Aloy Ejimakor, Special Counsel for the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has challenged the Nigerian government to reveal how the IPOB leader was arrested and extradited.
In a statement on Monday, Ejimakor described the extradition of Kanu as illegal and a “gross misconduct”.
The statement was titled, ‘Absence of lawful extradition is the reason why Nigeria cannot explain how it intercepted Nnamdi Kanu’.
Kanu, who is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism, and illegal possession of firearms, among others, allegedly jumped bail in 2017 and left the country, only to re-emerge in Israel and then in the United Kingdom.
The former London estate agent was rearrested in June 2021. He was initially arrested in late 2015 after calling for a separate state for Biafra, in South-East Nigeria.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned.
Following the sudden appearance of Kanu in a Federal High Court in Abuja on June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, SAN, at a press conference, stated that Kanu was “intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and Security Services”.
But the lawyer complained that beyond “the bland use of the word ‘interception’, neither the Attorney-General nor any other Nigerian official has explained how and where this infamous interception occurred or whether it occurred under the pertinent legal framework or not”.
He said, “From published accounts, all efforts by the media (domestic and international) to elicit details of this interception have met a stubborn official silence. And it appears that the same is true with myriad diplomatic inquiries issuing to Nigeria from the international community, notably from the United Kingdom and United Nations.
“Conversely, Nnamdi Kanu had, in various sworn statements, given credible accounts and details that prove that the so-called interception is simply that he was officially kidnapped, disappeared, tortured in Kenya, and extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria. During the hearing of Kanu’s fundamental rights suit in Abia State (which he won), the Nigerian government could not explain how Kanu ended up in Nigeria, thus confirming that Kanu was not extradited but illegally renditioned. If Kanu was extradited, the Nigerian government would have been very forthright with it, especially given the insurmountable prosecutorial barrier that comes with extraordinary rendition.
“It is therefore instructive that, to date, the Nigerian government has neither – in court or public – contradicted Kanu’s accounts, nor offered any alternative account that may suggest that Kanu’s return to Nigeria was secured through some due process of law.
“On its part, the Kenyan Government has, in the public and in processes filed in court, vehemently denied that Kanu was subjected to any extradition (or even deportation) proceedings in Kenya; and Nigeria has deadpanned to Kenya’s self-righteous denials.
“To be sure, Nnamdi Kanu, a non-national of Kenya, was legally admitted to Kenya on 5th May, 2021 and then expelled or was transferred from Kenya to Nigeria on 27th June, 2021 without ‘a decision taken in accordance with the law’. Both Nigeria and Kenya are State Parties to the parent African Charter that grandfathered the similar law Nigeria later domesticated into its municipal laws.
“It is trite that a renditioned fugitive suspect cannot be subjected to trial. Thus, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should be restitutioned or restored to the status quo, whether to Kenya or Britain, at his option. It is inherently contradictory to postulate that a renditioned suspect will get a fair trial from the jurisdiction that renditioned him.
“By its infamous nature, extraordinary rendition destroys every prospect for a fair trial. Therefore, the next best thing for Nigerian authorities to do is to toe the path of honor and contrition by releasing Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally. In the interim, it may choose the easier option of forbearing any objections to reinstatement of Nnamdi Kanu’s bail, which will instantly clear the judicial path to his release.
“Going forward, the authorities can be guided by the recent judgment of the Abia State High which exonerated Kanu from the supervening event that disquieted his bail and ultimately culminated in the extraordinary rendition.”