Nnamdi Kanu: Nigerian separatist allowed to watch Liverpool games on TV

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Men of the Nigeria State Secret Police (SSS) escorts Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi KanuImage source, AFP
Image caption,
Nnamdi Kanu (in white) now has the opportunity to watch Liverpool against Wolves on Sunday

A Nigerian separatist in detention on treason charges has been allowed by a judge to watch the matches of his favourite team, Liverpool, on TV.

Nnamdi Kanu, who denies the charges, leads the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) group.

In detention since last year, his privileges have not extended to watching whole football matches live.

But thanks to the judge, a fellow Liverpool fan, Mr Kanu can now view the climax to a possibly historic season.

Having already bagged the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, Liverpool are just two matches away from winning the English Premier League title and the European Champions League.

Bizarrely, the change in fortunes for Mr Kanu did not come at his request and resulted from the discovery that Mr Kanu, his lawyer and the judge were all Liverpool fans.

He was in court on Wednesday for a hearing on a bail application following his arrest last year for campaigning for the independence of south-east Nigeria, which he refers to as Biafra.

The bail application was refused but during the discussions about whether he should be granted bail, Justice Binta Nyako complained that Mr Kanu had disobeyed a previous order that he stop appearing in court wearing clothes from the Italian luxury brand Fendi, when he had other options.

She may have been referring to a tweet in which Mr Kanu was seen in an Atletico Madrid tracksuit during a visit by Charles Soludo, the Anambra state governor.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The judge, then joked that she was a Liverpool supporter and asked Mr Kanu's lawyer, Mike Ozekhome if he was also a fan of the football club. The lawyer said: "Yes."

Mrs Nyako then turned to Mr Kanu in the dock. "What is your team?" she asked.

"My team is Liverpool even from age of seven," Mr Kanu, standing upright in the dock, responded.

The judge then ordered the prison representative to allow Mr Kanu to watch next week's Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool and any other match of his favourite football club.

"You must allow the defendant to watch the matches any day they are playing," she said, adding that she was going to make an order to that effect.

Mr Kanu may now be able to sit down and watch Liverpool's last Premier League match on Sunday, but whether that will be an enjoyable experience is another matter.

Manchester City are currently one point ahead of Liverpool in the title race and are favourites to retain the trophy.

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