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Pro-Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu not freed from detention in from Nigeria as claimed on social media

IN SHORT: Indigenous People of Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is still in custody in the capital Abuja. Facebook posts claiming he’s been released are false.

A video posted on Facebook claims that Nnamdi Kanu has been released from the Department of State Services (DSS) facility in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

The DSS is a state agency that deals with internal security.

The video, dated 11 October 2023, is captioned: “Nnamdi Kanu has finally been released.”

Kanu is a political activist and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), a group seeking the restoration of the Republic of Biafra. Biafra is a region in south-eastern Nigeria. Its secession in 1967 triggered a civil war. When the war ended in 1970, the region was reintegrated into Nigeria.

In September 2017, the Nigerian government banned Ipob and declared it a terrorist organisation after getting a court nod

Other posts about Kanu’s alleged release can be found here, here and here. But are they true? We checked.


Kanu and the law

Kanu was first arrested in 2015 on several charges including publishing defamatory material, terrorism and possession of firearms.

But he disappeared after being granted bail, only to be rearrested in Kenya in 2021 and brought back to Nigeria.

In October 2022, the Court of Appeal ruled in Kanu’s favour, dismissing all charges against him and ordering his unconditional release.

However, the state services department ignored the court order and appealed to the Supreme Court. It is reported that the apex court will deliver its verdict on the matter on 15 December 2023.

No reporting of his release

We found no reports of Kanu's release from credible media houses. Such a significant development would have been widely reported. There is also no such announcement on the ministry's website.

Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, visited him at the DSS facility in Abuja on 23 November.

The claim that Kanu has been released is false.

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