While Rayner declines to comment on whether the group should be granted a referendum on Biafran independence, she says that the issue must be dealt with in accordance with international human rights law. “My role is to continue to ensure that our FCO is keeping an eye on what’s happening there and that the rule of law is applied in all cases,” says Rayner.
The Nigerian government has declined to comment on the pro-Biafra protests and Kanu’s detention despite several requests from Newsweek. In December 2015, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said that Kanu could not be released on bail because he posed a flight risk and that he should face justice in Nigeria.
Nigerian military officer Odumegwu Ojukwu declared the Republic of Biafra to be independent from Nigeria in 1967, sparking a three-year war with Nigerian forces in which more than one million people died.