Middle East

Nigeria's ex-Biafra leader Chukwuemeka Ojukwu dies

Former Biafra war leader Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (file pic)
Image caption Col Ojukwu declared Biafra to be independent state in the 1960s

The former leader of the Nigerian breakaway state of Biafra, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, has died in the UK after a long illness, aged 78.

Col Ojukwu's declaration of a secessionist state in 1967 sparked the Nigerian civil war, in which more than a million people died.

He remained a prominent figure in Nigerian politics, running twice as a presidential candidate in the 2000s.

A spokesman in Anambra state said he had been ill after suffering a stroke.

Col Ojukwu went into exile after the Biafrans surrendered in 1970, returning more than a decade later after he was officially pardoned.

In a statement, President Goodluck Jonathan praised Col Ojukwu for his "immense love for his people, justice, equity and fairness which forced him into the leading role he played in the Nigerian civil war."