Controversial Face of Biafran Succession Kanu Faces Prison Time

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Nnamdi Kenny Okwu-Kanu has been the voice of the Biafran movement towards succession since he started radio broadcasting his message as a political activist from London.

On Radio Biafra, he called for economic independence for Nigeria, but noted that Nigerians, specifically Biafrans, could not obtain economic independence without political freedom.

On October 18, 2015, it was reported that Kanu had been arrested in Lagos State by Nigeria’s secret police the Department of State Services (DSS). Kanu had told his solicitors that he was arrested, October 14, by the agents of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the State Security Service (SSS) in his hotel room at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel Ikeja, Lagos State.

The news of the arrest of Kanu generated mass protests across parts of Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Rivers, Cross River, Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Anambra states.

Kanu, pleaded not guilty to a six-count charge of treason when he appeared before a Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday. The court, however, ordered that Kanu be remanded to prison custody until a bail application is heard on January 25.

The prosecution alleged Kanu and others at large in Britain between 2014 and last year called for southeastern states to secede from Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra. The pro-Biafran leader faced criminal charges after resurrecting the dying embers of Biafran succession.

Kanu refused to make his plea, December 23, due to a lack of confidence in the presiding judge, and the case was referred to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for reassignment, according to New York-based news outlet Sahara Reporters.

Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB supporters have held a series of protests across the country in recent months to demand his release and voice their calls for a breakaway state for the southeastern Igbo people. On December 17, IPOB said five campaigners were killed during celebrations after the high court in Abuja ordered Kanu’s release on bail.  The authorities in Abuja, however, have refused to release him, leading to fresh protests.

Meanwhile, Kanu allegedly offered an apology to President Buhari, in late December, for his comments about the leader. Many criticized the apology as fake.