Nigeria drops ‘terrorism’ charges against Biafra separatist


The Nigerian Court of Appeal on Oct. 13 dismissed all terrorism charges against Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of separatist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Nigerian authorities have identified IPOB as a “terrorist organization,” but international organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations disagree with the designation, and are urging the US not to adopt it.

Kanu, a British-Nigerian citizen, was first arrested in 2015 but fled the country after being released on bail. He was extradited to Nigeria from Kenya in June 2021. The Court of Appeal held that Kanu’s extradition and subsequent trial on seven counts of terrorism was illegal, and that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. Amnesty International welcomed the judgement, stating that Kanu’s right to a fair hearing was violated. Amnesty said that Nigeria must now “abide by the ruling, in compliance with its human rights obligations.”

After Kanu’s extradition, his family brought a judicial review claim against the British government for its failure to intervene in what they call his “extraordinary rendition” from Kenya to Nigeria. A British cout issued an order allowing the case to proceed in early October.

From Jurist, Oct. 14. Used with permission.

See our last report on the struggle in Biafra.

Photo: Alisdare Hickson/Flickr