Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has for the first time graphic details of his abduction from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Kenya, tortured and bundled back to Nigeria by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) and National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
The detained IPOB leader opened up on his arrest in Kenya before being brought to the country in a letter dated March 20 and written by his Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The letter revealed that Kanu entered into Republic of Kenya with a British passport on May 12, 2021 and later settled down temporarily in the country.
The lawyer averred that Kalu on June 19, 2021 drove to Jomo Kenyata on personal errand and in attempt to pulled over at the parking lot, he was allegedly accosted by about 20 armed men who handcuff him, covered his face and bundled him into their vehicle to an unknown destination.
Ejimakor alleged that his client was torture, maltreated, chained, confined to a located without being told the reason for his arrest or shown any warrant of arrest.
He alleged that his client was tortured for eight days in Kenya before being smuggled to Nigeria.
Kanu was arrested on Oct. 14, 2015 on 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.
A judge at the Federal High Court, Abuja revoked Kanu’s bail that was granted him on health ground and issued a bench warrant for his arrest on the same date, over his failure to appear in court for hearing.
The full letter to Malami reads:
“We are Solicitors to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (hereafter: our Client), on whose behalf and Instruction we most respectfully bring this Complaint pursuant to Section 1 (a) and (b), Section 5, Section 6 of the Anti-Torture Act 2017; and Section 174 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
“According to the information given to us by our Client, the details of this Complaint are as follows:
1, Our Client entered the Republic Kenya on his British passport on May 12, 2021 and was admitted as such at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi. After his admission, he settled-in at a temporary location in Nairobi, Kenya.
2, On June 19, 2021, our Client drove himself to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya on a personal errand. As soon as he pulled to a stop at the parking lot and alighted from his vehicle, about twenty well-armed persons violently accosted and abducted him, handcuffed him, blindfolded him, bundled him into a vehicle and sped away.
3, His abductors took him to a secret private location (not a police station) somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya and chained him to the floor. He was neither shown a Warrant of arrest or extradition, nor told why he was abducted. The abductors did not tell him who they are but from their conversations, he surmised that they were working for the Government of Nigeria (GON) and its security agencies.
4, While chained to the floor, his abductors took turns beating and torturing him to the point that he fainted several times and was intermittently revived when they poured cold water on him.
5, During the tortures and beatings, his abductors taunted him, verbally degraded him and called him a “separatist Igbo Jew”. They also told him he will be “expelled to Nigeria to face death”. He was chained to the floor for eight (8) days and was thus forced to relieve himself of urine and excrement where he was chained.
6, Throughout the duration of his secret captivity and torture, he was not allowed to bathe and was fed only on bland bread once a day and given non-sanitary water to drink; and except for the presence of his abductors, he was in solitary confinement the entire eight days. Section 3(2) of the Anti Torture Act states that “Secret detention places, solitary confinement, incommunicado or other similar forms ofdetention, where torture may be carried on are prohibited”.
7, The inhuman treatment, cruelty and degradation to which the abductors subjected our Client and the external and internal injuries he sustained therefrom coupled with his pre-existing poor health made him to live in dread, fear and terror that he was going to die in captivity and his body disappeared.
8, His anguished entreaties to his abductors to get him some medication for his hypertension, heart condition and physical injuries were inhumanely refused and his pleas to be taken before a Court or even an official police or other law enforcement facility or allowed a phone call were flatly refused.
9, Throughout the 8-day duration of the captivity and torture of our Client, his torturers were in constant telephone conversations with, and taking directives and instructions from the Nigerian High Commissioner to Kenya and other Nigerian officials. Section 2 of the Anti Torture Act makes a person complicit in torture when it is “inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity”. Similarly, Section 8(2) provide that “A superior military, police or law enforcement officer or senior government official who issues an order to a lower ranking personnel to torture a victim for whatever purpose is equally liable as the principal”.
