In Nigeria, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Biafra Independent Movement for Indigenous Peoples (IPOB), is still missing from his trial in Abuja federal court on 20 February.
The man who ran Radio Biafra, a London-based radio station, was jailed in October 2015 after violence between IPOB supporters and police.
Released in March 2017, he had gradually rallied thousands of supporters from marginalized Southeast Nigeria.
But it has not been found for five months. Bluffing or kidnapping by the army? The question raises a lot of rumours. His family and his lawyer demand accountability.
Nnamdi Kanu’s wife and members of the IPOB biafra movement all tell the same story. They saw the leader of the Igbo independence group for Biafra for the last time on September 14, 2017, shortly before the Nigerian military stormed its residence in the city of Umuahia. The next day, the IPOB movement was classified as a “terrorist group” by the authorities.
Since then, the charismatic host of Radio Biafra, a London-based news outlet, prosecuted for treason and undermining state security, never appeared at his trial in mid-October.
Leak in Britain?
This absence feeds innumerable rumours about where he is. His relatives accuse the army of secretly detaining him. What the military denies.
“I’m worried,” said Ifeanyi Ejiofor, his lawyer. I cannot tell where my client is, I do not even know if he’s alive”
“The person who should be in court on October 11, 2017, must be able to attend his trial,” he continues. At no time did Nnamdi Kanu show his intention not to show up. But the military prevented him. For that, they organized a raid on his residence, they killed people, kidnapped Nnamdi Kanu and now they say they deny where he is.”
A former governor of Abia State once claimed that Nnamdi Kanu, who has dual nationality, had fled to Britain. But the British Embassy refuted these allegations.
The next hearing is scheduled for March 28 in the Abuja court, the Nigerian capital. The three people who have surety for Nnamdi Kanu are also summoned to explain the reasons for his successive absences.