‘DSS is stopping Kanu from signing letter required for UK assistance’ – Lawyer alleges
Aloy Ejimakor, one of the counsels to the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has alleged that the Department of State Services (DSS) is frustrating efforts for his client to communicate with the United Kingdom.
Kanu, who have dual citizenship from ‘Nigerian and British’, is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, jumped bail in 2017 and left the country.
The former London estate agent disappeared in 2017 after being released on bail, only to re-emerge in Israel and then in the United Kingdom.
Kanu was extradited to Nigeria on Sunday, June 27 to face trial as announced by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, June 29 and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned till July 26 and July 27.
After his arrest, the British Government expressed readiness to provide “consular assistance” for Kanu but needed him to assent to the assistance by signing some forms.
Head of Communications, British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock, had in a report by The PUNCH said “The British High Commission in Abuja is currently in the process of seeking clarification from the Nigerian government about the circumstances of the arrest.
“With regard to any questions about whether the British High Commission are providing assistance in this case, we can confirm that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stands ready to provide consular assistance.”
Subsequently, Ejimakor delivered two forms to the IPOB leader last Wednesday during a visit to the office of the secret police.
But in a statement seen by NewsWireNGR on Monday, the lawyer said the forms were returned to him unsigned.
Ejimakor’s statement was titled, ‘Summary of my visitation with our Client, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on Monday 19th July’.
It read, “Last Saturday, when I visited Mazi Kanu, I expressed strong concerns about the inordinate delay in having Kanu sign the two Forms I had taken to the DSS for Kanu’s signature some days before.
“Both Forms relate to affirming his consent to consular and diplomatic interventions by the United Kingdom and her High Commission in Nigeria.
“Surprisingly, the Forms were returned to me unsigned.
“Let me make it clear that the day I took the Forms to the DSS, the officers on location were amenable to Kanu signing them until somewhere along the line, they tarried and decided to send it to the legal unit for vetting.
“So, my sense is that it’s the legal unit of the DSS that disapproved of Kanu signing the Forms for reasons that were not given to me.
“As a lawyer, I don’t see any legal advantage the government of Nigeria stands to gain by blocking Kanu from signing those Forms. The Forms are but a mere routine in matters like this.
“Instead of any advantage, the refusal will help fuel the notion that the government of Nigeria is deliberately isolating Kanu from having consular and diplomatic access to the United Kingdom.
“It does not comport with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence. This is one of the things that will count in our reckoning as this matter continues to fold.
“For these reasons, I am now compelled to call on the British High Commission in Nigeria to banish every red tape and exert the full weight of its diplomatic clout in gaining immediate access to Kanu. This is especially important, given the prospects of better welfare, including adequate medical care for Mazi Kanu.
“Further, the prompt intervention of the High Commission will mean that Kanu will have another layer of human contact in addition to his legal team who are the only ones currently allowed to see him.”