Pro-Biafran leader in Nigeria released: lawyer

2017-04-30 08:54
Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu steps out of the courtroom after being granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja. (File: AFP)

Leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu steps out of the courtroom after being granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja. (File: AFP)

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Abuja - A pro-Biafran leader in Nigeria has been released from custody, his lawyer said on Saturday, some 18 months after first being arrested and repeated court rulings granting him bail ignored by the government.

"Nnamdi Kanu has met the bail conditions. He has been released from prison," lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor told AFP, without giving further details.

Kanu, who heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement and runs the London-based Radio Biafra, is facing a series of charges, including treason, with three other defendants.

A judge at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday granted him bail on health grounds, to enable him to get medical attention so he can stand trial.

The release was ordered just weeks away from the 50th anniversary on May 30 of the declaration of an independent republic of Biafra in southeast Nigeria, which sparked a brutal, nearly three-year civil war.

More than one million died, most of them Igbos, the dominant ethnic group in the southeast.

Kanu had been held at Kuje prison outside Abuja since his arrest in October 2015. For his release he needed to pay the court sureties totalling $1m.

He was also ordered not to attend any rally, or be in a crowd of more than 10 people, or give any interviews while on bail.

Separatist sentiment among Igbos in southeast Nigeria has grown in the months since Kanu's arrest and sparked bloody clashes with the security forces.

The Nigerian government has previously refused to release Kanu on bail, despite court rulings from at least three judges, including a regional tribunal of the West African bloc Ecowas.

Read more on:    ipob  |  ecowas  |  nnamdi kanu  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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