The British High Commission in Nigeria said yesterday that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stood ready to provide ‘consular’ assistance on the issue of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s British nationality.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, was re-arrested abroad, brought back home and re-arraigned by the Federal Government, on Tuesday and thereafter detained by the Department of State Service, DSS, on court order.
The UK assistance pledge is coming as the Kanu matter caused uneasy calm in the South-East, with the IPOB leader’s family protesting what it called the ‘abduction’ of their son from Kenya to Nigeria, describing it as a violation of international law and basic principles of the rule of law.
Several calls put across to the Kenya High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Wilfred Machage, proved abortive.
The IPOB, yesterday, also alleged that its leader was abducted and not intercepted or arrested as claimed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, saying it will expose the details of his alleged abduction later.
In Imo, Kanu’s travails have split the leaders as well as followers of the IPOB just as Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, former Aviation Minister and a close ally of Kanu cautioned the Nigerian government over the rearrest of Nnamdi Kanu saying the IPOB leader must not die in custody.
Also yesterday, the World Igbo Congress, WIC, urged the United Kingdom to defend Kanu, its citizen, against illegal abduction and extradition.
However, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has commended the Federal Government on its moves so far saying the government is capable of handling the matter.
‘UK’ll provide consular assistance’
Head of Communications, British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock, also confirmed yesterday that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office was ready to provide “consular” assistance to Nnamdi Kanu.
He said: “In response to any queries on whether Nnamdi Kanu was extradited from the UK, we can reafirm that Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested in the UK and 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.
“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.
“This is as much as we can say on this matter for now. I will be happy to provide further responses to additional questions in due course.”
Kanu’s family protests arrest, extradition
A statement on behalf of the family by Kingsley Kanu said that Nnamdi Kanu was unlawfully arrested in Kenya, detained, and was subsequently subjected to extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria.
The family’s statement read in part: “News has reached Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s family that he has been unlawfully arrested in Kenya, detained and has subsequently been the subject of extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria where he is now detained.
“Nnamdi Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra. My brother, Nnamdi Kanu, demands the right to self-determination for Biafra. Self-determination is guaranteed by the United Nations laws. Because Biafrans support Nnamdi Kanu’s call for Biafran self-determination, my brother has now been subjected to the most serious violations of international law.
“Whilst visiting Kenya, Nnamdi Kanu was detained and handed over to Nigerian authorities who then flew him to Nigeria. My brother has been subject to extraordinary renditions by Kenya and Nigeria.
“They have violated the most basic principles of the rule of law. Extraordinary rendition is one of the most serious crimes states can commit. Both Nigeria and Kenya must be held to account. I demand justice for my brother, Nnamdi Kanu.
“Nnamdi Kanu holds both British and Nigerian citizenship. Nnamdi Kanu is Biafran, not Nigerian. He has rejected his Nigerian citizenship. The British High Commission in Nigeria must insist upon my brother’s immediate release.
“They must guarantee his safety and security. Nnamdi Kanu must be returned home to the UK to his wife and his sons who live here.
“The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, must make it clear to the Nigerian authorities that they will not tolerate the unlawful detention of British citizens and that the UK Government condemns Nigeria and Kenya for undermining the rule of law.
“Foreign Secretary Raab, must be clear. There will be consequences for those who resort to extraordinary rendition. The British government must insist upon justice for Nnamdi Kanu.”
No going back on Biafra struggle— IPOB
On its part, the IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, entitled, Nothing should happen to our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, alleged that Kanu’s abduction was masterminded by the Nigeria government in collaboration with all those that view IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu as a stumbling block to their bid to continue to attack Igbo communities, and hold Biafrans in perpetual slavery.
IPOB also stated that even with Kanu’s alleged abduction and subsequent detention in DSS custody, all its activities must go on unhindered because they have crossed the rubicon in their struggle and will never relent in the pursuit of Biafra freedom no matter the level of intimidation and harassment.
IPOB’s statement read in part, “We the global family of movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra, ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to confirm the abduction of our leader by the Nigerian government and her security operatives. We shall expose details of his abduction later.
“Our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, is presently in custody of the Nigeria government. This crime of kidnapping was masterminded by the Nigeria government in collaboration with all those that view IPOB and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a stumbling block to their continued attack of Igbo communities and in their bid to hold Biafra in perpetual slavery.
“We, therefore, enjoin every IPOB member both at home and in the Diaspora and all Biafrans to remain calm because this is not the end of the road, our activities continue unhindered even with the abduction and detention of our leader.
“We will mobilize to Court on the day of our leader’s next court appearance, which is July 26, 2021 and we call on Biafrans to mobilize 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.
“Our Leader can never be coerced into abandoning the struggle for Biafra restoration irrespective of the present circumstance.
“At this very challenging moment in the history of our march to freedom, all IPOB family members must stand firm and resolute behind our selfless leader. We stand by him and the God of Heavens in whom we trust and rest our confidence shall not let us down. We shall triumph!
“We want to draw the attention of the world to a statement from one of our intelligence officers saying, “Please Nnamdi Kanu’s life is at risk… Don’t doubt it, don’t ask me how and don’t chat me up privately on this.
“They are seriously planning to poison his food in detention or poison his skin through health treatment and trust me this time, they will succeed.
“We, therefore, want to remind the Nigerian government and her security agencies that our leader deserves justice and fair hearing. We also want to state unequivocally, that no harm should befall or be done to our leader.
“His life should not be tampered with. Should anything untoward happen to him, Nigeria Government will be held accountable for it, and we assure you that Nigeria will fall for it.”
