The United Nations (UN) has reacted to an allegation of torture on Nnamdi Kanu raised by the younger brother of the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The UN in a press statement made available to the media on Tuesday, said it had issued an ‘Urgent Appeal’ to both the Nigerian and Kenyan governments, demanding stoppage of any violation of Kanu’s human rights while detained.
According to the statement, “the said Urgent Appeals state in part that the United Nations is “alarmed by the alleged torture and ill-treatment Mr. Kanu has been subjected to during his illegal custody in Kenya.
” If confirmed, these allegations would constitute prima facie violations of fundamental human rights, including the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of liberty, and the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights (ICCPR).
“The allegations in the case of Mr. Kanu raise serious violations of international human rights law and may cause irreparable damage to his life or personal integrity, which we believe warrants prompt attention.
“In this regard, we are considering to publicly express our concerns in this case in the near future, believing that the wider public should be informed about the implications of these allegations for the enjoyment and exercise of human rights in Kenya and Nigeria.
“Any public expression of concern in this regard, will indicate that we have been in contact with your Excellency’s Government to clarify the issue/s in question.
“While awaiting a reply, we urge that all necessary interim measures be taken to prevent any irreparable damage to the life or personal integrity of Mr Kanu, halt the alleged violations and prevent their re-occurrence and in the event that the investigations support or suggest the allegations to be correct, to ensure the accountability of any person responsible of the alleged violations”.
On why Kanu’s brother decided to seek UN intervention, the statement noted: “Following the extraordinary rendition of my older brother, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, I undertook a number of urgent steps within the realm of the international community, particularly in Britain and the United Nations. I worked quietly with my brother’s Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor and the Bindmans (my brother’s lawyers in Britain) on a host of muscular interventions aimed at presenting my brother’s case to the international community and facilitating his unconditional release and bringing the culprits of his illegal rendition to account.
“These interventions were not made known to the general public because the applicable rules, especially that of the United Nations, required them to be kept confidential for sixty days.
“Those sixty day just expired and the United Nations has therefore made public the details of its ‘Urgent Appeals’ to the Nigerian and Kenyan Governments, which were transmitted since 26th August, 2021. It also has made public an acknowledgment it received on 17th September, 2021 from the ‘Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the United Nations’. Both documents are attached to this Press Release.
“It is important to emphasize that this is just the beginning of more United Nations and other global strong actions that would be seen in the coming weeks. While we await for such actions to unfold, we wish to inform the public that we will remain resolute and relentless in bringing the full weight of the international community to bear on the unconditional release of my brother and leader without further delay.”