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In his renewed move to regain freedom, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has again filed a petition to the United Kingdom’s International Relations and Defence Committee of the House of Lords.
The six-page petition to the House of Lords dated January 18, 2024, Kanu who wrotethrough his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor not only reminded the House that Kanu is a British national and was “renditioned, tortured and imprisoned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, since June 19, 2021.”
Part of the petition read: “Mr. Kanu, a British national, is a political activist, advocating self-determination for the people of Biafra (Eastern Nigeria), with the singular aim of creation of the sovereign State of Biafra from Nigeria through a referendum.
“He is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, which he founded in 2012, for actualisation of the creation of the State of Biafra.
“IPOB is registered as a legal entity in the United Kingdom and it has numerous offices and chapters around the world. It operates in the open as a non-violent group, including in Nigeria, before the Government of Nigeria, GON, unfairly proscribed/declared it a terrorist group in 2017.
“However, in October 2023, a High Court in Nigeria declared as unconstitutional, the executive actions of the GON in the proscription of IPOB and its declaration as a terrorist group.
“The court awarded significant damages against the GON and ordered it to apologize to Mr. Kanu.
“Over time and after 18 months in detention without trial, Mr. Kanu was released on bail, due mainly to domestic and international pressure.
“Following this, Mr. Kanu returned to his ancestral home in Umuahia, Abia State, South-East Nigeria, where he stayed and awaited his next court date scheduled for October 20, 2017.
“From September 10 to 14, 2017, Nigerian security forces led by the Army, levied lethal attacks at Mr. Kanu’s home. The security forces used live bullets and other lethal munitions and several people including Mr. Kanu, his parents (now late), his siblings, children, women, the elderly, and numerous visitors were at the said home with Mr. Kanu during the attacks.
“At the end of the attack, Mr. Kanu’s home was badly damaged, dozens of people were killed, many were wounded and maimed, and the security forces captured several people alive and took them to unknown locations to this day.
“In January 2022, a High Court in Nigeria declared the military attack at Mr. Kanu’s residence as unconstitutional and a breach of his fundamental rights and awarded him substantial monetary damages.
“In March 2018, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, ACHPR, issued an interim decision, holding that the military attacks on Mr. Kanu and the contemporaneous proscription of IPOB, violated the African Charter; and accordingly, the ACHPR wrote the former President of Nigeria to remedy the situation but the GON never implemented the Provisional Measures to this day.
“In October 2020, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs transmitted a Communication/Decision, No: AL NGA 5/2020, to the GON, conveying its disapproval of the executive or administrative action of the GON on the proscription of IPOB.
“In particular, the said Communication/Decision expressly stated that the action of the GON in this regard was motivated by ethnic bias and discrimination against the Igbo.”
The petition graphically narrated how Kanu was forced to flee Nigeria and go into voluntary exile, to save his life, his entry into Kenya on May 12, 2021, as a British citizen, and how several armed security agents working for GON, violently accosted and abducted, handcuffed, blindfolded and bundled him in a vehicle and sped away, to a nondescript private house, somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya and chained him to the floor.
After taking a hard look at the recent judgment of the Supreme Court, Kanu’s Special Counsel expressed happiness that the Justices “strongly condemned both the said military attacks against Mr. Kanu and his extraordinary rendition,” stressing that “Mr. Kanu remains in limbo without any clear prospects of ever being brought to trial since this saga begins almost nine years ago.”
He then pleaded: “Given the foregoing, we hereby most respectfully urge the House of Lords to urgently intervene with His Majesty’s Government, to promptly make demands on the GON to unconditionally release Mr. Kanu from detention and repatriate him to the United Kingdom, and to levy sanctions against the GON, if it fails to comply within a reasonable time.
“It is pertinent to stress the point that extraordinary rendition inherently destroys every prospect for a fair trial in the jurisdiction that levied the rendition.”
In a related development, Kanu has said he is not opposed to any genuine restructuring of Nigeria along the 1963 Constitution.
The IPOB Leader insisted that unless those opposed to holistic restructuring of Nigeria repented, his demand for a referendum to determine whether the people of Biafra would like to exit or continue as part of Nigeria remained sacrosanct.
Kanu’s position was conveyed to reporters by his younger brother, Prince Emmanuel after meeting with him at his solitary confinement at the Abuja headquarters of the Department of State Services, DSS.