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The United Nations, UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention don charge Nigeria and Kenya Governments because of how dem take arrest, treat, torture and ‘continued detention’ of de leader of de Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, without going through due process.
United Nation don tell Naija government make dem “immediately release Namdi Kanu unconditionally” and make dem also pay am enough compensations for how dem take deny am him fundamental human right.
As de mata dey go, dem say make any government official wey follow torture Nnamdi Kanu face de consequences. Nigerian government get up to 6 months to update dem on steps wey dem don take to carry out all dis instruction and na de Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment dey look inside de mata.
United Nation Working Group don dey one side dey para say dem go make sure say Nigeria and Kenya do exactly wetin dem supposed do based on say dem follow sign de Convention and dem go abide by it.
According to de 16-page report with date as July 20, 2022 wey Vanguard been see, de Working Group say Nnamdi Kanu na victim of State persecution as Nigeria no fit provide enough reason with proof say him dey guilty of treason and other criminal allegations wey dem put on top am.
Make we see am as e dey inside de report;
“In the present case, the Government of Nigeria has presented no exceptions permitted under article 19 (3) of the Covenant nor is there any evidence to suggest that Mr. Kanu’s exercise of his right to freedom of opinion and expression was anything but peaceful.
” In fact, the Government has chosen not to provide any explanation for the arrest, detention and subsequent proceedings against Mr. Kanu. In these circumstances, the Working Group concludes that Mr. Kanu’s detention is thus arbitrary under category II”.
Another part of de report say;
“In the present case, Mr. Kanu was not furnished with an arrest warrant by Nigerian
authorities nor was he promptly informed of the grounds for his arrest in Nigeria.
Consequently, the Working Group finds that Mr. Kanu’s continued deprivation of liberty
violates his rights under articles 3 and 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article
9 of the Covenant, and principles 2, 4, and 10 of the Body of Principles and constitutes
arbitrary detention under category I.
Turning to the uncontested allegations that following his rendition to Nigeria,
Mr. Kanu remained in pre-trial detention with his trial having been scheduled to commence
in January 2022, the Working Group recalls that it is a well-established norm of international law that pre-trial detention should be the exception rather than the rule, and should be ordered for the shortest time possible. Put differently, liberty is recognised under article 9 (3) of the Covenant as the core consideration with detention merely as an exception.
Therefore, detention pending trial must be based on an individualised determination that it is reasonable and necessary for such purposes as to prevent flight, interference with evidence or the recurrence of crime. Such determination was not carried out in the present case, in violation of Mr. Kanu’s rights under article 9 (3) of the Covenant.
Further, in accordance with article 9 (3) of the Covenant, an arrested person is to be
brought before a judge within 48 hours.27 This was not satisfied in the case of Mr. Kanu and
the Working Group therefore finds a violation of articles 3 and 9 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, article 9 (3) of the Covenant and principles 11, 37 and 38 of the Body of
Furthermore, in order to establish that a detention is indeed legal, anyone detained has
the right to challenge the legality of his or her detention before a court, as guaranteed by
article 9 (4) of the Covenant. The Working Group wishes to recall that according to the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Rights of Anyone Deprived of their Liberty to Bring Proceedings before a Court, the right to challenge the lawfulness of detention before a court is a self-standing human right, which is essential to preserve legality in a democratic society.
This right, which is in fact a peremptory norm of international law, applies to all forms of deprivation of liberty, 29 to “all situations of
deprivation of liberty, including not only to detention for purposes of criminal proceedings but also to situations of detention under administrative and other fields of law, including military detention, security detention, detention under counter-terrorism measures.
Moreover, it also applies “irrespective of the place of detention or the legal terminology used in the legislation. Any form of deprivation of liberty on any ground must be subject to
effective oversight and control by the judiciary. This was also denied to Mr. Kanu, thus, violating his right under article 9 (4) of the Covenant.
Finally, turning to Mr. Kanu’s pre-trial detention in Nigeria, the Working Group
recalls that according to international human rights law, in particular article 9 (3) of the
Covenant, any person detained while awaiting trial is entitled to trial within a reasonable
time, or otherwise shall be released. Article 14 (3) (c) of the Covenant also guarantees the
right of anyone charged with a criminal offence to be tried without undue delay. In the
absence of a substantive response from the Government of Nigeria, the Working Group finds no legitimate grounds for the delays in the trials against Mr. Kanu.
Consequently, the Working Group finds that the Government of Nigeria failed to
establish a legal basis for the detention of Mr. Kanu. His detention is thus arbitrary under
The Working Group wishes once again to underscore the collusion between the
Governments of Kenya and Nigeria in the rendition of Mr. Kanu and reiterates that both
Governments bear joint responsibility for any violations of Mr. Kanu’s rights in Kenya and
The Working Group has already established in its discussion of the detention of Mr. Kanu in Kenya that he was arrested and detained due to the peaceful exercise of his rights (see paras 52-54 above). The Working Group notes that the source has argued the same in relation to Mr. Kanu’s arrest, detention and trial proceedings in Nigeria. Notably, the
Government of Nigeria has chosen not to address the substance of these allegations.
The Working Group notes that it is not contested that Mr. Kanu is accused of the crime of conspiracy to commit a treasonable felony through an agreement with others to be broadcast from London, in view of the establishment of a Biafran sovereignty. The source notes that, while treason consists of “levying war” against Nigeria under Nigerian law, the Federal Government of Nigeria does not allege any action implicating Mr. Kanu in the contemplation, planning, or incitement of war against Nigeria. The source argues that
Mr. Kanu was in fact advocating for a peaceful referendum for the establishment of a Biafran
sovereignty, in conformity with international and other relevant laws.