10, On the eight day, his abductors brought him out of the house, put him in a car, drove him straight to the tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where they evaded Kenyan immigration and forcibly bundled him into a private jet that departed the airport before noon on June 27, 2021 and arrived Abuja, Nigeria in the early evening of same day.
11, Throughout the duration of the flight from Nairobi to Abuja, our Client’s wrists and ankles were manacled so tightly that he was in extreme physical and mental pain for the entire duration of the flight. He also had the muzzle of a gun pointed to, and roughly rubbing the nape of his neck throughout the duration of the flight.
12, On arrival in Nigeria, our Client was taken to and detained at the headquarters of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Abuja. He spent the first night at the NIA detention facility, sleeping on the floor with very bright electric bulbs deliberately left on throughout the night, thus causing him extreme bodily heat, sleep deprivation and mental anguish.
13, Our Client states that, from 29th June 2021 to date, he has been subjected to solitary confinement, lasting for 23 hours each day at the Headquarters of the State Security Services in Abuja. Since then, our Client has repeatedly requested independent medical examination by a physician of his own choice but the requests were denied. Section 7 of the Anti Torture Act provides that “(1) A person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation shall have the right to be informed of his right to demand a physical and psychological examination by an independent and competent doctor of his own choice after interrogation, which shall be conducted outside the influence ofthe police or security forces.
(2) The medical report shall include in detail the history and the findings of the physical and psychological examination and shall be attached to the custodial investigation report; otherwise, such investigation report is deemed void”.
14, The Government of Kenya (GOK) has publicly denied complicity and involvement in the said abduction, disappearance, torture and extraordinary rendition of our Client and asserted in judicial proceedings that there was no extradition, expulsion or deportation proceedings against our Client anywhere in Kenya. In particular, GOK asserts that its official records indicate that our Client is still in Kenya. See Attachment 1.
15, Our Client has life-threatening serious health conditions, namely: heart disease and hypertension, which have been dangerously aggravated by the mental and physical torture he was subjected to.
16, It is our considered position that the totality of what happened to our Client as enunciated above unarguably met the definition of Torture under Section 2 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, which also states at Section 9(1) that “A person who contravenes section 2 of this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 25 years”.
17, It is our further position that regardless of the severity of the offense alleged against our Client, there is absolutely no justification for the egregious torture our Client endured. Section 3(1) of the Act provides that “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture”.
17, In view of the forgoing, we hereby make the following Prayers:
(a) That, consistent with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, the office of the Attorney-General take prompt measures to initiate the prosecution of all persons that were directly or indirectly culpable in the torture of our Client. For your ease of reference, Section 5 of the Anti Torture Act provides that: “(1) A person who has suffered or alleges that he has been subjected to torture shall have the right to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by a competent authority.
(2) The competent authority under subsection (1) shall take steps to ensure that the complainant is protected against all ill-treatment or intimidation as a consequence of his complaint or any given evidence”.
(b) That, said prosecutorial action be levied in line with Section 8 of the Anti Torture Act which provides that “(1) A person who actually participates in the infliction of torture or who is present during the commission of the act is liable as the principal.
(2) A superior military, police or law enforcement officer or senior government official who issues an order to a lower ranking personnel to torture a victim for whatever purpose is equally liable as the principal.
(3) An order from a superior officer or from a superior in the office or public authority shall not be invoked as a justification for torture.
(4) The immediate commanding officer of the unit concerned of the security or law enforcement agencies is held liable as an accessory to the crime for any act or omission or negligence on his part that may have led to the commission of torture by his subordinates”.
In conclusion, we call your attention to the provisions of Section 1 of the Anti Torture Act, which states that “The Government shall—
(a) ensure that the rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners are respected at all times and that no person placed under investigation or held in custody of any person in authority shall be subjected to physical harm, force, violence, threat or intimidation or any act that impairs his free will: and
(b) fully adhere to the principles and standards on the absolute condemnation and prohibition of torture set by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and various international instruments to which Nigeria is a State party”.
While thanking you for the expeditious prosecution of this Complaint, please be assured of our highest esteems for your person and good offices.