Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu denies terrorism charges at trial
Nigerian separatist Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism and other crimes in a court in the capital Abuja.
The charges against Kanu, who has British citizenship, comes three months after his trial was delayed when authorities failed to produce him in court.
He is also accused of calling for secession, knowingly broadcasting falsehoods about President Muhammadu Buhari, and membership of an outlawed group in Africa’s most populous country.
The military considers Kanu's IPOB group a terrorist organization.
IPOB wants a swathe of the southeast, homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, to split from Nigeria. An attempt to secede in 1967 as the Republic of Biafra triggered a three-year civil war that killed more than 1 million people.
Security services barred journalists from entering the court and forcibly dispersed crowds of supporters who gathered nearby. The trial was adjourned until November 10.
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.
His social media posts during his absence, and his Radio Biafra broadcasts, outraged the government, which they said encouraged attacks on security forces.
Security agents produced him in court in Abuja on June 29 after detaining him in an undisclosed country. His lawyer alleged he was detained and mistreated in Kenya, though Kenya has denied involvement.
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.