By Lukman Olabiyi
The family of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has written a pre-action letter to the UK government over alleged failure to protect their son who is a British citizen.
The pre-action letter was written on behalf of the detainee’s family by Shirin Marker, solicitor at Bindmans LLP.
The letter addressed to the Foreign Secretary, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, the Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, challenged her failure to acknowledge that Kanu, a British citizen, has been subjected to extraordinary rendition, and to lawfully determine what further steps the UK government should take to assist him, given the violation of his human rights.
The letter stated that Kanu was forcibly taken from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021, and has been held in solitary confinement, ever since, in a Nigerian security services detention facility, adding that the Nigerian government had described it as an ‘interception’ and has not provided any evidence of formal extradition proceedings.
Shirin Marker, who is representing Kanu’s family, said: “It has now been nearly a year since Mr Kanu was subject to extraordinary rendition. Since then, he has been detained in solitary confinement in a cell six by six feet for nearly 24 hours a day. To date, the UK’s diplomatic efforts have had very little effect.
UK officials have only been able to visit Mr Kanu twice whilst in detention, his conditions of detention have not changed since that visit, and no other progress has been made in assisting him.
“Most remarkably, the Foreign Secretary has been unable or unwilling to reach a conclusion on whether Mr Kanu has been subject to extraordinary rendition or not, despite all the evidence showing he was. That matters because she cannot make a proper decision on how to respond to what has happened without deciding, precisely, what she is responding to. Mr Kanu’s family, who bring this challenge, urge her to take a decisive stance on his extraordinary rendition, so that she can properly consider what further steps should be taken to assist him, in light of this egregious breach of international law.”