Kanu’s Arrest: We’re seeking explanation from FG, says Britain

By AdvocateNews on 01/07/2021

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Nnamdi Kanu in handcuffs
Nnamdi Kanu in handcuffs

• UK ready to provide consular assistance to Kanu, demands due process

• Biafran agitator’s lawyers write DSS, allege IPOB leader was kidnapped

• Kalu should not be killed - Archbishop Chukwuma

THE United Kingdom has said it will seek clarification from the Federal Government on the circumstances and legality of the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.

The Head of Communications, British High Commission, Mr Dean Hurlock, who stated this while responding to enquiries from one of our correspondents, said the UK was in the process of seeking explanations from the Federal Government on the circumstances surrounding Kanu’s arrest and extradition.

Hurlock said this as Ifeanyi Ejiofor,  the lead counsel to the detained IPOB leader, said members of the legal team had formally applied to the Department of State Service to allow them access to their client. 

Recall that Kanu, who is facing trial for treasonable felony, jumped bail in 2017 and fled the country for the UK when soldiers stormed his parents’ residence at Afaraukwu, Abia State.

On Tuesday, he was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja,  two days after he was arrested and extradited  to the country.

He is still being remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services by the Federal High Court.

The UK, which had on Tuesday said Kanu, who is also a British citizen, was not arrested within its territory,  made further  clarifications on Wednesday.

Responding to enquiries from one of our correspondents on the legality of Kanu’s arrest and extradition, the Head of Communications, British High Commission, Hurlock, on Wednesday reiterated that the IPOB leader was not arrested or extradited from the UK.

Hurlock said, “In response to any queries on whether Nnamdi Kanu was extradited from the UK, we can reaffirm that Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested in the UK nor was he extradited from the UK.

“With regards to any questions about the possible legality of his arrest, the British High Commission in Abuja is currently in the process of seeking clarification from the Nigerian government about the circumstances of the arrest.”

Trial must follow due process, Britain insists

The British Government also said its Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office was ready to provide consular assistance to Kanu who was expected back in court on July 26.

Hurlock further said the UK expected the trial of the Biafran separatist to follow due process.

He noted, “With regard to any questions about whether the British High Commission is providing assistance in this case, we can confirm that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stands ready to provide consular assistance.

“With regard to any questions about what the UK thinks about the proposed legal process that Nnamdi Kanu is facing in Nigeria, the UK would expect any trial or legal proceedings to follow due process.”

Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team writes DSS, seeks audience with IPOB leader

Meanwhile, Kanu’s lawyer said the DSS had yet to respond to the legal team’s application seeking access to the IPOB leader.

Ejiofor stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday.

He said, “We have tried getting access to the office today to see him while he is being detained.

“In line with their procedure, we have written to the DSS to allow us access to see him, more so, in view of the subsisting charge.

“They have not responded to the application. We were requested to come formally; we have done that and we copied the court.

“We are awaiting their response to the application.”

Ejiofor also alleged that Kanu was abducted, contrary to the popular view that he was arrested.

He added, “Let me correct an impression. Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested. He was abducted by the Nigerian security agency in collaboration with African allies.

“If we are talking about arrest, it will sound civil. But in this case, he was abducted.

“I will confirm from him the exact location where he was abducted from.

“He was abducted and smuggled into Nigeria against all professional ethics and in complete violation of all diplomatic conventions.

“When we get to the bridge, we will cross it as it is a matter for the court to look into.”

Let nothing happen to Kanu, IPOB warns FG

Also on Wednesday, IPOB  warned the Federal Government to be careful with the way it handled its leader, saying nothing must happen to him.

The secessionist group in a statement by its Director of Media and Publicity,  Powerful, said Kanu was abducted, adding those against the Biafra struggle masterminded the ‘abduction’.

It stated, “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 will be held accountable for it.”

The group urged its members at home and in the Diaspora to remain calm. It added,  “Our leader’s next court appearance is July 26, 2021 and Biafrans should mobilise and attend the court hearing.

“IPOB will not relent in the pursuit of Biafra freedom. 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.”

An Igbo group, Nzuko Umunna, said Kanu should not suffer any  harm.

