Nnamdi Kanu’s Family May Sue UK Govt Over “Illegal Rendition” Of IPOB Leader

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Nnamdi Kanu’s family has threatened to sue the British government over its “silence” on the alleged illegal extraordinary rendition of Mr Kanu to Nigeria, according to reports.

The family accused the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Liz Truss, of ignoring “overwhelming evidence” that Mr Kanu was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria by the Nigerian government.

Mr Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is a Nigerian- British citizen.

The IPOB leader, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the Nigerian military in September of that year.

He was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021, about four years after he fled Nigeria. He is currently being detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for treason.

In a pre-action legal letter to Ms Truss, the family, through their lawyers, Bindmans LLP, accused the foreign secretary of failing to end Mr Kanu’s “unlawful” detention in Nigeria.

The family had previously threatened legal action against the British government over the lack of “consular assistance” for Mr Kanu.

In the latest letter to the foreign secretary through the lawyers, Mr Kanu’s family said the IPOB leader’s alleged extraordinary rendition to Nigeria might have breached international law.

They insisted that Ms Truss must take a view on whether there has been a breach of international law in the rendition of Mr Kanu or face legal action.

“If Mr Kanu has been subject to extraordinary rendition, this is a grave breach of international law which has a significant impact on the discretion which the secretary of state exercises in respect of the steps she should take to assist Mr Kanu under international and domestic law,” Shirin Marker, one of the family’s lawyers said in the letter.

“Forming a view as to whether a breach of international law has occurred, and if so the gravity of the breach, is, therefore, an essential prerequisite to the exercise of discretion on taking further steps at international and domestic law,” the solicitor added.

The letter said Mr Kanu was in Kenya in June last year when he was detained by the country’s security services, who took him to a house where he was chained to the floor and beaten for approximately eight days before being put on a private jet on June 27, and flown to Abuja.

Initially, the Nigerian government did not reveal in which country Mr Kanu was detained before being extradited, which raised more unanswered questions about the capture, although they later denied reports that he was illegally extradited to Nigeria.

But the lawyers said the flight believed to have been used in “unlawfully” transporting the IPOB leader from Kenya has been identified, citing testimony of the IPOB leader to his brother and lawyers.

They faulted the Nigerian government’s failure to provide details of how Mr Kanu – who did not have his British passport with him – was brought back to Nigeria.

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