The State Security Service (SSS) has arrested, detained and and reportedly tortured three Israeli filmmakers over allegations that they supported the activities of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB).
Times of Israel reported that a Zionist activist, Rudy Rochman, filmmaker Noam Leibman and French-Israeli Journalist E. David Benaym were arrested last week when they visited Ogidi village, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State to shoot a documentary.
The trio was said to have taken off from Ben Gurion Airport, Israel on July 5 and arrived in Nigeria the following day to film the documentary, “We Were Never Lost” which explores Jewish communities in African countries such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, and Nigeria.
Locals said the SSS operatives interrogated and detained the crew at a synagogue during Friday night services in Ogidi, Anambra State and were subsequently taken to Abuja.
“We do not take any position on political movements as we are not here as politicians nor as a part of any governmental delegations”, a post on the “We Were Never Lost” Facebook page partly read as the shoot came on the heels of the arrest and repatriation of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya.
Nigeria’s foreign ministry was said to have confirmed the arrest on Tuesday and noted that the Israeli Embassy in Abuja was following up on the case.
Family members of one of the men arrested told the Times of Israel that the allegations were entirely unfounded, and that IPOB social media accounts took advantage of the Israelis’ trip to claim that the three were supporting Biafra.
The group had met last week with Igbo leader Eze Chukwuemeka Eri and presented him with a framed Shiviti made in Jerusalem.
Sharing the news on his social media page, Rochman wrote;
Honored by Igbo King Eze Chukwuemeka Eri and invited to his palace. I presented him a gift from Israel, a shiviti…
Rochman also presented another Igbo community with a Torah scroll whose cover was designed by British-Israeli street artist Solomon Souza.
The Igbo consider themselves a lost tribe of Israel.
In 2018, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of IPOB gave a radio broadcast saying he was in Israel and indicating he owed his survival to the Jewish state.
He 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.
Kanu is facing treason charges in his homeland. He was arrested by Interpol in an unspecify location abroad in June 2021.