Urgent appeal to the United Nations as fears grow for Biafran leader held incommunicado in Nigeria

London, UK – On Monday 2 August 2021 the family of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, appealed to the United Nations (“UN”) to take urgent action to secure Mr Kanu’s safety and wellbeing, and to call on the Nigerian authorities to allow him immediate access to his legal representatives and essential medical treatment for an underlying health condition.

The request follows the ongoing failure by UK authorities to gain consular access to Mr Kanu following his transfer to Nigeria from Kenya, without judicial process, on or around 27 June 2021. There are strong grounds to conclude that Mr Kanu’s transfer, without judicial process, amounts to an extraordinary rendition and is unlawful under international law.

Since his arrival in Nigeria Mr Kanu has been detained in solitary confinement by Nigerian Security Services (“DSS”). The DSS has repeatedly denied Mr Kanu access to his legal team in Nigeria and failed produce Mr Kanu in court for his recent hearing on 26 July 2021. As far as his family is aware, Mr Kanu continues to be detained in solitary confinement and incommunicado at a DSS facility in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

The above raises serious concerns that Mr Kanu’s health and wellbeing have severely deteriorated in detention and/or he is bearing the marks of severe physical or mental torture, which the Nigerian authorities wish to conceal.

The family’s urgent appeal urges the UN to urgently intervene and obtain confirmation of life from the Nigerian authorities as well as to secure access to his lawyers and medical team. The UN is also asked to issue a public statement condemning the unlawful acts perpetrated against Mr Kanu and to urge the UK and international authorities to take immediate steps to ensure Nigeria complies with its international obligations to prevent torture.

The family continue to call on British authorities to do all that they can to secure access to Mr Kanu.

Mr Kanu was arrested and detained in Kenya before being transferred to Nigeria, without any judicial process, on or around 27 June 2021.

The urgent appeal has been filed by Bindmans LLP, with the assistance of Tatyana Eatwell.

The press release can be accessed here.

Tatyana Eatwell acts for Mr Kanu’s family, instructed by Bindmans LLP.

Jonathan Cooper acts as a consultant to the Kanu family, coordinating their political, diplomatic, PR, communications, and campaigns.

The Kanu family are also assisted by Prof. Rachel Murray, Edward Fitzgerald QC and Jude Bunting, also instructed by Bindmans LLP.