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Biafrans device new means to campaign for Kanu’s release

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Pro-Biafrans come up with above new campaign in Port-harcourt, Rivers State to agitate for Nnamdi Kanu‬’s release.

Other tags such as ‪#‎Biafra‬ ‪and #‎FreeNnamdiKanu‬ can also be found.

The renewed agitation for the actuation of the republic of Biafra led to the shooting of unarmed pro-Biafran protesters in Aba, Abia State on 9 February this year. 

Recall that over two million lives were lost during the Nigeria civil war between 1967 to 1970 on the demand for a Biafran state.

Members of Nigeria’s intelligence agency, the State Security Service (DSS), arrested Kanu—the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)—in October 2015 on charges including sedition and ethnic incitement.

The Nigerian government has previously tried to shut down Radio Biafra, an underground media outlet of which Kanu is director and which refers to Nigeria as a zoo and denigrates Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in its broadcasts.

Kanu’s arrest has prompted thousands of people to demonstrate across southeast Nigeria, demanding the activist’s release and calling for independence for Biafra, which existed as a republic in southeast Nigeria between 1967 and 1970.

Kanu, who is in his 40s, has been described by IPOB members as “a legend in the making,” according to IBTimes U.K., and he has previously said that Biafra would be established “no matter what happens,” though the group has denied that their leader endorses violence.

READ ALSO Buhari refuses to watch this video; the shooting of unarmed pro Biafra protesters  

nnamdi kanu

Kanu’s trial is due to begin in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Tuesday on the back of a controversial period of detention. A federal high court in Abuja ruled in December that Kanu should be granted unconditional bail and released immediately, only for the Nigerian government to file new charges against Kanu, including treason. A Nigerian court ruled on January 29 that Kanu should be denied bail but transferred him from DSS custody to Kuje Prison in Abuja. 

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected calls for Kanu to be released, describing the activist—who is based in the U.K. but frequently returns to Nigeria—as a flight risk. In his maiden presidential media chat on December 30, 2015, Buhari claimed that Kanu entered Nigeria without using a passport and had brought in broadcasting equipment to propagate Radio Biafra’s secessionist message in the country. “There is a treasonable felony against him and I hope the courts will listen to the case,” Buhari said.

Despite his ongoing detention, Kanu remains firm in his convictions. “Mr. Kanu is a very resilient gentleman. He is very fortified by what is happening and the fact that he believes in what he is fighting for, which is the restoration of Biafra,” says Nnorom.

The issue of Biafran independence is gaining traction outside of Nigeria. A group of Dutch lawyers filed a case against Buhari at the International Criminal Court in the Hague in January, demanding that the Nigerian president be investigated for allegedly overseeing the deaths of Biafran protesters at the hands of Nigerian security forces.

More than 20 protesters and two police officers have been killed in pro-Biafra protests since October 2015, AP reported, though Biafran activists claim the figure is much higher.

The matter was also raised with the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Labour MP Harriet Harman. Kanu, a dual British-Nigerian citizen, resides in Harman’s constituency of Camberwell & Peckham.

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