The British Government has said it would provide consular assistance for the arrested leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
This was disclosed Wednesday by the Head of Communications, British High Commission in Nigeria, Dean Hurlock.
As controversies and speculations raged over where and how Kanu was arrested and extradited to the country on Sunday, the British High Commission had earlier dispelled rumours he was arrested in the United Kingdom (UK), where he was based before his arrest in 2015.
Hurlock had said: “We are aware of reports that Nnamdi Kanu has been detained in Nigeria by the Federal Government. We can confirm that Kanu was not arrested in the UK for extradition purposes.”
Kanu, who was born on September 25, 1967, is a holder of Nigerian and British passports. Upon his arrest and extradition from a foreign country, he was arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday for terrorism-related charges and has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Hurlock continued: “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 are providing assistance in this case, we can confirm that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stands ready to provide consular assistance,” the British official said, adding that the British Government “expects any trial or legal proceedings to follow due process.”
When prodded on the “consular assistance”, the British official made reference to the UK manual on ‘Support for British nationals abroad: A guide’.
The document reads in part: “We can offer you information about the local prison or remand system, including visiting arrangements, mail and censorship, privileges, work possibilities, and social and welfare services. We can also explain where there are different regulations for remand prisoners and sentenced prisoners. For example, in some countries, prisoners are allowed to send more mail when they are on remand.
“We cannot get you out of prison or detention, nor can we get special treatment for you because you are British. If however you are not treated in line with internationally accepted standards, we will consider approaching local authorities. This may include if your trial does not follow internationally recognised standards for a fair trial or is unreasonably delayed compared to local cases. With your permission, we can consider taking up a complaint about ill treatment, personal safety, or discrimination with the police or prison authorities.
“If you are a dual British national in the country of your other nationality (for example, a dual Nigerian-British national in Nigeria), we would not normally offer you support or get involved in dealings between you and the authorities of that state. We may make an exception to this rule if, having looked at the circumstances of the case, we consider that you are vulnerable and we have humanitarian concerns. We would not normally attend a court case involving a British national, and we cannot influence the outcome of any trial,” it added.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, on Tuesday said that the IPOB leader was “intercepted through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services.”
Though he did not state where the separatist leader was arrested, but there had been reports that Kanu was lured to an African country with a promise of cash donations and was then picked up.
Security sources said he was tracked through some IPOB members who were recently arrested following a massive military operation in the Southeast.
However, Kingsley Kanu, brother of Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday said the separatist leader was arrested in Kenya. In a statement, Kingsley said his brother was detained while visiting Kenya and “handed over to the Nigerian authorities who then flew him to Nigeria.”
Kingsley said Kanu has been “subjected to the most serious violations of international law because of his quest for self-determination. My brother has been subject to extraordinary rendition 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,” he said.
Also, IPOB yesterday stated that its leader was “abducted” by the Federal Government, insisting that it would hold the government responsible should anything untoward happen to him. It reaffirmed its commitment to the restoration of Biafra republic, stressing that the arrest and prosecution of Kanu would not end the struggle, even as the group said its members would be mobilised across the globe to attend the next court hearing date on July 26.
Admitting for the first time to the arrest of Kanu in a statement signed by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB promised to provide details of the said “abduction” of its leader by the Nigerian government and her security agencies.
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