The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu has written to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking to be immediately released and all charges against him dropped through a “political solution”
Kanu is being held by the Department of State Services (DSS) at its headquarters in Abuja, after the separatist leader was extraordinarily renditioned by the Nigerian government from Kenya in June 2021, an action his lawyers termed as “illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional extradition”.
Kanu in a letter signed by his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome asked President Buhari to release him through a more productive “political solution.”
According to the IPOB leader, his release will halt the “present restlessness and sits-at-home mantra currently ravaging the South East and paralysing business and normal life”.
He also asked the President to obey the judgement of the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Commission.
The UN Working Group had called on the Nigerian government to immediately and unconditionally release Kanu.
In a document, the body also blamed the Nigerian and Kenyan governments for Kanu’s abduction and rendition.
The letter to the President reads, “We are Solicitors to Nwannekaenyi Nnamdi Olewu Kanu (“Nnamdi Kanu”: “our client”: “Kanu”), on whose clear instructions we write this urgent petition to your good self. The petition is to humbly urge you to order the immediate release of Nnamdi Kanu through a more productive “political solution”.
“You can do this by instructing the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation to wield his powers under section 174 of the 1999 Constitution to enter a “nolle prosequi”. This will immediately halt the present restlessness and sits-at-home mantra currently ravaging the South East and paralysing business and normal life.
“We make this Executive summary because you are about to read a very lengthy letter comprising of an admixture of law (municipal and international), ethics, morality, and your well-documented promises that led to your two-time election as president of this great country. We also do this Executive Summary being acutely aware of your very busy schedule as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This is an appeal to enable you to correct a long-standing travesty: the continued detention by the Nigerian Government, of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) under cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions.
“Mr. Kanu is currently being tried at the Federal High Court for sundry offences, in the course of which he was granted bail. He dutifully observed the terms and conditions of the bail until he was brutally attacked by men of the Nigerian Army on Sunday 10 and Thursday 14, September 2017. As a direct consequence of that unprovoked assault, 28 innocent Nigerians were brutally mauled down.
“Kanu barely managed to escape out of Nigeria by the whiskers through the skin of his teeth. It was apparently a state-sponsored assassination attempt on his life.
“As if that was not bad enough sir. Kanu’s subsequent sojourn in exile to seek refuge in London, from where he travelled to Kenya, was brutally aborted, on 26 June 2021, when he was savagely abducted, blind-folded, tortured, kept in solitary confinement for 8 days in a secret location, and forcibly renditioned back to Nigeria.
“This was carried out arbitrarily without due process and without recourse to the Judicial systems of Kenya, the UK and Nigeria. Indeed, in Kenya, Kanu had simply been tortured and made to disappear and kept out of circulation and public view in a secret facility for eight (8) good days, by the Kenya authorities and at the behest of Nigerian authorities. It was an illegal collaboration between the Kenyan and Nigerian secret agents.
“The purpose of this humble petition is to invite your Excellency to calmly consider the following grounds on why the continued detention of Kanu violates all known laws and norms of both International and domestic laws – including Nigeria’s obligations under binding international treaties.
“Your Excellency, of particular concern is the July 20, 2022 Ruling of the United Nations (UN) Working group on Arbitrary Detention which was adopted on 4 April 2022, at its 93 session held on March 30-April 8, 2022. The report was issued after the Nigerian Government had filed her reply to the UN body’s communication on 25 January 2022. Kenya did not reply.
“The 16-page report indicted both the Nigerian and Kenyan governments for Kanu’s arrest and extraordinary rendition, torture and continued detention. The UN Council, therefore, urged the Nigerian government to ensure “immediate release (of) Kanu unconditionally”.
“‘It is also ordered that he be paid adequate compensation for the arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights.’ The point must be emphasized sir, that Kanu had travelled to Kenya using a British Passport. He has thus presented himself to the Kenyan authorities as a British citizen, and not as a Nigerian citizen, or one with dual citizenship of Nigeria and the UK.
“Consequently, Kanu could only have been expelled to the UK (and not to Nigeria, as happened), if the need had arisen, and in a situation where due extradition process had been properly followed. Your Excellency, the State Security Service (SSS) that conspired to forcefully rendition Kanu back to Nigeria after he was tortured, blindfolded and subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, is the same investigator, detaining authority and the prosecutor. The 6S5 had therefore become a judge in its own case: Lord and master unto itself.
“The UN Council found that Kanu’s continued detention is inconsistent with relevant provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Nigeria has duly ratified as a signatory, as well as of those of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. This is one reason your Excellency must release Nnamdi Kanu immediately.
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“Your Excellency, we earnestly believe that a dispassionate consideration of the Report of the UN body (which we shall hereafter quote copiously from), will bear eloquent testimony to a litany of grave errors which Kanu’s abduction, and his continued detention and shabby treatment since then by officers and men of the Nigerian SSS. constitute.
“All these cumulatively constitute, not only gross violation of our client’s fundamental rights under international and Nigerian laws but, even more worrisome, cast an altogether avoidable pall on Nigeria’s image in the international community. To refuse releasing Kanu unconditionally and immediately is to court international displeasure and multi-faceted backlash. It will hurt Nigeria badly as it will also insinuate that your Excellency does not subscribe to the Rule of law and respect for citizens’ fundamental rights, and your postulations of the just ended United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) which took place between 20 and 23 September 2022.
“Your Excellency must avoid these unhealthy reactions by ensuring that Kanu is RELEASED IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY NOW. The moral burden of insisting on keeping Kanu in detention is too expensive and too offensive to embrace, especially with his fragile and deteriorating health condition which his custodians (the 555) have not been able to manage properly. Do not let Kanu die in detention sir.
“HOW THE UN WORKING GROUP REPORT ORDERED YOUR GOVERNMENT TO RELEASE KANU IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY. Your Excellency, the directive issued by a powerful agency of the United Nations – its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – for the immediate and unconditional release by your government of Nnamdi Kanu, and payment to him of damages is a sure sign that the world has finally woken up and taken due cognizance of your government’s flagrant violation of Kanu’s rights, which has been condemned globally; that is, his extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria about 16 months ago is a great travesty which ought not to stand at all. Your Excellency, that directive by the UN body (technically called an ‘opinion”) was issued on 20 July 2022 and was transmitted to your government and that of Kenya -two days later, on 22 July, 2022
“DETAILS OF THE REPORT OF THE UN WORKING GROUP. Your Excellency, to provide a composite picture of the said decision of the Working Group, it is important to refer to its report in some detail. Kindly therefore indulge me in this regard.”
Kanu added that he was a victim of state persecution as the government has failed to provide evidence linking him to treason and other allegations levelled against him.
Describing Kanu as a victim of state persecution, the report asserts that Kanu is a victim of state persecution, “as Nigeria failed to provide convincing explanations with proof that he was guilty of treason and other criminal allegations levelled against him”.
The Group’s report reads, “Noting the failure of the government to explain what actions of Kanu amounted to such criminal acts and how, and observing the lack of any evidence that any of his actions may in fact amount to such crimes, the Working Group concludes that Kanu is in fact being persecuted for the peaceful exercise of his rights, most notably his freedom of opinion and expression…