Buhari considered assassination of Nnamdi Kanu; chose arrest instead, says Femi Adesina

Femi Adesina, a spokesperson for former President Muhammadu Buhari has said that his principal had once said he would have sponsored the assassination of the leader of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu but opted to kidnap and return him to Nigeria to face the law.

According to Mr Adesina in his newly published book, “Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023),” Mr Buhari said he opted for the arrest of Mr Kanu instead of mobilising to kill him abroad when a delegation of Igbos led by Chief Mbazulike Ameachi met with the president in the villa to plead for clemency for Mr Kanu.

“Let him make his case in court instead of giving a terrible impression of the country from outside. I feel it is a favour to give him (Mr Kanu) that opportunity. Government could have mobilised to eliminate him where he was, but we did not do that,” Mr Buhari told Mr Amaechi-led delegate.

Mr Buhari further told the delegate pleading on behalf of Mr Kanu that their request was a hard one for him to grant, but he would consider it.

“You have made an extremely difficult demand on me as the leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, nobody will say I have confronted the judiciary. We are developing a country, and we have to go through the pains,” Mr Buhari said.

On July 1, Mr Kanu was repatriated back to Nigeria after disappearing from the country following a military raid on his home.

The government had provided a murky explanation of how the IPOB leader was “intercepted through the collaborative efforts of the Nigerian intelligence and security services,” failing to further elaborate on the circumstances of Mr Kanu’s capture. But the Kenya government denied involvement in Mr Kanu’s arrest and repatriation to Nigeria from their soil.

George Wajackoyah, a counsel representing the detained separatist leader, said the Buhari-led regime abducted Mr Kanu from Nairobi.

“We have copies of his passport and a stamp that he was indeed in Kenya. We also have evidence he was in his residence on a particular day. We also have material proof that he was at the airport on a particular day to meet a friend, and there he was arrested,” Mr Wajackoyah said.

Mr Kanu has been held in detention since 2021. In December 2023, the Supreme Court of Nigeria upheld the treasonable charge against Mr Kanu.