BRITAIN has been dragged to court in Nigeria by plaintiff Donald Okonkwo who is seeking a judgement compelling London to arrest the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu and deport him to Nigeria to face trial.
Controversial Mr Kanu jumped bail in 2017 and fled Nigeria where he was facing charges for treason and running a pirate radio station. He currently shuttles between Israel, the UK, Germany and the US where he has a large following and his members have heeded calls to confront the Nigerian government.
Two weeks ago, Ipob members physically attacked former senate deputy president Senator Ike Ekweremadu in Nuremberg, Germany, claiming he did not back their separatist cause. Today, Ipob members in Japan have been out demonstrating against President Muhammadu Buhari who is currently in the country for an economic summit.
In a bid to end Ipob’s campaign, an Abuja Federal High Court has been asked to declare Mr Kanu a fugitive in the United Kingdom. Mr Okonkwo, who made the appeal in a suit filed by his counsel, Abiodun Sodiq, yesterday, also asked the court to order the arrest and repatriation of the Ipob leader from his UK base back to Nigeria for trial within 21 days.
Okonkwo joined the British High Commission in Nigeria, the Department of State Services and the attorney-general of the federation as first, second and third defendants respectively in the case. In the suit, Okonkwo urged the court to determine the whether the first defendant is not under an obligation to repatriate Mr Kanu, being a fugitive-cum-terrorist from Great Britain where he has been hiding since September, 2017.
He also asked whether Britain has not abdicated its duties by failing, neglecting or omitting to arrest and extradite Mr Kanu, from the Great Britain back to Nigeria so he can stand his trial for treasonable felony, amongst other sundry offences. This Mr Okonkwo said is considering the fact that a bench warrant was issued on March 28 2019 for the arrest of Mr Kanu by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja after it was determined that he flouted his bail conditions.
In addition, Mr Okonkwo asked whether the attorney-general of the federation as the chief law officer of the federation is not under a statutory duty to advise the president to severe diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom for harbouring Mr Kanu. Mr Okonkwo also asked the court to order the United Kingdom to tender public apology to the Federal Republic of Nigeria in three national dailies within 21 days from the date of delivery of judgment in this suit for its complicity in facilitating his escape from justice and harbouring him.
According to Mr Okonkwo, this has allowed Mr Kanu to cause innocent Nigerian citizens serious emotional trauma through the incessant threat of violence, a breach of the peace and the overthrow of the legitimate government in Nigeria. Mr Kanu had fled Nigeria for UK during a raid on his Abia residence by security operatives in September 2017.