FACT CHECK: Is this a sister of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu?

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CLAIM:A Facebook handle, Igbotimes Magazine, on Wednesday, published a photograph with some white men and only one black woman. The post claims that the woman in the photograph, identified as ‘Luci Kanu, is a sister to the incarcerated leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.



The post reads thus:

“The lady circled in the photo was Lucy Kanu, a sister to IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. She was born into slavery in Tennessee, but during the Civil War, she managed to escape and found her way to the 23rd Indiana Infantry Regiment which was encamped nearby. She stayed with the regiment and worked as a nurse throughout the war.

“After the war, she moved north with the regiment and settled in Indiana, where she found work with some of the veterans of the 23rd.

“She applied for a pension after Congress passed the Army Nurses Pension Act of 1892 which allowed Civil War nurses to draw pensions for their service.

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“The War Department had no record of her, so her pension was denied. Fifty-five surviving veterans of the 23rd petitioned Congress for the pension they felt she had rightfully earned, and it was granted.”


Through a reverse image search, Ripples Nigeria found that the claim is false. We found that the post was copied on the website of Royal ISD, a High School in Texas, United States, while the first sentence was edited. The other details in the post are correct. Her name was not Lucy Kanu, but Lucy Higgs Nichols. Indeed, she was born into slavery, and participated in the American Civil (1861-1865) as a nurse in the 23rd Indiana Infantry Regiment.

We gathered that she escaped from slavery with her daughter and husband but she lost both of them to the war. The soldiers took care of her and after the war, she settled in New Albany, Indiana.

According to Al Gorman, the coordinator of public programs and engagement at the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, the “photograph was taken shortly after she was made the only honorary female member of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic).”

She died on Jan. 5, 1915, in poor health and alone in the Floyd County Poor Farm after outliving her second husband and most of the soldiers.

According to an account of her life on the website of Wave 3 News, she was buried with military honours in the coloured cemetery next to her husband who was part of the coloured troops, but no one ever marked her grave. Historians are still working to find and mark her grave with honour.


The woman in the picture is not Nnamdi Kanu’s sister, but a Black American, who escaped slavery.

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