Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has cried out to the British Government to deliver him from his current travails with the Nigerian authorities
Kanu, in the petition through one of his lawyers, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, described himself as a victim of travesty of justice and gross human rights violation due to his prolonged detention by the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari.
The IPOB leader, who expressed his readiness to stand trial, said, however, that what he is yearning for is nothing but fair trial and not persecution.
In the letter dated March 24, 2016 and addressed to the British High Commissioner in Abuja, the separatist, who is facing treason charge alongside two other pro-Biafra agitators, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, said he was wrongly arrested and put in detention.
He drew the British envoy’s attention to his rights and privileges as a British citizen.
He wrote in the letter through his lawyer: “It is repeating the obvious to state that Our Client is a full British citizen, by virtue of which position he is entitled to all Rights, Privileges and Protections, guaranteed under the British Laws and conventions.
“We are therefore constrained in the circumstance, to formally notify the British Government vide this medium, of our well informed reservations, and apprehension, that Our Client is undergoing persecution in the charge above referred, and deliberate design by the persecutors to frustrate every effort of the Defence team aimed at giving Our Client a fair trial.”
His lawyer said the detention of his client from October 14, 2015 till January 20, 2016 without any lawful orders of court and in flagrant disobedience of orders of courts of competent jurisdiction, all directing for his unconstitutional release and discharge, amounts to a gross violation of his fundamental human rights.
Ejiofor, who chronicled all the alleged abuses of Kanu’s fundamental human rights, recalled the Chief Magistrate Court in Abuja specified in the First Information Report originally filed against him had discharged his client of all bogus and frivolous allegations against him, adding: “The Department of State Security Services that dragged him to court refused to obey the orders of the same court.”
According to the letter: “It is the position of our Law, that dual citizenship is a constitutional right of the citizens of Nigeria, clearly provided for under section 28 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended 2011. Dual citizenship is not a crime under our Law.
“Our reservations on the President’s comment were underpinned by the findings made in the ruling delivered on the 29th day of February 2016, by Hon. Justice John Tsoho, wherein Our Client and the two other Defendants were denied bail.
“Recalled that on December 29, 2015, during the Presidential Media Chat, the President told the whole world that Nnamdi Kanu cannot be granted bail, alleging that he came into the country without a valid travelling passport. This pronouncement was roundly condemned by both local and international commentators. His pronouncement was viewed as a clear usurpation of the functions and powers if the judiciary.
“Though very regrettable and extremely unfortunate, Nnamdi Kanu was refused bail on 29 January, 2016. In refusing him and other defendants bail, the court also cited the facts of his possession of dual passports as a flight risk, and as such held that he cannot be granted bail.”
This position, according to Ejiofor “was in keeping in line with the pronouncement of the President if the Federal Republic if Nigeria in his media chat telecasted live on December 29, 2015. It is a case of a witch crying in the night and a baby dying in the morning.”
It will be recalled that Justice John Tsoho had on January 29 denied bail to Kanu and two other pro-Biafra agitators, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi, who are facing trial with him.
The trio are answering to a six-count treason charge that was preferred against them by the Federal Government.
Kanu, who was hitherto the Director of Radio Biafra and Television, has been in detention since October 14, 2015 when he was arrested by security operatives upon his arrival to Nigeria from his base in the United Kingdom.
The defendants were in the charge that was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mohammed Diri, alleged to have committed treasonable felony, an offence punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The Federal Government alleged that they were the ones managing the affairs of the IPOB, which it described as “an unlawful society”.
Specifically, Kanu was alleged to have illegally smuggled radio transmitters into Nigeria, which he used to disseminate “hate broadcasts”, encouraging the “secession of the Republic of Biafra” from Nigeria.