A pro-Biafran activist has claimed he is due to be "illegally deported" from Norway to Nigeria, where he fears his life will be in danger due to his activism. Lotachukwu Favour Okolie claims to be one of the leaders of an ongoing movement calling for the independence of the Biafran territories forcibly annexed to Nigeria during the British colonisation, ended in 1960.
He told IBTimes UK he is currently being detained at the Trandum Detention Centre and he believes he will be deported to Nigeria on 9 March. "I have been here at the deportation centre for more than one year and I already told them that instead of being deported, I will commit suicide here," Okolie said.
"I am scared of going back to Nigeria because I am a Biafran leader here in Norway and Nigeria. The Nigerian embassy [in Sweden] does not want to give me travel documents. I am tired of the politics, I am not a criminal, I am an activist. I am still suffering every day."
Okolie claimed he fled Nigeria in 2004 after being allegedly tortured in a prison. A friend close to him, who spoke to IBTimes UK on condition of anonymity, said Okolie was arrested in Nigeria due to his activism and broke out from the Oko prison in Edo state in 2004. In 2013, he was made the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) in Norway.
The source went on alleging that after Okolie met with the Norwegian parliament and organised a Biafran conference in Oslo in August 2014, he was contacted by some Nigerians living in Norway who demanded he stopped advocating for a breakaway. "These individuals demanded Okolie should stop campaigning for Biafra restoration because the Nigerian embassy in Stockholm is aware of him escaping Oko prison," the source continued and added that Okolie was then arrested.
Okolie also claimed some members of the Nigerian embassy in Sweden visited Trandum "several times" and told the Norwegian police that he was an "enemy of Nigeria".
IBTimes UK was not able to confirm Okolie's legal status in Norway.
Okolie also told IBtimes UK he began the pro-Biafran movement with Nnamdi Kanu, Radio Biafra director and head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), who is standing trial on six counts of treasonable felony charges in Nigeria. The two leaders, however, no longer work together.
However, Okolie specified he does not have any problem with Kanu. "We began this movement together and we will work together," he said. "Our interest is the restoration of Biafra, and we will not stop until Biafra is restored."
When contacted by IBTimes UK, a spokesperson for the Trantum centre said: "I will not confirm anything to you, sorry, I am not allowed."
The spokesperson for the Norway's national police immigration service also declined to comment on the case. The press officer told IBTimes UK: "I am not able to give you any information about any deportation because we are not allowed to give any personal information about the people we are transporting out or anything about the operation. We can give you some information afterwards, we can say that we have had a deportation to a country but we will never be able to give any information on the case."
The Nigerian and Norwegian embassies in London and the Nigerian embassy in Sweden have not responded to a request for a comment.