Emma Powerful, the spokesperson of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has said in a statement that IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, needs urgent heart surgery. The group said Kanu needs to be rushed to a specialist hospital where he would get adequate medical attention for his deteriorating health. The spokesman raised the alarm over Kanu’s health while also noting that he was rushed to an ill-equipped clinic of the Department of State Services (DSS) for a medical emergency in Abuja on February 27, 2023.
In the statement, Powerful accused the Nigerian Government of colluding with its British counterpart to kill Kanu. It said, “We are aware that the Nigeria Government and her DSS, including the British High Commissioner in Abuja, planned to kill Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukwu Kanu in DSS solitary confinement but they should also be ready for the consequences.” The group is asking that Kanu be released unconditionally to attend to his deteriorating health urgently. IPOB said that the Federal Government needs to do what is necessary to avoid “negative consequences that may follow.”
Group seeks the restoration of Biafra, fights low-level guerilla warfare.
IPOB is a Nigerian nationalist separatist group that aims to restore the Republic of Biafra. Biafra was a country which seceded from Nigeria just before the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). After its defeat by the federal troops of Nigeria, it rejoined Nigeria. IPOB was founded in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu and Uche Mefor. Kanu is a British-Nigerian political activist who was known for his advocacy of the contemporary Biafran movement. Since 2021, this group as well as other Biafran separatist groups, such as Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), has been fighting a low-level guerilla war against the Federal Government in the southeastern part of Nigeria.
The Federal Government proscribed the group in 2017. Under the Nigerian Terrorism Act, it was deemed a terrorist organization. The government of the United Kingdom started denying asylum to IPOB members who engaged in human right abuses, though the UK government clarified that it had not designated IPOB as a terrorist organization. IPOB advocates for a sovereign state of Biafra due to, according to them, the marginalization by the Nigerian government. The group has criticized the Nigerian federal government for poor investment, political alienation, inequitable resource distribution, ethnic marginalization, and heavy military presence, extrajudicial killings in the South-Eastern, South-Central and parts of North-Central regions of Nigeria.
British Consul meets Kanu in DSS custody.
Meanwhile a few weeks ago, amid his health challenges, a British Consul, Ms. Heather Wilkie met with Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB in the custody of the DSS. Kanu’s Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, said the IPOB leader discussed issues bothering on his health and extrajudicial detention with the British Consul. Ejimakor also said other issues which were discussed by Kanu and Wilkie can’t be made public. This was confirmed in a tweet that Ejiamajor posted as a form of update.
Similarly, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-political organization has vowed to provide terrorism evidence to prosecute Biafra agitator Simon Ekpa. Ohanaeze said providing evidence against Ekpa would serve as a deterrent to those planning violent agitation in the Southeast. The Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro, told the press that Ekpa’s arrest would not affect Nnamdi Kanu’s case. Finnish authority had arrested Ekpa from his apartment in Lahti. He was later released after the police allegedly arrested him for a suspected crime.
Simon Ekpa had threatened no election in the east.
A factional leader of IPOB, Mr. Simon Ekpa, has repeatedly declared sit-at-home orders across the Southeast, insisting that there would be no election in the region in 2023. He had recently declared a sit-at-home from 23 to 28 February 2023 apparently to stop the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the region, which was held on February 25, 2023. For this cause, Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on February 14, 2023, had summoned the Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvanainen, over threats by Biafra agitator, Simon Ekpa, to stop the 2023 general election in Nigeria’s Southeast.