The arrest of Nigeria’s separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu came with a lot of controversial issues. His legal team which earlier accused Kenya and Nigeria of playing a joint role in the “abduction, detention and ill-treatment” of Kanu has taken a step further to drag the two countries before African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, placing certain demands.
“A few days ago, I commenced a continental legal action against Nigeria and Kenya before the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, demanding accountability for the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Jurisdiction lies with the Commission because Nigeria and Kenya are State Parties to the African Charter and Nigeria even took a step further to domesticate the Charter, thus making it part of her municipal laws” Aloy Ejimakor, counsel for the separatist leader said in a statement.
He explained further that, “both countries also have extradition laws that prohibit this sort of reprehensible conduct that saw Kanu to Nigeria. More particularly, extraordinary rendition is expressly prohibited under the African Charter, where It provides in pertinent part that “A State may not transfer (e.g. deport, expel, remove, extradite) an individual to the custody of another State unless it is prescribed by law and in accordance with due process and other international human rights obligations. Extraordinary rendition, or any other transfer, without due process is prohibited”.
The lawyer resorted to the legal argument that, “a victim of extraordinary rendition is entitled to remedies mandated by the Charter” as basis to table some reliefs before the Commission on behalf of his client. Among these is a request that, “Kanu be restored to his state of being before the rendition, which state of being was that he travelled to Kenya on his British passport and was duly admitted as such and as a free man.”
The lawyer also pleaded the Commission to render the arrest of Kanu in Kenya invalid on grounds that, “no valid territorial jurisdiction can issue from an act of extraordinary rendition because Kanu is, technically speaking, still in Kenya. And that the Nigerian bench warrant standing against Kanu is in the absence of any successful extradition proceedings in Kenya.”
Finally, counsel Aloy Ejimakor requested that the Commission put in place “urgent measures as the Commission sees fit in the circumstances to protect Nnamdi Kanu in the interim.” He added that, “a fact-finding visitation to Nigeria is also in reckoning.”
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been on the run since the year 2017 following a series of controversies surrounding his push for independence for a section of the southeastern part of Nigeria formerly known as Biafra. This has resulted in a series of violent protests posing threats to the country’s security.
The Federal government placed him on a wanted list for some time until his recent arrest in 2021. According to Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor who identified as a member of his legal team, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested through a joint operation between Kenya and Nigeria.
“My Client, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was actually abducted by the accursed Kenya’s Special Police Force on the 18th of June 2021 at their International Airport, and consequently taken to an undisclosed residence under dehumanizing
conditions,” Ifeanyi claimed. The Kenyan government has since denied the allegations of any involvement in the arrest.
Currently, Nnamdi Kanu is in the custody of the State Security Service (SSS). He was scheduled for trials at the Federal High court in Abuja on Monday July 26th, however the case was adjourned to October 21st due partly to his absence and also a revelation by the trial judge that the judges commenced vacation on Monday.