The wife of detained pro-Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu has told IBTimes UK she is very concerned after reports alleged that Nigeria’s secret police invaded her husband’s prison cell. Websites and social media accounts affiliated with the movement described how members of the Department of State Services (DSS) invaded Kanu’s cell in Kuje prison, in the capital Abuja, on 12 April.
Reports claimed the DSS “knocked out and forced unconscious” Kanu, who was unaware of what happened to him. The Biafra Herald, reporting on the allegations, sparked rumours Kanu might have been poisoned. Following the claims, Kanu’s wife, Uchechi Okwu-Kanu, told IBTimes UK: “My husband’s defence counsel confirmed it to me. And to be honest, I am highly concerned about the increasing desperation of [President Muhammadu Buhari] and his henchmen.”
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the lawyers representing Kanu, told IBTimes UK: “As of now, this is the situation: Two days ago some personnel invaded the cell he [Kanu] is staying in. We are concerned. I am meeting my client to understand what happened.”
The DSS was not immediately available for a comment on the allegations.
Kanu, director of Radio Biafra and head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), was arrested in Lagos in October 2015 on conspiracy and terrorism charges, which were later dropped. He is now standing trial on six counts of treasonable felony charges.
During a December 2015 presidential media chat, Buhari said Kanu would not be released amid fears he could jump bail and flee to the UK, as he holds both a British and a Nigerian passport.
Pro-Biafrans demand the independence of Biafran territories forcibly annexed to Nigeria during British colonisation, which ended in 1960. A Biafran Republic was established in 1967 and re-annexed to Nigeria in 1970, following a civil war that claimed between one and three million lives.
The Nigerian government has always maintained that Nigeria’s unity is a priority for the country and that although peaceful pro-Biafran protests are welcome, demanding the breakaway of the Biafran territories is against the constitution.