By Tai Emeka Obasi.
It was on December 31, 1983, that General Muhammadu Buhari took over as Nigeria’s head-of-state via a military coup that banished the Second Republic led by President Shehu Shagari.
Six months later on July 4, the Transport Minister under Shagari, Alhaji Umaru Dikko was kidnapped in front of his house in Porchester Terrace, West London, while the ex-politician was having a walk as a man in exile, having been declared wanted on corruption charges by Buhari’s Government. He was bundled into a van by powerful hands. Nigeria’s Major Mohammed Yusufu was behind the steering.
Inside the van were three Israeli Mossad agents, Levi-Arie Shapiro, Alexander Barak and Felix Abithol. By virtue of the kidnap Dikko joined them. Also inside the van were two empty crates of sizes 1.2 × 1.2 × 1.6 metres.
Dikko was dumped into one with Shapiro as company. The Israeli was a consultant anesthetist and director of the intensive care unit at HaSharon Hospital. His duty was to drug Dikko, and insert an endotracheal tube to keep him from choking on his own vomit while being transported in a crate. The medium was a Nigeria Airways Boeing 707 waiting at Stansted Airport. Barak and Abithol occupied the second crate.
It was a joint Mossad and Nigeria Security Organization, NSO operation.
It would have been actualised perfectly but for the observing eyes of a sharp Dikko’s secretary by name Elizabeth Hayes. She had witnessed the swift kidnap through the blinds and made right calls. When the team landed to cargo the ‘diplomatic’ crates to Lagos, Scotland Yard and MI5 were waiting, opened the crates against diplomatic routine and history took over.
Today, history is doing the usual of repeating itself. Same Buhari, same Britain, same kidnap!
It’s has taken 38 years!
This time around, a British citizen with Igbo name was lured out of Britain to Africa. It happened in Kenya. The Nigerain Secret Service has undergone complete metamorphosis in both operation and nomenclature. Diplomatic relations and international laws have equally graduated in defense of human rights. So, Buhari knew better than invite the Mossad once more because he just couldn’t. The Israeli Secret Police is still the most dreaded in God’s world but they wouldn’t involve themselves with a debasing act of abducting a British citizen on foreign soil whose only crime is standing firm for self-determination amongst his people that he loves so much.
But somehow, Kenya cooperated. The government of the Republic of Kenya evidently soiled their hands by aiding the kidnapping and illegally extraditing a British citizen to Buhari for the gallows in Nigeria.
At 59, President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has come of age. He’s not a neophyte in political and leadership arena either. He served as the member of parliament (MP) for Gatundu South from 2002 to 2013. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister from 2007 to 2013.
His gene is also perfect. His father, Jomo Kenyatta was the first president of Kenya.
Therefore, he should have known exactly the crimes he was committing getting his country mixed up with dehumanising Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, like a common Kenyan criminal.
Despite his government’s fibble attempt at denial of any complicity, the British High Commission has come calling for their own. And leading the charge is a very capable law firm in name of Bindmans. Kanu’s UK-based lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor is already in Nigeria, shuffling around, filing papers, distributing forms to the DSS and generally talking tough. From the look of the very confident-talking legal man, he’ll certainly act tough too.
He is starting with tying up the Nigerain and Kenyan governments with joint acts of extraordinary rendition.
He calls it trial within trial. Nigeria and Kenya perpetrated acts in extreme disregard to international laws, indicated Ejimakor. Hence, Kanu should first be released and flown to the UK before any other matter is entertained regarding the British citizen. He insists there will be no trial in Nigeria.
Quoting him, “if an individual abducts or violently seizes an individual, it’s kidnap. In some jurisdictions it’s a capital offence. When a state does that it’s called extraordinary rendition.
“If you renditioned a suspect you’ve lost jurisdiction to try the suspect because you committed international crime. You broke your own laws, you broke the laws of the third state from whose territory you renditioned that individual and you broke the laws of the second state that has nationality of that individual.
“That is what is playing out here. We have three different but also compliant jurisdictions – those of Nigeria, Kenya and the UK. Their laws prohibit extraordinary rendition.”
Like in the case of Dikko, Buhari seems to have committed another blunder in his penchant to do things the Hollywood style. And like the Dikko case, which attracted heavy sanctions from the British Government, the re-arrest of the IPOB leader may land Nigeria and Kenya in international trouble.
As it stands, Kanu’s re-arrest is already generating positive attention and, as things unfold, may end up the best positive publicity ‘stunt’ for the IPOB cause.