Mr Bruce Fein, international lawyer and spokesman to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Tuesday, demanded a meeting with the British high commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery, ‘to explore avenues to secure Nigeria’s compliance with the order of the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Kanu’.
Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, and seeking the sovereignty of Biafra. He is being detained at the custody of the State Services over alleged treason, running a proscribed group and jumping bail in 2017. Despite court orders for his release, FG is yet to abide by them.
Fein in a letter to the high commissioner, made available to our correspondent in Enugu by Kanu’s special counsel, Barr Aloy Ejimakor, urged Montgomery to use his good offices to make Nigeria obey those orders for Kanu’s release.
He stated that, “Nigeria has been challenged as a nation since independence from involuntary British colonial rule in 1960. The UK has sought to make partial amends for participating in the racist Scramble for Africa by returning looted Benin City artefacts stolen by marauding British soldiers.
“But the British stole something far more valuable than artworks in Nigeria. The United Kingdom stole the right to self-determination and government by the consent of the governed in herding Biafrans at gunpoint in 1914 under a single sovereign umbrella pursuant to a cynical divide-and-conquer colonial policy. The American Revolution of 1776 carved a universal right to self-determination by distinct peoples into marble.”
He recalled the Nigerian Civil War, which caused deaths of millions of Ndigbo, adding that Nigerian peoples are not compatible, having been forcefully merged by colonial masters. According to him, Kanu’s quest for a sovereign nation is to safeguard the rights of his people.
Fein stated further that, “Kanu is a United Kingdom citizen. He is the leader of IPOB. Its mission is to secure the right to self-determination for 70 million Biafrans, which the British filched more than a century ago, through peaceful avenues of redress.
“The Fulani-controlled, radical Muslim government of Nigeria attempted to assassinate Mr Kanu in his home in 2017 for his peaceful advocacy of self-determination. Nigerian courts have ordered the government of Nigeria to pay reparations to Mr Kanu for its attempted assassination.
“In June 2021, Nigeria conspired with Kenya to kidnap and torture Mr Kanu in Nairobi followed by his extraordinary rendition to Abuja. There, Mr Kanu has been detained indefinitely in solitary confinement without a trial by the Nigerian government on concocted charges of treason.”
The letter recalled that on July 20, 2022, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an Opinion finding Mr Kanu’s detention violated sixteen international human rights covenants, which prompted it to order his ‘immediate and unconditional release and payment of reparations’, noting that the government of Nigeria ‘remains in contempt of the Working Group’s order more than eight months after its issuance’.
Fein urged the British high commissioner to be proactive as against his predecessor who was complacent for the release of Kanu. Quoting him, “Your predecessor idled in lieu of confronting the Government of Nigeria with its legal obligation to release a UK citizen without tarry. She relied on the lawless Fulani-controlled government and Biafran quislings in the Southeast to accept Orwellian propaganda about Nnamdi Kanu and Biafra.”
Fein said his demand was urgent because of ‘the impending change in the Nigerian government and Kanu’s rapidly declining health’.