Documents: List Of UN Demands In Queries To Nigerian, Kenyan Governments Over Nnamdi Kanu’s Arrest, Extradition, Others

The United Nations Working Group has asked Nigerian and Kenyan governments to explain how the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and subsequently extradited.

The Nigerian government had in June announced Kanu’s arrest and ‘extradition’ from Kenya to continue to face trial in Nigeria.

He is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony instituted against him at the court in response to years of the campaign for the Independent Republic of Biafra through IPOB.

The IPOB leader was granted bail in April 2017 for health reasons but he fled Nigeria following an invasion of his home in Abia State by the military.

However, the United Nations Working Group on arbitrary detention, under the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), demanded explanations regarding Kanu’s illegal arrest and abduction in separate letters to the Nigerian and Kenyan governments on August 26, 2021.

The UN group noted in both letters that it also sent the British government, and the Nigerian or Kenyan government as the case may be.

The group comprises scholars and experts who specialise in human rights issues and related laws.

It noted in both letters that it received information “concerning allegations of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, by Kenyan security officials, as well as his illegal rendition to Nigeria, to face trial for terrorism related charges, which are believed to be linked to his leadership of the ‘Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)’ group. It asked the government to respond to the allegations of Kanu’s illegal abduction, ill treatment and others”.

 

It noted that as part of the allegations, “In May 2021, Mr. Kanu travelled to Nairobi, Kenya. On 19 June 2021, he went to pick up a friend from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and was allegedly abducted. For the next ten days, Mr. Kanu’s fate and whereabouts were unknown.

 

“It was later reported that during his enforced disappearance, Mr. Kanu had been arrested at the airport’s parking lot, by a group of armed men in uniform believed to be Kenyan officials, without warrant or judicial order, who handcuffed and blindfolded him and pushed him into a vehicle. He was then taken to a private house, where he was detained for 8 days and allegedly subjected to torture and ill-treatment. During this period, Mr. Kanu was chained to the floor at all times, regularly beaten with a cloth over his mouth to prevent him from screaming, taunted and called a ‘terrorist Jew Biafran’, denied access to bath and toilet facilities, requiring him to urinate and defecate where he was chained, and was fed bread and water once a day.

 

“After 8 days of arbitrary detention in Kenya, Mr. Kanu was driven to the tarmac of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, handed over to Nigerian security officials, without any form of extradition or judicial process, and taken aboard a private jet to Abuja, Nigeria. On 29 June 2021, Mr. Kanu appeared before the Nigerian Federal High Court, in Abuja, in handcuffs and leg restraints, and was arraigned, without access to legal representation, based on previous charges brought against him in 2015.”

 

The UN group, therefore, stated that: “In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of the above-mentioned person in compliance with international instruments.”

From the Nigerian Government led by Muhammadu Buhari, it requested that it should “Please provide any additional information and any comment you may have on the above-mentioned allegations.

“Please provide detailed information on the current state of health of Mr. Kanu and the measures undertaken, or forseen, to prevent any irreparable damage to his life and personal integrity and to ensure that he has access to the medications and medical treatment required by his health conditions.

“Please provide detailed information on the circumstances under which Mr. Kanu was arrested, forcibly disappeared before being handed over to Nigerian authorities and transferred from Nairobi to Abuja. Please also clarify any international cooperation measures that may have taken place to arrest and transfer Mr. Kanu and provide any international arrest warrant that may have been issued against him, prior to his arrest.

“Please provide detailed information on the factual and legal grounds of the arrest and detention of Mr. Kanu, as well as formal charges against him, and the legal provisions used to charge him.

 

“Please provide full information on the period between 19 - 29 June 2021, during which Mr. Kanu was subjected to enforced disappearance, including his whereabouts and the conditions in which he was held, on the informal detention facilities during this period and explain how this is compatible with the international human rights obligations of Nigeria. Please provide information on whether an investigation was carried out into the alleged enforced disappearance of Mr. Kanu during this period of time, and whether those responsible have been held accountable.

 

“Please provide information on the measures taken to investigate the above-mentioned allegations of torture and ill-treatment perpetrated against Mr. Kanu during his detention in Nigeria and to hold those responsible accountable.

 

“Please provide full information on measures which have been taken, or which are foreseen, to guarantee the conduct of criminal proceedings by independent and impartial judicial authorities, in full compliance with the norms of due process recognised by international law, and the observance of fundamental safeguards, including unrestrained and confidential access a lawyer, to consular assistance, and to an independent medical doctor, as well as regular contact with his family.

 

“Please provide information in details of how your Excellency’s Government’s counter-terrorism efforts comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001), 1456(2003), 1566 (2004), 1624 (2005), 2178 (2014), 2341 (2017), 2354 (2017), 2368 (2017), 2370 (2017), 2395 (2017) and 2396 (2017); as well as Human Rights Council resolution 35/34 and General Assembly resolutions 49/60, 51/210, 72/123, 72/180 and 73/174 in particular with international human rights law, refugee law, and humanitarian law contained therein.”

Meanwhile, in its letter to the Kenyan government led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, it requested: “Please provide any additional information and any comment you may have on the above-mentioned allegations.

“Please provide detailed information on the circumstances under which Mr. Kanu was arrested, forcibly disappeared before being handed over to Nigerian authorities and transferred from Nairobi to Abuja. Please also clarify any international cooperation measures that may have taken place to arrest and transfer Mr. Kanu, and provide any international arrest warrant that may have been issued against him, prior to his arrest, and the authorities who arrested and detained him in Kenya.

“Please provide detailed information on the factual and legal grounds of the arrest and detention of Mr. Kanu, as well as formal charges against him, and the legal provisions used to charge him.

 

“Please provide full information on the period between 19 - 29 June 2021, during which Mr. Kanu was subjected to enforced disappearance, including his whereabouts and the conditions in which he was held, on the informal detention facilities during this period and explain how this is compatible with the international human rights obligations of Kenya. Please provide information on whether an investigation was carried out into the alleged enforced disappearance of Mr. Kanu during this period of time, and whether those responsible have been held accountable.

“Please provide detailed information, where available, on risk assessment carried out by the Kenyan authorities to ascertain the risk Mr. Kanu may incur, including being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as well as arbitrary detention upon his extradition to Nigeria, and how this assessment is compatible with the international standards.

 

“Please provide information on the measures taken to investigate the above-mentioned allegations of torture and ill-treatment perpetrated against Mr. Kanu during his detention in Kenya and to hold those responsible accountable.”

“This communication and any response received from your Excellency’s Government will be made public via the communications reporting website within 60 days. They will also subsequently be made available in the usual report to be presented to the Human Rights Council,” the UN group added in both letters.

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