In a statement on Wednesday by its Executive Secretary, Joe Odumuko, and Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Uju Agomoh, Nzuko Umunna demanded fairness in Kanu’s trial, warning that he must not suffer any bodily harm in the DSS custody.

The group said, “We ask the government to ensure that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s fundamental rights are secured to the fullest extent possible. It is noteworthy that Section 31 of the Nigerian Constitution and Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights obligate the Federal Government to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu does not suffer any bodily harm while in the custody of the state and its agencies. It bears repeating that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to secure the bodily integrity and personal dignity of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu while in its custody. We shall hold the Nigerian government and all state actors to account on this obligation under domestic and international laws to the fullest extent possible.”

Respect Kanu’s human rights, Abaribe tells FG

On its part, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe  advised the Federal Government to apply caution and strict adherence to the rule of law in  handling  the issue of Kanu.

The Senator, who stood surety for Kanu, when he was first arraigned a few years ago, stated this in a statement  by his Media Adviser, Uchenna Awom, on Wednesday.

The statement is titled, “Nnamdi Kanu: Abaribe urges respect to fundamental human rights, adherence to rule of law.” 

The Senator 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.

But a former Director of Public Relations of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman,  described arrest  of  Kanu, as heart-warming, calling for the speedy and diligent discharge of justice.

Usman said this on Wednesday morning while speaking on the Sunrise Daily show on Channels Television.

A group,, the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety)  commended the Federal Government for not bringing Kanu ‘body bag’.

The rights group in statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi and other principal officers, Obianuju Igboeli, and Chidimma Udegbunam, however expressed worries about his safety.

However, the Archbishop of Enugu Provence Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev Emmanuel Chukwuma, warned Federal Government to know that if anything should happen to Kanu under custody that there would be greater trouble.

He said “If you kill Kanu that would amount to looking for the trouble of the Igbo.

“We will not allow him to be eliminated. Let him face his trial and judgment. They cannot eliminate anybody like that. If they eliminate him, then they are looking for more trouble.”

Kanu: Afenifere asks Buhari to use same energy in addressing killer herders’ menace

Also, The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere,  called on President Muhammadu Buhari to deploy energy used  in arresting  Kanu to tackle the insecurity in the country.

The Secretary General of the association, Mr Sola Ebiseni, who reacted to the extradition of the IPOB leader,  said the arrest of Kanu, even in a foreign land,  showed how efficient and effective the Nigerian security services and forces could be when operating under the right environment uninfluenced  by political considerations and tribal body languages of the political actors in the illegitimate exercise of the powers granted them by the people.

According to the group, there is nothing cheering in the arrest against the backdrop of the “dubious approach of the Federal  Government to fighting crimes and criminality in Nigeria. “

Ebiseni said, “Nnamdi Kanu is answerable to charges against him and having now been brought before the court, the mode of effecting his arrest has become a mere academic exercise. Nonetheless, as a citizen of Nigeria, he is absolutely entitled to the protection of his fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the constitution and other global norms, including  the right of presumption of innocence until proven beyond reasonable doubt by the state.

“However, such level of enormous energy, resources and  logistics deployed by government to effect the arrest  of  Kanu, in whichever locations outside our shores, would not have been required  to pick members of the Fulani ethnic militias, masquerading as herdsmen, whose innumerable criminal activities were at the roots of such violent and incendiary activities that have engulfed the nation since the advent of the Buhari administration and in reaction to which self determination agitations have taken the central stage of our political existence.

“Rather than the presidential admonition that victims of mass murder and destruction of economic lives should seek peaceful coexistence,  in their  own ancestral communities, with their invading  assailant herdsmen, the Federal Government should not only act but be seen to deploy requisite security measures  against herdsmen and kidnappers who have held the southern and Middle Belt regions hostage for so long and, in recent times, emboldened by government duplicity to have also invaded local farmers and indigenous tribes of the North- West.

“It leaves a sour taste in the mouth that the Nigerian military and security forces which used to be the toast of international community in peace keeping exercises and the renowned deterrence force in the West African sub region are now subjected to the insult and ridicule of negotiations with bandits who bear arms in their presence and their negotiator agents given field days on television.” (The Punch)

Posted 01/07/2021 05:49:13 AM

 

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