Mr Jarvis Johnson, member of the State of Texas House of Representatives in the United States of America, has made a passionate appeal for ‘urgent and unconditional release’ of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
Kanu is being detained at the custody of Nigeria’s Department of State Services, Abuja, after he was forcefully brought to Nigeria from Nairobi, Kenya, by a combined intelligence team of Nigeria and Kenya. Despite court verdicts and UN Working Group’s Opinions acquitting and directing Kanu’s release, Nigeria’s government has remained adamant. He is accused of running a proscribed group, jumping bail and treason.
To this end, the US Congressman, in a statement made available to our reporter in Uyo, on Wednesday, by Barr Aloy Ejimakor, Kanu’s special counsel, sought the support of his fellow lawmakers in releasing Kanu both on health grounds and his inalienable right to self-determination.
Quoting the lawmaker, “For months now, it is public knowledge that Kanu’s health condition has deteriorated, and continues to do so on a daily basis. He suffers from serious heart condition and other ailments for which he is not getting medical attention. There is growing concern/fear that the present government of Nigeria intends to cause his disappearance prior to May 29, 2023 when it plans to hand him over to an incoming administration.”
He therefore demanded his colleagues to ‘use their good offices to urgently intervene with the government of Nigeria to immediately and unconditionally release Kanu from his solitary confinement and end his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria’.
He further stated that, “The right of self-determination is a natural right, and is enshrined in our foundational document—The Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It has been, and is our policy and practice to support this right as we are now doing in Ukraine. What is good for the Ukrainians is also good for Kanu and the Igbo race.”
Mr Johnson recalled how Kanu travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, from UK on May 12, 2021 with a British passport, and was ‘legally admitted into Kenya’, and how consequently he was ‘abducted in Nairobi by the agents of Nigeria’, adding that ‘he disappeared in Nairobi and was tortured for eight days’.
Quoting him, “On June 27, 2021, he was extradited by the government of Nigeria to Nigeria. This fact has been admitted by the government of Nigeria via its minister of justice, Mr Abubakar Malami. It was also confirmed by the then Kenyan high commissioner to Nigeria, who shortly thereafter, died under mysterious circumstances.
“That Kanu was extra-ordinarily extradited/renditioned has been judicially affirmed by the Nigerian courts and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. As a result of the persistence and consistent efforts of the Kanu family, the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and its Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) have engaged in insufficient efforts to secure his release from Nigerian government’s extraordinary rendition.”
He expressed sadness that despite UN Working Group’s and Nigeria’s courts ‘discharging and acquitting Kanu of all charges, and ordering/directing his unconditional release, the government of Nigeria ‘continues to disobey its own court orders and to ignore the unanimity of laws prohibiting extraordinary rendition’.
He therefore appealed for the support of fellow Congressmen in accomplishing ‘the urgent, unconditional and immediate release of Kanu’.