Nigerian separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, issues warning ahead of trial
Nigerian separatist Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has warned that that none of his lawyers should be harassed and threatened ahead of his trial on Thursday.
Kanu issued the warning during his routine meeting with his lawyers at the Department of State Services, DSS, headquarters in Abuja.
The warning, which was issued in a statement by his lead counsel Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said none of his lawyers should be harassed and threatened by those claiming to be his followers.
“Our Client Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu emphasized that he trusts his lawyers and continues to have high confidence in them,” the statement said.
Kanu, 53, was arrested in late 2015 after calling for a separate homeland for the Igbo people in southeast Nigeria. In 2017, he jumped bail, reappearing in Israel and Britain.
On June 29, Nigeria's justice minister and attorney general, Abubakar Malami, announced Kanu had been "brought back to Nigeria in order to continue facing trial after disappearing."
His charges include "terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal posession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others," Malami said.
Calls for a separate state of Biafra are a sensitive subject in Nigeria, after a unilateral declaration of independence in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war.
More than one million people died, most of them Igbos, from the impact of conflict, hunger and disease.
On Tuesday, Igbo monarchs called on Buhari to de-proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra as a terrorist organisation, and release Kanu from detention.
The monarchs made their stand known under the auspices of the South East Traditional Rulers council. The body issued a statement signed by five state chairmen of traditional rulers.