….Gives FG six months to release, compensate him, prosecute AGF Malami, others
The United Nations, through its Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, has indicted Nigeria and Kenya for their role in the re-arrest and ‘extraordinary’ rendition, torture and continued detention of leader of the pro-secessionist group, Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, saying it was ‘without due process’.
The UN Group also ordered the Nigerian Government to ‘immediately release Kanu unconditionally’ as well as pay the activist ‘adequate compensations for the arbitrary violation of his fundamental human rights,’ as it further recommended that Nigerian officials ‘responsible for the torture meted to the IPOB leader be investigated and punished.’
The UN Group has given Nigeria six months to comply with the report.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was established in resolution 1991/42 of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
Also, Niger and Kenya are parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The report containing the UN Group’s position on the detained IPOB leader, released in a 16-page dossier and dated July 20, 2022, said it was adopted on April 4 by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention at its 93rd session, which held between March 30 and April 8, 2022.
In accordance with its methods of work, the Working Group, on December 30, 2021, transmitted to the Nigeria and Kenya, a communication concerning Nnamdi Kanu detention. But while Nigeria replied to the communication, on January 25, 2022 the Government of Kenya has yet reply.
One of Kanu’s legal counsels, the American Bruce Fein had disclosed the report of the UN Group in a tweet via his verified Twitter handle (@BruceFeinEsq), saying: “The United Nations, through the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, indicted both Nigeria and Kenya Governments for the arrest and extraordinary rendition, torture and continued detention of Kanu without due process.”
Also, another legal counsel attached to the IPOB leader, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, reacted to Fein’s tweet, in a WhatSapp message, Friday evening, saying: “I just received opinion by Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of UN Human Rights Council demanding immediate unconditional release of MNK and reparations for serial violations of internationally guaranteed rights by Nigerian and Kenyan government. Stand by for full opinion.
“Kudos to my colleague, Bruce Fein (@BruceFeinEsq) & all that quietly labored in achieving this crushing VICTORY for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Congratulations to #MNK.”
This is not the first time the United Nations has expressed its displeasure over the continued detention and prosecution of kanu, as it maintains that the right to self-determination was not a criminal offence.
Kanu’s legal counsel has consistently prayed the Nigerian court to recognise the position of the UN on human rights, arguing further that Kanu’s alleged offences as preferred by the Nigerian Government through the Department of State Services (DSS) were not criminal but fundamental rights of all citizens of the world.
Kanu is presently standing trial before the Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, on severally-amended charges bordering on terrorism and treason over his role as leader of proscribed pro-secessionist group, IPOB.
The trial recommenced last year on the re-arrest of the activist by Nigerian authorities from a yet-to-be officially disclosed country suspected to be Kenya with added charges of jumping bail.
Kanu is presently in the court-ordered custody of the DSS in Abuja.
In its report, the UN Group that Kanu was a victim of State persecution as Nigeria failed to provide convincing explanations with proof that he is guilty of treason and other criminal allegations levelled against him.
The Working Group also said there was no evidence that International laws were observed in the arrest and rendition of Kanu from Kenya.
The Group, aside ordering the release of the activist, asked the Nigerian government to prosecute those involved in the planning, extradition and prosecution of the IPOB leader, including the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami SAN.
According to the UN Group, Nigeria failed to disprove that Kanu was a victim of political persecution, adding also that the government could not disprove claims made by Kanu that he (activist) was denied effective legal representation including access to his American lawyer.
The 16-page report titled; “Opinion No. 25/2022 concerning Mr. Nwannekaenyi Nnamdi Kenny Okwu-Kanu (Nigeria and Kenya)” can be found on the UN website.