We don’t believe Kanu was arrested —IPOB in Imo
Vanguard met with some members of IPOB in Owerri, who said until the Federal Government shows video of IPOB leader, they would still consider it as rumour.
They said that IPOB members were still studying the situation to take a position.
“We are not afraid. How are you sure the man arrested is IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu? That is arrant nonsense. Very soon, you will hear from the horse’s mouth.
“What we know is that Britain has disappointed us and it is time to end it. Whether you like it or not, Nnamdi Kanu is still free. Nobody has arrested him.
“If you had arrested him, why did you refuse to show us the video of his appearance in court? You are arresting a man for not doing anything. Kanu has not been arrested and if such a thing happened, this country will break into pieces,” one of them said.
Kanu must not die in custody – Fani-Kayode warns Buhari
In a tweet, Fani-Kayode urged the Federal Government to ensure that Kanu is treated with decency and respect while in custody.
“It is no longer news that @MaziNnamdiKanu has been arrested and detained. I advise the FG to ensure that he does not die in custody and that he is treated with decency, decorum, and respect,” he tweeted.
The Nigerian government had arrested Kanu and repatriated him to Nigeria to continue his trial.
Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, disclosed that Kanu was arrested on Sunday.
Malami had said the IPOB leader was re-arrested through a combined operation of Nigerian and foreign security agents.
Following his repatriation, he was re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako-led Federal High Court who ordered his remand in custody of the Department of State Services, DSS.
Defend your citizen over illegal extradition, WIC tells UK govt
The position of WIC, which was signed by the Chairman, and Public Relations Officer, Professor Anthony Ejiofor and Basil Onwukwe respectively, read: “World Igbo Congress has been briefed on the abduction and arraignment of Nnamdi Kanu in Nigeria, and the court hearing is scheduled for July 26, 2021.
“It has also been confirmed to us that Nnamdi Kanu, a British citizen, was abducted in a country other than the United Kingdom, UK, to which he travelled on a British passport. Consequently, this raises the spectre of illegal abduction and international gangsterism that violates the spirit of the process of extradition.
“World Igbo Congress, therefore, calls on the Nigerian Government to ensure that Nnamdi Kanu is treated following the rules and international conventions that guarantee that his rights and personal safety are respected.
“We call on the British Government to stand up and defend the right of her citizen. The UK Government needs to investigate the collision of any other country or party in this saga.
“We call on the Government of the United States of America, the United Nations and the international community, to take note of the ongoing abuse of human rights in Nigeria including this matter of abduction of Nnamdi Kanu.
“And the Igbo at home and abroad to see this as a continuation of the different strokes for different folks, which has characterized the approach of the current administration of the Federal Government of Nigeria, in dealing with national issues.
“The world has taken notice of the disparity in the treatment of Boko Haram insurgents and Fulani herdsmen, who have been designated as terrorists, by known international agencies. These killers are routinely arrested, compensated, released and often times, absorbed into the Nigerian security services.
“On the other hand, the Igbo has been subjected to massive shoot-at-sight order, arrests and abduction. We would like to emphasize that no government in the world, or any international security agency, has designated IPOB, as a terrorist organization and Nnamdi Kanu is not on any terrorist watch list anywhere in the world.
“All Igbo worldwide to remain calm. The rights of the Igbo must be protected and the Igbo cannot be subjugated forever.”
Uneasy calm in South-East
The re-arrest of Kanu was a major topic on newspaper stands but there have been no threats to breach of peace.
“Many people find it difficult to believe the report because there are no videos to support claims Kanu has been arrested. If Kanu is truly arrested, the youths of the South-East, in our usual practice, will defend him,” an Enugu resident said.
“Soldiers have been all over Enugu town in Enugu State for the past few days. We were still wondering what could have happened.
“They are on major roads in Abia too. But one thing is clear; the voice of the people cannot be subdued. Maybe the military will kill everyone in the South-East and start living there,” another resident said.
A member of IPOB in Awka who spoke on condition of anonymity said a broadcast on the radio Biafra channel saw a broadcaster; Mazi Chideraa assuring all members to be calm as Kanu was okay.
“When I tuned into Biafra Radio 103.7 this evening, Mazi Chideraa was making a broadcast, assuring everyone that though the news was true, but there was no need to panic.”
FG competent in handling security matters — ACF
Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has said that with the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu amid other security challenges in the country, the government is competent in handling security matters .
In a communique after the BoT meeting in Kaduna, yesterday, by Ambassador Shehu Malami,
Chairman, ACF Board of Trustees, the group praised the Federal Government, security agencies both local and international that brought Kanu back to Nigeria.
The board said the action of the government in handling Nnamdi Kanu in such a neat way amid many other security challenges showed that the government is very competent in handling security matters.
Part of the communique reads: “The meeting was opened by the chairman, Ambassador Shehu Malami. He apologized for his inability to attend the first meeting which was presided over by Senator Fred Orti, the Deputy Chairman of the Board .
“He regretted that despite the efforts of the Federal Government, Boko Haram, bandits kidnappers, clashes between herders/farmers have been a security scare for the North, the country and the ACF.
“The Board decried a situation whereby the North was left without a single financial institution to advance the economic growth and fortunes of the region.
“Similarly the Board decried the lack of Media houses in the north to keep the citizens of the North well informed.
“The Board observed that without a sound financial foundation and backing, the North will always remain backward.”
“On the problems of unemployment in the north, the Board said it is regrettable that the north has not realised it is sitting on a time bomb which can explode at anytime.
“The Board resolved that there was need to take immediate action to salvage the youth from lethargy, drugs and substance abuse, despondency, banditry, etc.”