The Nigerian government on three occasions ignored requests from the United Nations groups regarding the treatment of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), proscription of IPOB and “discrimination and violence against members of the Igbo minority”.
The United Nations on Tuesday released documents showing the “urgent appeals” it made to the Nigerian and Kenya governments to respond to allegations of “illegal arrest and extradition” of Nnamdi Kanu
In the UN documents, dated, August 26, obtained by SaharaReporters, the UN asked Nigerian and Kenyan governments should furnish it with details of how Kanu was arrested and illegally brought to Nigeria.
The UN documents stated that the “urgent appeals” were made in “our capacity as Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Special Rapporteur on minority issues and Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolutions”.
The United Nations Working Groups had warned in the documents that the letters to the Nigerian and Kenyan governments and any response received from the countries would be made public within two months.
“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 documents stated.
However, SaharaReporters learnt on Tuesday, October 26, exactly 60 days after the letter was sent to the Nigerian government that the Muhammadu Buhari-led regime had yet to respond to the requests made by the UN in the documents.
As part of its requests, the UN groups had asked for “detailed information on the current state of health of Mr. Kanu and the measures undertaken, or foreseen, 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”.
Other requests made include “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.”
But Aloy Ejimakor, Special Counsel for the IPOB leader told SaharaReporters that the “Nigerian government has not responded to the requests” even though the Buhari regime acknowledged receipt of the document on September 17, 2021.
The letter from the Nigerian government read in part, “Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva presents its compliments to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Special Procedures Branch) and has the honour to acknowledge receipt of a Joint Urgent Appeal from Special Procedures Ref UA NGA 5/2021 dated 26th August, 2021, addressed to the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on allegations of enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
“The Permanent Mission wishes to inform that the Joint Urgent Appeal has been forwarded to its Headquarters for necessary action and any response would be transmitted as soon as received.”
Also, the UN Working Group on arbitrary detention, under the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs accused the Nigerian government of ignoring two previous communications from the organisation.
It accused the Nigerian government of ignoring its communications regarding the proscription of IPOB and treatment of Igbo people.
“Special Procedures mandate holders have previously raised concerns about the proscription of the IPOB as a terrorist organization, in accordance with the Terrorism Act as amended in 2013, in their communication referenced AL NGA 5/2020. Furthermore, concerns regarding discrimination and violence against members of the Igbo minority were also expressed in their communication referenced UA NGA 4/2017.
“We regret the lack of responses from your Excellency’s Government to either communication. The case of Mr. Kanu was previously transmitted by the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances to the Government of Nigeria and clarified in 2017,” the group said.
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 campaign for the independent Republic of Biafra through IPOB.
The IPOB leader was granted bail in April 2017 for health reasons but later fled the country when his home in Abia State was attacked by the military.