The Working Group recalls that freedom of opinion and expression, as expressed in article 19 of the Covenant, is an indispensable condition for the full development of the person. It is essential for any society and constitutes the foundation stone for every free and democratic society. It also recalls that freedom of expression includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, and that this right includes the expression and receipt of communications of every form of idea and opinion capable of transmission to others, including political opinions.
Similarly, in Resolution 12/16, the Human Rights Council called on States to refrain
from imposing restrictions which are not consistent with article 19 (3), including on the
discussion of government policies and political debate; reporting on human rights; engaging in peaceful demonstrations or political activities, including for peace or democracy; and expression of opinion and dissent, religion or belief.
The UN Working Group further said that the Nigeria Government could not disprove claims by Kanu that he was denied effective lagal representation including access to his US lawyer.
The source has submitted, and the Government did not address, that Mr. Kanu was denied effective legal representation. The Working Group considers legal representation as being a core facet of the right to a fair trial. Legal assistance should be available at all stages of criminal proceedings, namely, pre-trial, trial, and appellate stages, to ensure compliance with fair trial guarantees. Any denial of access to lawyers substantially undermines and compromises an accused individual’s capacity to defend him or herself in any judicial proceedings.
As the Working Group has stated in principle 9 and guideline 8 of its Basic Principles,
persons deprived of their liberty have the right to legal assistance by counsel of their choice,
at any time during their detention, including immediately after the moment of apprehension, and must be promptly informed of this right upon apprehension. Access to legal counsel should not be unlawfully or unreasonably restricted.
Article 14 (3) (b) of the Covenant entitles defendants to adequate time and facilities
for the preparation of their defence and to communicate with counsel of their own choosing. Defendants must have access to documents and other evidence, including “all materials that the prosecution plans to offer in court against the accused or that could assist the defence.
Recalling general comment No. 32, a detainee has the right to have “prompt access” to legal counsel, meaning that a lawyer must be able to have private communications and
meetings with the detainee and be able to attend all the investigations without interference or restrictions. A detainee also ought to have access to “effective counsel.
All of this was denied to Mr. Kanu. In the Working Group’s view, by failing to allow
Mr. Kanu to be represented by lawyers of his choice, including an international counsel,
the Government denied Mr. Kanu’s right to legal assistance at all times, which is inherent in the right to liberty and security of the person as well as the right to a fair and public hearing
by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law, in accordance with articles 3, 9, 10 and 11 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 14 of the
Covenant, articles 37 (b) and (d) and 40 (2) (b) (ii) and principles 15, 17 and 18 of the Body
of Principles and principles 1, 5, 7, 8, 21 and 22 of the Basic Principles on the Role of
The Working Group is also disturbed by the source’s report of the treatment of
Mr. Kanus’s lawyers and recalls its jurisprudence highlighting that such treatment of lawyers is entirely unacceptable and violates articles 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as article 14 (3) (b) of the Covenant.41 It is the legal and positive duty of the State to protect everyone on its territory or under its jurisdiction against any human rights violation and to provide remedy whenever a violation still occurs.
The Working Group also considers that Mr. Kanu’s presumption of innocence was
violated as the Department surrounded the court complex with an array of armed forces,
creating an atmosphere of intimidation and danger (see para. 9), a submission which the
Government has chosen not to contest. The Working Group recalls that defendants should
not be presented to the court in a manner indicating that they may be dangerous criminals, as this also undermines the presumption of innocence.The Working Group finds a breach of article 14 (2) of the Covenant.
Further, according to the source and uncontested by the Government, following his
rendition to Nigeria, Mr. Kanu was detained in solitary confinement within the headquarters
of the Department in Abuja, Nigeria. He is reportedly currently still held in a very small cell where he is exposed to daily psychological and mental torture without access to other inmates or any other person except for the Department officers. Mr. Kanu is also allegedly denied access to reading or writing materials and has been refused access to professional medical care despite a serious heart ailment.
The source reports that Mr. Kanu’s life is in jeopardy and that he suffers from a medical condition occasioned by gradual depletion of potassium in his system, which has defied any medical solution given to him within the Department facilities.
The Working Group is seriously concerned about the treatment to which Mr. Kanu
has been subjected. Especially noting its finding that Mr. Kanu was subjected to
extraordinary rendition as well as his treatment prior to that, the Working Group considers it unlikely that Mr. Kanu would have been able to effectively assist with and participate in his own defence during the proceedings against him, and that such treatment roceedings against him, rendering them inherently unfair and unjust, in violation of article 14 of the Covenant. For all the reasons above, the Working Group finds that the fair trial rights and procedural guarantees of Mr. Kanu under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant and other relevant human rights standards, were not observed and that such violations are of such gravity as to render Mr. Kanu’s detention arbitrary under category III.
Mr. Kanu is an activist and the leader of the organisation Indigenous People of Biafra,
which he founded in 2012. The source alleges that the Government of Nigeria is targeting
Mr. Kanu due to his political expression, in particular, due to his membership in a group
politically opposed to the Nigerian Government on the question of Biafra, his widely published criticism of the Government, and his work with and advocacy for the Indigenous People of Biafra. The Government has chosen not to address these allegations.
The Working Group finds that Mr. Kanu has indeed been targeted by the Government
as a human rights defender on account of his freedom of opinion and expression as well as
his position regarding the sovereignty of Biafra. As Mr. Kanu has been targeted on account of his activism in galvanising momentum for a referendum on the sovereignty of Biafra, the Working Group considers that his detention violates articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 2 (1) and 26 of the Covenant, and is arbitrary under category V.”