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Chido Onumah, prominent rights activist and author, was arrested on Sunday over the inscription on the T-shirt he wore /Photo: Chido Onumah
Arrested for wearing Biafra T-shirt — Nigerian activist narrates ordeal
October 1, 2019
Chido Onumah, a Nigerian journalist and activist who was arrested on Sunday by the Department of State Service (DSS), said the agency accused him of wearing a shirt with the inscription: ‘We Are All Biafrans.’
Onumah was arrested at the airport upon his arrival from Europe and released five hours later.
“I was arrested for wearing the T-shirt because the SSS said it is capable of causing disaffection in the country,” he told Premium Times, a Nigerian online newspaper on Sunday.
”They said some people had issues and had contacted them (SSS) whether I was part of a group that was planning against the country,” he said.
The inscription on Onumah’s shirt, ‘We Are All Biafrans’, is the title of a book he wrote about Nigeria, which focuses on the need to restructure the country.
Biafra is also the name the south-eastern part of Nigeria adopted during the Nigerian civil war, 1967-1970. There are still many individuals and groups clamouring for an independent Biafra republic. One of them is the proscribed group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), led by Nnamdi Kanu.
Onumah has no known links with any of the Biafran groups and has opposed the breakup of Nigeria, calling instead for a restructured country where power is devolved to its constituent parts.
While Onumah was in DSS detention, Nigerians, some of whom were journalists, called for his release and asked the agency to tell the public why he was arrested.