Adeyemi Adegoke Olumide
The detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has no doubt been a subject of unnecessary controversy in Nigeria. While it is obvious for what reason he is being held, and with access to his family, legal representatives and adequate medical care, his lawyers and sympathizers continue to falsely create impressions that his health is deteriorating. They also claim he is being maltreated in custody. Propaganda. Falsehood. Misinformation. One of those at the forefront of these blatant lies is Ifeanyi Ejiofor who has been working with Kanu since 2015 and now one of the lead counsels. Regrettably, Ejiofor is using his position as a lawyer to aggressively promote the group’s violent agenda. He has been a huge beneficiary of the financial perks of the supposed clamour for the “actualisation of Biafraland” and must have been ecstatic when his principal was brought back to Nigeria to face terrorism-related charges. It was no doubt Ejiofor’s window to significantly cash out. To ensure his channel for daily bread is not blocked following Kanu’s arrest, he wasted no time in jumping into the wagon of lawyers to lead the court case. Even when a foreign lawyer, Bruce Fein was added to the legal team, Ejiofor put on his fighting gloves, fought gutter dirty and ensured he (Fein) was butted out. Obviously, Fein’s popularity and acceptance by IPOB supporters was a threat to Ejiofor’s viable means of survival, which is to feed fat on IPOB finances.
Since Kanu’s detention, Ejiofor, being the scam that he is, pretends to be running from pillar to post, seeking intentional fallible means to free his principal. To sustain his miserly pittance, he has resorted to abusing this position as a lawyer by spreading false narratives about Kanu’s health in order to mislead the public. Ejiofor and Kanu’s supporters have claimed that Kanu’s health is deteriorating without medicare. This claim has been refuted by many who should know. The security agency in charge of Kanu’s detention, I believe, has standard procedure in handling suspects and people like Kanu inclusive. It held Col. Sambo Dasuki for almost four years. Evidently, Kanu is treated humanely and in accordance with the law. At least, there are many media coverages to this effect.
Even when the picture of Kanu and Soludo emerged, not many doubted about how nice he looked. While IPOB propagandists promote falsehood, the physical appearance of Kanu shows otherwise. He looks well kept, plump and healthy. Worst for the liars, no foreign visitor, privileged to see Kanu, had come out to say he looked bad. None would say such except Ejiofor and a few others in league with the rogues. It is common knowledge Kanu and his cohorts try desperately to plant stories to mislead gullible people. I have it on good authority that Ejiofor, Ejimakor and Kanu rehearse what to tell the public and they often agree to use exaggerations, fake news and other tools of disinformation and misinformation to deceive the people. But the more lies they tell, the more their antics are exposed. Today, their true colour is being exposed to Ndigbo. It is now clear it is all about money and the interest that goes with it.
Clearly, each time Ejiofor visits Kanu in detention, he advises on strategies to plant fake stories in the media about his health and other false narratives to control the public notably in the South East and sections of the international community. In Ejiofor’s warped mind, peddling these lies on Kanu’s health condition will not only draw him sympathy but also influence the presiding Judges into granting him bail. In their desperate attempt and execution of this poorly thought-out plan, they forget that the public is aware that the security agency in charge of Kanu’s detention has reiterated, times without number, that Kanu is in good and sound health due to the undeniable access to medical experts he enjoys. Many cannot deny that Kanu always looks healthy at his court appearances which is in clear contrast to the falsehood Ejiofor keeps spreading.
IPOB has mastered its propaganda prowess. In a most profound research on its fake news strategies, Ahmed Salkida’s HumAngle, x-rayed sustained efforts by the group to continually spread disinformation and hate speech on social media. It emphasised a well-known strategy of the group -that it uses a large network of media warriors in the diaspora. It added that a major reason for the movement’s widespread presence is its large propaganda machinery with branches spread across the world. It maintained that IPOB’s activities are mainly funded through member commitment levies and contributions from sympathisers especially those outside Nigeria. HumAngle reportedly identified 44 IPOB affiliated Facebook pages with administrators based in a wide range of countries especially Germany, Ghana and Italy with a page having up to three administrators from one country. Another instance is that Radio Biafra’s Facebook page has 14 people comprising three each from Australia and Cote d’ivoire, two from Kuwait, two from South Africa amongst others, managing it.
