Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer seeks Britain’s help for detained IPOB leader

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The lawyer wants the British government to declare Mr Kanu, whom he said was seized in Kenya, “a high profile political prisoner”.

Nnamdi Kanu‘s lawyer has requested British government’s assistance for the separatist leader who was recently “intercepted” abroad and brought back to Nigeria to face trial.

Mr Kanu, who is currently detained by Nigeria’s secret police, the SSS, on the order of the court, is accused by the Nigerian authorities of ‘orchestrating’ the killings of about 60 people, including security officials in the country’s South-east region.

IPOB, the pro-Biafra group which he leads, had been proscribed by the Nigerian government.

His lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, in a letter to the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, requested that Mr Kanu, whom he said was seized in Kenya, “be granted every possible Consular assistance to which he is entitled as a British citizen”.

The letter is dated June 30.

Mr Ejimakor also wants the British government to demand that his lawyers and doctors be allowed to have access to him while in detention, as well as his unconditional release.

The IPOB leader holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and the UK.

He is known to have been residing in the UK after he jumped bail and fled Nigeria in 2017 during his trial for treasonable felony.

Mr Kanu “was intercepted in Kenya by Nigeria’s foreign security agents and brought to Nigeria against his will on or about June 27,” his lawyer said.

“Mr Kanu is a British citizen who was traveling on a valid British passport when he was seized in a third country and forcibly brought to Nigeria. Such act constitutes an unlawful rendition of a bonafide British citizen.

“He was not traveling on Nigerian passport or the passport of any other country, including that of Kenya.

“There is no extant Order of extradition by any British Court or any other foreign Court (including Kenya) and we are informed that there is no pending extradition proceedings standing against him in Britain or Kenya.

“There is no deportation Order by any Kenyan Court or other authority that made him subject to deportation.

“But if there was, the country of his deportation should have been Britain on which passport he was travelling. Deporting him to Nigeria just because he was born in Nigeria, but not traveling on her passport, is unlawful under international law,” Mr Ejimakor said in the letter to the British High Commissioner.

The lawyer said Mr Kanu’s agitation for the independent state of Biafra “through a referendum” is considered a “protected political opinion” under British and Nigerian laws.

“Mr Kanu (should) be categorised as a high profile political prisoner or a prisoner of conscience and be thus rendered the highest diplomatic protection under municipal and international laws,” he said.

The British High Commissioner, Ms Laing, on Thursday held talks with Nigeria’s Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on a number of issues, including the ban on Twitter by the Nigerian government.

Mr Kanu’s arrest and detention was not on the agenda of the meeting, it appeared.

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