draw attention to the problems afflicting society and what society is doing about it.
The areas intended for the Biafran being espoused by Indigenous People of Biafra are Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Anambra, Bayelsa Delta, Edo (but only Igbamke), Kogi (only Igala), and Imo States. The mission statement of Radio Biafra is dedicated to the defences of the rights of the indigenous people of Biafra and ultimately the restoration of the Republic of Biafra in line with United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous People