AFRICA/NIGERIA - Court of Appeal drops charges against Biafran separatist leader

Friday, 14 October 2022 armed groups   justice  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - With a unanimous decision of all three judges who followed the case, the Nigerian Court of Appeal has withdrawn the charges of terrorism against the separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu.
The Court of Appeal has decided to drop all charges against Kanu after ruling that he had been illegally detained abroad and therefore his extradition was also illegal. The Court has ruled that his “extra-ordinary rendition”, without following the procedures established by law, constituted a flagrant violation of all international conventions, protocols and guidelines to which Nigeria is a signatory, as well as a violation of the fundamental rights of the applicant.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was arrested in 2015 and then fled Nigeria in 2017 before being kidnapped in Kenya and taken back home in 2021, where he was accused of treason and terrorism.
Former Biafra, located in the southeast of the country and populated mainly by the Igbo community, was the scene of a bloody civil war between 1967 and 1970. After the deaths of more than a million people, mainly due to famine, and the failure of the rebellion, the "Republic of Biafra" ended up reintegrating into Nigeria. However, the desire for independence has not disappeared. South-eastern Nigeria is in the throes of a wave of violence, accused by the authorities of IPOB (which has been banned), which has repeatedly denied any responsibility. Targeted attacks have killed more than 100 police and other security forces in the region since the beginning of the year, according to local media (on the situation in the region, see Fides, 21/9/2022).
The federal government has declared that it will "consider all available options" to overturn the court's verdict. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 14/10/2022)