From Magnus Eze, Enugu, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri, Fred Itua, Abuja, Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu, Chukwudi Nweje and Sunday Ani
Fresh facts have emerged on how leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya during visit from his base.
His younger brother, Kingsley, in a statement by spokesperson of IPOB, Emma Powerful, lamented that his brother has been subjected to violation of international law and therefore seek assistance from the United Kingdom.
“Whilst visiting Kenya, Nnamdi Kanu was detained and handed over to the Nigerian authorities who then flew him to Nigeria. My brother has been subject to extraordinary rendition by Kenya and Nigeria. They have violated the most basic principles of the rule of law. Extraordinary rendition is one of the most serious crimes states can commit. Both Nigeria and Kenya must be held to account. I demand justice for my brother, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Nnamdi Kanu holds both British and Nigerian citizenship. Nnamdi Kanu is Biafran not Nigerian. He has rejected his Nigerian citizenship.
“The British High Commission in Nigeria must insist upon my brother’s immediate release. They must guarantee his safety and security. Nnamdi Kanu must be returned home to the UK to his wife and his sons who live here. The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, must make clear to the Nigerian authorities that they will not tolerate the unlawful detention of British citizens and that the UK Government condemns the Nigerians and Kenyans for undermining the rule of law.
“Foreign Secretary Raab must be clear. There will be consequences for those who resort to extraordinary rendition. The British Government must insist upon justice for Nnamdi Kanu,” he stated.
•Nothing should happen to our leader –IPOB
IPOB has claimed that Kanu was abducted contrary to announcement by government that he was extradited to Nigeria with foreign collaborations even as he vowed to expose how he was brought back to Nigeria.
Despite the arrest, the group has vowed not to relent in the pursuit of Biafra freedom.
It also assured that the arrest of Kanu would not in any way obstruct the agitation for a Biafra nation.
“We have crossed the Rubicon in our struggle for the restoration of Biafran sovereignty. There is no going back no matter the level of intimidation by our oppressors…
“Our Leader can never be coerced into abandoning the struggle for Biafra restoration irrespective of the circumstance,” Powerful said.
It urged the Federal Government to ensure safety of Kanu while in the custody of the Department of the State Security Service (DSS) and accord him justice and fair hearing.
“We remind the Nigeria government and her security agencies that our leader deserves justice and fair hearing. We also want to state unequivocally that no harm should befall our leader. Should anything untoward happen to him, Nigeria government would be held accountable for it.”
•Igbo-British lawyers threaten to Kenyan govt to ICC
The coalition of Igbo-British lawyers in a statement by Attorney E.R Okoroafor in Glasgow, Scotland, said Kanu’s arrest was illegal and archaic.
It accused the Kenyan government of playing a major role in the illegal detention of Kanu and subsequent handing him over to the Nigerian government without any due process.
The group said Kanu “entered Kenya with his British passport and the Kenya government was fully aware of his citizenship status but still went ahead to perpetrate their illegal act which did not only breach the personal human rights of Kanu but also undermine the sovereignty of the British government.
Giving notice to the Kenyan government of a legal action against it, the group said, “we shall be heading to the International Criminal Court to rectify the injustice done as it is trite law that injustice to one is injustice to all. We are also by this medium informing the Nigerian government that they have 48 hours to return Mazi Kanu to the United Kingdom and if he has any charges to answer to, they should as a nation that is governed by the constitution, pass through the legal means of filing an extradiction notice as failure to do so, we shall not hesitate to term this an a declaration of war on not only on Kanu and IPOB but also on all Igbo generally, and this we shall vehemently resist with all apparatus of law available at our disposal.”
•Defend your citizen, WIC tells UK
The World Igbo Congress (WIC) has challenged the government of United Kingdom to rise up and defend one of its citizen- Kanu.
WIC also urged the Nigerian government to ensure that the IPOB leader is treated in accordance with the rules and international conventions that guaranteed that his rights and personal safety are protected.
The group noted that the abduction of Kanu, a British citizen in a country other than the United Kingdom to which he travelled on British passport raised the specter of illegal abduction and international gangsterism that violated the spirit of the process of extradition.
Also reacting, Nzuko Umunna accused the Federal Government of applying conflicting treatment in the arrest of Kanu.
The influential pan-Igbo think-tank called on the Federal Government to seek political solution to the agitations of IPOB and its leader, Kanu.
A statement the Executive Secretary, Joe Odumuko and his deputy, Dr. Uju Agomoh, asked government to ensure Kanu does not suffer any bodily harm while in the custody of the state and its agencies and vowed to hold it and all state actors to account on this obligation under domestic and international laws to the fullest extent possible.
•Agitation provoked by Buhari –Archbishop Chukwuma
Archbishop of Enugu Province Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma has said agitation for Biafra was provoked by the actions of President Buhari.
He said the selective negligence the president adopted in making his numerous appointments which did not recognise the South East as a bonafide geopolitical zone of the country necessitated the self-determination agitation by Kanu and his group, IPOB.
The Archbishop stressed that haven engaged in agitation for the good of his people, Igbo would not deny or abandon him in this time of trial but would support and pray that God sees him through.
Chukwuma who spoke to newsmen at the Bishop’s Court, Enugu explained that what he told a national daily on Monday on the arrest of Kanu was that going by the way social media news described how he was arrested, it was obvious his arrest and extradition to Nigeria was done not in accordance with international regulations.
Chukwuma expressed sadness that government could go abroad to arrest self-determination agitator but refused to arrest bandits and terrorist herdsmen that had made living in Nigeria a nightmare.
“But if you are saying you have captured Kanu, my question is, how many bandits and how many of the Fulani herdsmen have you captured and prosecuted? So, you still find out that the selective negligence and their discriminations is continuing.
“If you are saying Kanu this, Kanu that, the people who are bandits and Fulani herdsmen have done worse things but none of them have been arrested, none of them have been prosecuted, then you have pride to say you have arrested somebody from abroad but those who are at your nose you have not arrested. I think it’s a failure on government security and we feel it is not right at all.”
•Group demands fair hearing
Human rights group, Rights for All International (RAI), has called on the Federal Government to ensure Kanu is accorded basic constitutional principles of fair hearing.
A statement by the group’s Executive Director, Okere Kingdom Nnamdi, said though Kanu jumped bail and refused to appear to continue his trial in court, the circumstances of his actions must be taken into consideration.
He blamed Kanu’s action on the Nigerian military, which attacked his home and shot sporadically killing several innocent people during its special operation codenamed “Operation python dance.”
He argued that jumping bail did not amount to a death sentence under the law as the trial of a man who jumped bail could be taken in his absence.
He also called on the international community to keep a watch on Kanu’s renewed trial even as he insisted that justice must be done to all manner of persons, including persons such as the IPOB leader, who is exercising rights under the United Nations Charter for self-determination.
•Abaribe: Respect his rights
Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has urged the Federal Government to adhere to the rule of law in the handling of the Nnamdi Kanu issue.
The senator in a statement released by his media adviser, Uchenna Awom in Abuja on Wednesday, also advised the Federal Government to be guided by the provisions of Section 31 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights as it detains and re-arraign Mazi Kanu in court for the continuation of his trial.
The relevant section and charter, he said, presuppose that the detainee should be humanely treated while in the custody of the state.
“What it means is that it is the duty of the government in this instance to protect him and ensure the respect of his fundamental human rights while his trial lasts. For now, it is trite law, that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Abaribe said.
However, the Minority Leader called for calm, saying that the recent events present an ample opportunity for a dialogue and for the Federal Government to address the contending issues that seem to challenge the peace and unity of the country.