Imagine if Nigel Farage had been arrested in the US and flown back to London without any due process of extradition, or Nicola Sturgeon had disappeared from the streets of Paris only to turn up in a holding cell at Paddington Green police station, and each faced treason charges. All because they had called for a referendum. Well, that’s exactly what has happened to Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), the movement that, in recent years, has taken the lead on self-determination for Biafrans. Kanu’s principal demand is a referendum.
Over 100 years ago, the people of Biafra were forced into a union with other west African peoples by the British colonial administration. The British called that union Nigeria. The peoples making up Nigeria were never comfortable bedfellows. They shared nothing in common except British colonial rule. Ever since independence, Biafrans have sought to secede from Nigeria. They fought and lost a devastating war in which millions were killed or starved to death for this dream. They have suffered beatings, imprisonment and murder for it. Kanu has been imprisoned and tortured for it.