Aloy Ejimakor, one of the lawyers to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, says the Department of State Services has stopped him from signing a form of the United Kingdom seeking Kanu’s consent for consular assistance and also to sue the Federal government in a London court, on his behalf, for alleged extraordinary rendition of its citizen.
Mr. Ejimakor disclosed this in a statement on Monday after visiting the IPOB leder in DSS custody, noting that the DSS action “does not comport with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence. This is one of the things that will count in our reckoning as this matter continues to fold.
Kanu holds both the Nigerian and British citizenship.
He was rearrested while on a travel to Kenya on a British passport and extradited to Nigeria.
However, his lawyers say he was abducted and bundled back to Nigeria after eight-day torture in Kenya after the Nigerian authorities allegedly told the Kenyan government that he is a terrorist and a member of the terror group, Al Shabab.
The British Government had expressed readiness to provide “consular assistance” for Kanu but need him to assent to the assistance by signing some forms.
Mr. Ejimakor had recently told the press that the British Government had engaged a London law firm, Bindmans to defend Kanu and sue the government of Nigeria in the United Kingdom over the manner of his rendition from Kenya to Nigeria once his consent is given.
Therefore lawyer delivered two forms to the IPOB leader last Wednesday during a visit to the office of the DSS.
But he said in the statement on Monday that the forms were returned to him unsigned.
The statement read, “Last Saturday, when I visited Mazi Kanu, I expressed strong concerns about the inordinate delay in having Kanu sign the two Forms I had taken to the DSS for Kanu’s signature some days before.
“Both Forms relate to affirming his consent to consular and diplomatic interventions by the United Kingdom and her High Commission in Nigeria.
“Surprisingly, the Forms were returned to me unsigned.
“Let me make it clear that the day I took the Forms to the DSS, the officers on location were amenable to Kanu signing them until somewhere along the line, they tarried and decided to send it to the legal unit for vetting.
“So, my sense is that it’s the legal unit of the DSS that disapproved of Kanu signing the Forms for reasons that were not given to me.
“As a lawyer, I don’t see any legal advantage the government of Nigeria stands to gain by blocking Kanu from signing those Forms. The Forms are but a mere routine in matters like this.
“Instead of any advantage, the refusal will help fuel the notion that the government of Nigeria is deliberately isolating Kanu from having consular and diplomatic access to the United Kingdom.
“It does not comport with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence. This is one of the things that will count in our reckoning as this matter continues to fold.
“For these reasons, I am now compelled to call on the British High Commission in Nigeria to banish every red tape and exert the full weight of its diplomatic clout in gaining immediate access to Kanu. This is especially important, given the prospects of better welfare, including adequate medical care for Mazi Kanu.
“Further, the prompt intervention of the High Commission will mean that Kanu will have another layer of human contact in addition to his legal team who are the only ones currently allowed to see him.”