It should be emphasised that Kanu is facing serious charges relating to terrorism and other criminal offenses. It is also important that he is held in custody to ensure that he does not pose further threat to public safety. If Ejiofor was a genuine lawyer, faithful and sticking to the Legal Practitioner’s Oath, he would not play this role of an il(legal) adviser to IPOB. The group’s violent and subversive tactics have caused significant harm and loss of lives in Nigeria. IPOB’s disregard for the rule of law and sanctity of human life has no place in a peaceful society like Nigeria. The use of violence to achieve political goals is not acceptable and those responsible for committing these violent acts must be held accountable for their actions. Ejiofor’s involvement in the group’s violent agenda is not in line with his duties as a lawyer and is a clear violation of his professional ethics. He has oscillated from being counsel to a member and now the infamous Illegal Adviser of the IPOB group.
Another laughable dimension to the IPOB antics is that while Kanu is in custody, his siblings have turned the group into a family business and are shamelessly fighting over access to financial accounts and money. While the vulnerable street urchins are used to do the fight, those who were never near the “battle ground’ will surface to “enjoy” the loot. Abominable and shameful. Undoubtedly, this development raises questions about the group’s funding and the true motivations behind its violent activities. Kanu is worried that the world is beginning to know the truth about him and his IPOB. One day, everyone will also know the truth aout a deceitful project designed for the pockets of a family. IPOB is only satisfying Kanu’s thirst for women, money and ostentatious lifestyle.
But this is not only Kanu’s worry. He is also worried that his legal team is wobbling. He cannot trust Ejiofor, Ejimakor or Mike Ozekhome. They are only feeding on him. Kanu has contemplated several times to drop them. Ozekhome jumped in the fray but only played to the gallery. He knows he cannot help Kanu. Ozekhome jumps around as an activist. Self-acclaimed indeed. IPOB has tainted him. The IPOB legal team remains divided. And it will. Why wont the team be divided? People ruled by inordinate ambition to remain relevant will sure outplay one another. Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s survival rests on IPOB. He will do everything to be sure the impasse never ends. Ejiofor is a lawyer on the streets. He is holding a chalice filled with poison. But he will drink from it. It is a matter of time.
The Nigerian government has a duty to maintain law and order and it is necessary to take decisive action against groups like IPOB that promote violence and lawlessness. The group’s activities have had a negative impact on national security with the ongoing destabilisation in the South East region, a zone which was once known as very peaceful. Kanu will surely have his day in court and it is up to the judicial system to determine his guilt or innocence. Falsehoods and misinformation about his health in order to sway public opinion or influence the legal process is dead on arrival. Recently, the judiciary has actually come under criticism. No thanks to the political cases involving Lawan Ahmed, the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Hope Uzodinma. Though the Supreme Court has defended itself, the whole court hierarchy can use the IPOB/Kanu case to redeem its near battered image. Kanu should be in Prison.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor’s activities as an adviser to Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB group should start to agitate the public mind. His attempts to manipulate public opinion and influence the legal process through the spread of false information are unacceptable and should be condemned. As the Nigerian government continues to maintain law and order, it should take decisive action against individuals and groups that promote violence and lawlessness. In upholding the rule of law and due process, it must ensure that individuals facing serious criminal charges must be held accountable for their actions. Nnamdi Kanu’s health is being adequately taken care of and the false narratives being peddled by his lawyers and supporters are nothing but attempts to distract and mislead the public. The legal process must be allowed to run its course. It is time for Nigerians to reject the violent and subversive tactics of IPOB and other extremist groups and work towards building a peaceful and prosperous society. It is also time, Ejiofor retraced his steps, be fair to himself and all the young people he is misleading. He is not any legal adviser to IPOB and/or Kanu and he knows this to be true and nothing but the truth.
Finally, let me advise Ejiofor. It is possible that you may have been using these roguish activities to gain influence and rise to popularity. Remember that you have caused many lives. You had instigated the death of Law Enforcement agents. You were even on Police wanted list. It is curious that you are freely walking the streets and could even choose to be a nuisance in the manner you have carried yourself. But remember that saying that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Today, the situation in Igbo land is dire. Even though I am not from that region, I have witnessed how your advice to IPOB has led to the region’s downfall and desolation. You all started this. Help find a solution to end this madness. No delays. You must rein in your violent wing, the ESN and Unknown Gunmen. You may wish to deny not having any connections with violence. That is part of your deceitful narrative to your gullible audience and international community. It is evident that your combined activities and pronouncements energise the boys to destroy AlaIgbo. You and Simon Ekpa are the masterminds. I urge you, Ejiofor to call your supporters to order and work towards an unconditional peaceful resolution. While Kanu prepares to go to jail, the violence must be stopped by all of you that started it. Ejiofor and his colleagues should exercise good conscience and judgement. You want war which does serve any good. War will affect everyone. It is important to note that an attack on a non-Igbo person in Igbo land is an attack on an Igbo person outside Igbo land. Are you ready for that? This nonsense should stop. Now is the time.
Adeyemi Adegoke Olumide resides in Lagos.