Video shows wanted Nigerian separatist leader in Israel

Video shows wanted Nigerian separatist leader in Israel

Lawyer for Nnamdi Kanu confirms man in clip filmed at Western Wall is his client, who claims his ethnic group is one of the 10 lost tribes

A video said to have been shot on October, 19, 2018, purportedly shows Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. (Screen capture: Twitter)
A video said to have been shot on October, 19, 2018, purportedly shows Nigerian separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. (Screen capture: Twitter)

LAGOS, Nigeria — The lawyer for a missing Nigerian separatist leader on Saturday said he had spoken to his client, after a video and pictures emerged purporting to show him in Jerusalem.

Ifeanyi Ejiofor said he had “received a direct confirmation” about the whereabouts of Nnamdi Kanu, who has not been seen in public since September last year.

“My client is the very person seen in the pictures/video. That I can confirm authoritatively,” he added in a statement.

Kanu, a former London estate agent, heads the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement and the outlawed pirate radio station Radio Biafra.

He is facing treason charges and had been on bail at the time troops were deployed to his home city of Umuahia in Abia state, southeast Nigeria, in September 2017.

He then failed to show at his trial in the capital, Abuja, sparking speculation as to his whereabouts.

Ejiofor has previously accused the Nigerian Army of either holding his client incognito or having killed him. The military has denied the charges.

On Friday, a video live-streamed on the Facebook accounts of known associates of Kanu appeared to show him praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

He was dressed in sandals, white trousers, a white Jewish prayer shawl and skull cap.

“This is the supreme leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, the prophet of our time, Nnamdi Kanu, in the Holy City of David,” a voice off camera is heard to say.

#IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, spotted in Jerusalem yesterday October 19th.

Posted by Pulse Nigeria on Saturday, 20 October 2018

Kanu maintains the Igbo people, who are in the majority in southeast Nigeria, are a lost tribe of Israel and it is his mission to lead them to the promised land of Biafra.

A previous unilateral declaration of independence by the Igbo people in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war that left more than 1 million dead.

Questions have been raised about how Kanu was able to get to Israel, as he had to surrender his Nigerian and British passports after his arrest.

Others suggested a link to next year’s election, as Kanu has previously called for a boycott of the polls in the southeast.

Peter Obi, the vice-presidential pick for the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), comes from the region. The southeast is traditionally a PDP stronghold.

There was no immediate comment from Nigeria’s government, military or security services.

In this photo from January 29, 2016, Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu attends a court hearing at the Federal High court in Abuja, Nigeria. (AP Photo/ File)

But Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, told AFP the footage was of his brother and was shot on Friday. He also spoke to him directly and said he was “fine.”

The BBC Igbo language service also quoted one person as saying the man in the video was Kanu and another that he was headed from Jerusalem to Kiev, without elaborating.

Separate photographs of Kanu in Jerusalem do not appear to have been used previously, although it was not possible to extract a date from the images.

There was no immediate response from Facebook when contacted by AFP about the authenticity of the video.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: