The Court of Appeal in Abuja, federal capital of Nigeria, has ruled against a bail application for pro-Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu. The verdict came after Kanu's defence argued against the decision of Justice John Tsoho, who is presiding over the trial, to deny bail was against Kanu's fundamental rights.
However, a three-member panel led by Justice Abdul Aboki, upheld the lower court's decision to deny bail to Kanu, due to fears the defendant could flee the country given his dual British and Nigerian citizenship, the Premium Times reported.
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,
Kanu's wife, Uchechi Okwu-Kanu, told IBTimes UK she was concerned following allegations her husband had been harassed in his cell. She also claimed her husband was a prisoner of conscience and urged the international community should intervene to free him.
During a December 2015 presidential media interview, President Muhammadu Buhari said Kanu would not be released amid fears he could jump bail and flee to the UK.
Pro-Biafrans are demanding 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 was a priority for the country and that although peaceful pro-Biafran protests were welcome, demanding the breakaway of the Biafran territories went against the constitution.