Family of embattled leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has reportedly threatened to sue British government; over its “silence” regarding the alleged illegal extradition to Nigeria.
It was gathered that the family accused the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Liz Truss, of ignoring “overwhelming evidence” that Kanu was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria by the Nigerian government.
It should be recalled that Kanu, the IPOB leader, was granted bail in April 2017; and fled the country after the Nigerian military invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State in September.
He was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021; about four years after he fled Nigeria. He is currently being detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for treason.
In a pre-action legal letter to Ms Truss, the family, through their lawyers, Bindmans LLP, accused the foreign secretary of failing to end Kanu’s “unlawful” detention in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the family had previously threatened legal action against the British government; over the lack of “consular assistance” for Kanu.
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In a latest letter to the foreign secretary through the lawyers, Kanu’s family said the IPOB leader’s alleged extraordinary rendition to Nigeria might have breached international law.
Shirin Marker, one of the family’s lawyers in the letter said:
If Mr Kanu has been subject to extraordinary rendition, this is a grave breach of international law; which has a significant impact on the discretion which the secretary of state exercises in respect of the steps she should take to assist Mr Kanu under international and domestic law.
Forming a view as to whether a breach of international law has occurred. And if so the gravity of the breach, is, therefore, an essential prerequisite to the exercise of discretion on taking further steps at international and domestic law.
The letter stated that Kanu was in Kenya in June last year when he was detained by the country’s security services. They took him to a house where he was chained to the floor and beaten for approximately eight days; before being put on a private jet on June 27, and flown to Abuja.;
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They faulted the Nigerian government’s failure to provide details of how Kanu, who did not have his British passport with him was brought back to Nigeria.
Kingsley, Kanu’s younger brother lamented:
With every day that passes, I am increasingly concerned for my brother’s welfare in detention; and increasingly frustrated by the UK government’s ineffectiveness in assisting him.
I hope the court will rule that the foreign secretary must recognise the seriousness of my brother’s situation; and properly consider what other steps she can take to assist him in light of his extraordinary rendition.
Kanu, who is a Nigeria-British citizen is the leader of IPOB. IPOB is a separatist group that is agitating for an independent state of Biafra to be carved out from the South-east and some parts of South-south Nigeria.
He was earlier slammed with 15 count charges by the Federal Government on terrorism and felony. However, the charges have been reduced to seven.
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