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American lawyer seeks suspension of Nigeria from UN General Assembly over failure to release Nnamdi Kanu

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Following the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), his United States-based counsel, Bruce Fein, has again written to the International Working Group to intervene, according to SaharaReporters.

The Working Group on arbitrary detention is under the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR).

The lawyer had petitioned the group few months ago over an alleged gross violation of his client’s rights.

In its report on July 20, 2022, the UN group described Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya in June 2021 as “illegal, unconstitutional extradition” and called for the immediate release of the IPOB leader.

It also said the Nigerian and Kenyan governments need to compensate Kanu for the way he was treated.

Despite the call by the UN Working Group, and a recent Appeal court judgement discharging and acquitting him of terrorism charges, the federal government has failed to release him.

But in a fresh petition, Fein urged the group to recommend that the United Nations Security Council should consider suspending Nigeria from the UN for allegedly violating the “Principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The letter read;“This letter chronicles the continuing contemptuous defiance of this Group’s 20 July 2022 Opinion regarding Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government of Nigeria. The chief culprits are Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney General Abubakar Malami.

“The Opinion requested the source to update the Working Group on the Government’s compliance. Paragraph 111. The Opinion found that Nnamdi Kanu’s detention, following kidnapping, torture, and extraordinary rendition, violates sixteen (16) international human rights covenants. Paragraph 105. The Opinion called on the Government of Nigeria “to take urgent action to ensure the immediate unconditional release of Mr. Kanu.” Paragraph 107.

“Since the Opinion was issued three months ago, the Government has steadfastly refused to release Mr. Kanu from his indefinite arbitrary detention in solitary confinement without access to necessary and urgent medical care. Further, in violation of paragraph 110, the Government snubbed the Working Group’s request to disseminate the Opinion through “all available means as widely as possible.”

“The Government’s open and notorious lawlessness has been compounded by its equal scorn for an October 13, 2022, decision by the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial Division, Holden at Abuja. Among other things, the decision held that Nnamdi Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya by the Government of Nigeria was illegal.

“Accordingly, Honorable Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie declared, “I hold…that [Nnamdi Kanu] is prohibited from being detained…in Nigeria for or in respect of any offense allegedly committed by him before his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria.” Page 40. The Justice continued, “by the forceable abduction and extraordinary rendition of [Nnamdi Kanu] from Kenya to {Nigeria] on the 27th day of June 2021, in violation of international and state laws…any Court in this country is divested of jurisdiction to entertain charges against [Mr. Kanu].”

“Attorney General Malami, nevertheless, has refused to release Mr. Kanu from detention in violation of the Court of Appeals’ decree, which constitutes the crime of false imprisonment by the Attorney General himself.

“Accordingly, Mr. Kanu respectfully urges the Working Group to inform the Human Rights Council of Nigeria’s violation of the above-referenced Opinion and serial violations of law generally as regards himself. Mr. Kanu further urges that the Group recommend that the United Nations Security Council consider suspending Nigeria from the United Nations for persistently violating the Principles of the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights until Nnamdi Kanu is unconditionally released as mandated by both international and Nigerian law.

“South Africa was similarly suspended by the United Nations General Assembly over its apartheid policies. International peace and security are threatened if a nation with impunity is permitted to kidnap, torture, and then subject to extraordinary rendition a citizen of a different nation while traveling abroad. Nnamdi Kanu is a citizen of the United Kingdom who was kidnapped and tortured by Nigeria while traveling in Kenya before his lawless extraordinary rendition.”

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