Bruce Fein, the American lawyer of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has petitioned the US Senate and House of Representatives Committee Chairmen, seeking sanctions against President Muhammadu Buhari; and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for the continued detention of his client against the Appeal Court’s judgement.
The letter asked President Joe Biden to impose sanctions against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerian Attorney General Abubakar Malami for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights against the IPOB leader, including “kidnapping, torture, and prolonged arbitrary detention to retaliate for exercising internationally recognized rights to freedom of expression and association.”
Kanu’s lawyer specifically urged the affected Committee Chairmen of both chambers, to prevail on President Joe Biden, to impose severe sanctions on Messrs Buhari and Malami for flouting both the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Opinion, and the Nigerian court judgement ordering the immediate release of Kanu.
Below is the full text of the letter:
I represent Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu.
Mr. Kanu has been illegally detained in solitary confinement in cramped quarters for sixteen (16) months without adequate access to needed medical care or to counsel by Nigeria’s State Security Services controlled by President Muhammadu Buhari and Attorney General Abubakar Malami.
Mr. Kanu’s detention followed his kidnapping, torture, and extraordinary rendition from Kenya in June 2021 to retaliate for advocating a Biafran independence referendum modeled on the United States-brokered 2011 referendum for South Sudan. Mr. Kanu opposes the use of force with the sole exception of self-defense.
On July 20, 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued an Opinion finding Nnamdi Kanu’s detention in violation of sixteen (16) international human rights guarantees. The Opinion ordered his “immediate and unconditional release,” Opinion, paragraph 107. (See Attachment A). President Buhari and Attorney General Malami have ignored the directive for nearly three (3) months with no indication that compliance will ever be forthcoming.
In January 2022, following the extraordinary rendition of Mr. Kanu, a Nigerian High Court judgment impliedly exonerated him from the Nigerian government’s Orwellian claim that he had jumped bail in evading its notorious attempted assassination.
On October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial Division, Holden at Abuja, decreed that Nigeria’s detention of Mr. Kanu was illegal because of his extraordinary rendition from Kenya in violation of international and state laws. (See Attachment B). The Court ordered dismissal of all charges against him. Again, President Buhari and Attorney General Malami have flouted the Court’s orders and kept Nnamdi Kanu illegally detained.
The Opinions of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Court of Appeals of Nigeria speak for themselves. They are crystal clear.
Accordingly, I would respectfully urge you individually and collectively to recommend to President Joe Biden that he impose sanctions against President Buhari and Attorney General Malami for gross violations of Mr. Kanu’s internationally recognized human rights under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, 22 U.S.C. 2656 note, The sanctions should include ineligibility for a visa to enter the United States and blocking of all transactions in properties of Mr. Buhari and Mr. Malami in the United States.
What Nigeria has done to Mr. Kanu is indistinguishable from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Saudi Arabian Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman sending thugs abroad to poison, murder, torture, silence, and intimidate dissidents to their dictatorial regimes. They are a threat to international peace and security and subvert the rule-based international order championed by the United States.
To permit President Buhari’s and Attorney General Malami’s thuggery to escape with impunity would be unacceptable.