The Coalition of Northern Groups has said that the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is not the end of the Biafran agitation.
In a statement by its spokesman Abdul-Azeez Suleiman on Tuesday, the group called on the Federal Government to allow the full course of justice to take effect, adding that a referendum is necessary to determine the finite outcome of all agitations for sovereignty.
“Nobody should make the mistake of assuming that the arrest is anywhere near the end of the Biafran affair.
“We stand our ground that a referendum must be held to determine this and all other agitations for self-determination from any part of the country,” the statement read in part.
The group said it received the news of the arrest and repatriation of Nnamdi Kanu with mixed feelings of apprehension and appreciation.
The coalition commended the effort of the Federal Government and the agencies that made this possible, particularly the International Police and authorities of the United Kingdom for honoring their obligations with Nigeria.
It, however, noted that apprehension will remain until the full course of justice takes effect.
Kanu was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria on Tuesday. He was intercepted on June 27. The IPOB leader is expected to be re-arraigned before the Federal High Court for the continuation of his trial.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the Federal Government’s application to detain the IPOB leader in a DSS facility ahead of the continuation of his trial.
Justice Nyako also granted the application for the accelerated hearing of his trial to July 26 and 27 as against the earlier adjourned date of October 20.
Mr Kanu has repeatedly called for the breakaway of a significant chunk of southern Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra.
He is expected to face charges of treason in court.
In October 2015, he was arrested by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on “terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”
He was granted bail in April 2017 for medical reasons.
However, Mr Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.
Since then he has been sighted in Israel and has continued to rally his supporters in Nigeria to employ violence in achieving secession.