The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has declared its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, as a “prisoner of conscience”.
This was announced in a statement issued by Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesperson, on Friday.
According to the separatist group, Kanu has not committed any crime to warrant his detention, adding that its leader is fighting for the self-determination of his people.
The group insisted that its leader’s actions are backed up by the United Nations Charter, to which Nigeria is a signatory.
The statement read: “Following the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria without proper documentation for doing so and long incarceration and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody, we the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) wish to state categorically to the people of the world that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is now declared Prisoner Of Conscience.
“In 2015 Nnamdi Kanu was first arrested and subjected to an egregious violation of his fundamental rights. After his miraculous escape from the military invasion of his home in 2017, he was abducted in Kenya and renditioned to Nigeria in June this year.
“Mazi Nnamdi KANU has been in DSS detention in Abuja ever since then. We, therefore, have to inform the world, most civilised countries and the Africa continent that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is fighting for the freedom and self-determination of his people because under the United Nations Charter, to which Nigeria is a signatory, self-determination is not a crime.
“Under the African Union Charter to which Nigeria is a signatory, Self Determination is not a crime. Under the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, particularly Article 20, CAP A9, self-determination is not a crime. As a matter of fact and law, Self-Determination is recognized as a right, both domestically and internationally. Above all, Self Determination is a political opinion, which is recognized as a fundamental right under the Nigerian Constitution.
“In 2021 he was kidnapped by the Nigerian government in Kenya and subjected to extraordinary rendition to Nigeria against his will and all norms and rules of international law.
“In both instances, he committed no offence known to law. He only advocated self-determination for his people and all oppressed peoples in Nigeria.
“He did so peacefully by articulating the decades of oppression, marginalisation, inequality, Apartheid, brutality and genocide to which his people and all oppressed peoples in Nigeria have been subjected.
“And in light of those grievances, he demanded a referendum on self-determination and self-rule for the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and all aggrieved groups and lovers of freedom.
“In doing so he bore no malice nor hate against any group. He only demanded self-determination as enshrined in the African Charter and the United Nations charter both of which Nigeria is a signatory.
“In peacefully articulating the grievances of an injured and oppressed people and in seeking self-determination for all such peoples; Nnamdi Kanu broke no law within or outside Nigeria.
“We use this opportunity to put the world on notice to ongoing extrajudicial detentions, persecution and widespread human rights violations in Nigeria.”
Kanu, who jumped bail in 2017, was re-arrested and subsequently repatriated to Nigeria from an undisclosed location on 27 June “through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services”, according to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on 29 June and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS.
The trial was stalled after the DSS failed to produce Kanu in court on 26 July, the adjourned date for hearing.
Justice Binta Nyako, the trial judge, adjourned the case till October 21, 2021, when judges were expected to have resumed their annual vacation.
The Federal Government had slammed an amended seven-count charge against Kanu.
Kanu was eventually produced in court on 21 October and pleaded “not guilty” to an amended seven-charge bordering on treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms among others filed against him by the Federal Government.