A British passport belonging to Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the separatist group, IPOB, is in Kenya, the UK Guardian newspaper has reported.
“Evidence seen by the Guardian shows Kanu entered Kenya this year on his British passport on a visa expiring in June. His UK passport remains in Kenya,” the paper said in a news report on Friday.
The latest revelation adds credence to the claims by his family and lawyers that Mr Kanu was abducted in Kenya by the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian authorities have refused to provide details of the re-arrest of the IPOB leader who was brought into Abuja about two weeks ago to continue his treason trial.
Mr Kanu is a British-Nigerian citizen.
He is known to have been residing in the UK after he jumped bail and fled Nigeria in 2017 during his trial.
The Guardian quoted Mr Kanu’s brother, Kingsley, as saying that he had spoken with him before he went missing in June in Kenya.
“I spoke to him on the phone, he was well, in Nairobi. His associates said he went out, he didn’t take his documents with him so he wasn’t planning on going anywhere. Then all of a sudden we see him paraded in handcuffs in Abuja,” Kingsley Kanu said.
“It is an extraordinary rendition, aided by Kenyan authorities.
“It is an outrage that cannot be allowed to happen. We are holding the Nigerian government and Kenyan government responsible. The British government, they know what is happening,” he said.
Mr Kingsley told the Guardian that UK officials had made contact with the IPOB leader’s family and his lawyers.
Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, on June 30 wrote to the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, requesting that the IPOB leader “be granted every possible Consular assistance to which he is entitled as a British citizen”.
“Mr Kanu (should) be categorised as a high profile political prisoner or a prisoner of conscience and be thus rendered the highest diplomatic protection under municipal and international laws,” Mr Ejimakor said.
Mr Ejimakor on July 8 told PREMIUM TIMES that the British High Commissioner in Nigeria had requested consular access to Mr Kanu.
The Nigerian and UK governments have a history of mutual suspicion towards each other over Mr Kanu and the separatist activities of his IPOB.
Apart from allowing Mr Kanu’s return to the UK from Israel, where he first surfaced after fleeing Nigeria in 2017, the British government has also rebuffed the Nigerian government’s push to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation.
The UK government has also not hidden its positive disposition towards granting asylum to IPOB members and other separatists agitating for the Republic of Biafra if they are persecuted in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government accuses the UK government of ignoring Mr Kanu’s role as the mastermind of the violent activities of IPOB in the Igbo-dominated South-east – the region the separatists want to be carved out from Nigeria as an independent country.
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