NIGERIA’S former ambassador to Thailand Olufunso Olumoko has said he does not see how the UK can help Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu despite the fact that he holds a British passport.
In a dramatic development last week Tuesday, Mr Kanu was arrayed in court in Abuja the Nigerian capital with justice minister Abubakar Malami, revealing that he had been arrested abroad and deported. It was originally claimed that Mr Kanu was arrested in the UK but Dean Hurlock, a spokesman for the British high commission in Nigeria denied this and speculation about where the arrest took place has grown.
It later emerged that Mr Kanu was arrested in Kenya amid claims that the local police were involved and it was them who then handed him over to Nigerian security agents. However, the Kenyan government has denied this saying it was not involved in the arrest and could not even ascertain that the arrest took place within its borders.
So far, no evidence has been presented to show that Mr Kanu was legally deported as no court deportation order or extradition warrant by the Kenyan government has been presented. With it being suggested that Mr Kanu was abducted and smuggled into Nigeria illegally, Britain has been asked to intervene and secure his release as he is their citizen.
However, Ambassador Olumoko said he does not see this happening, adding that doubts very much if the British will lose any sleep over Nnamdi Kanu who they know as a felon, insurrectionist and at best, a rancorous agitator and demagogue. Account to the former diplomat, countries are sovereign entities, with each having its own laws and regulations which guide its citizens, so country imposes its own laws and judicial systems on another.
Ambassador Olumoko said: “Agreed, Nnamdi Kanu is a dual citizen of both Nigeria and the United Kingdom but being a British citizen does not confer on him the right to carry out subversive activities and propagate hate and treasonous campaigns from British soil. I am sure the British would deal decisively with him if it were the other way round, so consequently, I don’t envisage any diplomatic implications except that the British High Commission in Nigeria may likely request for consular access to Kanu and request Nigeria ensure that he gets fair hearing and a fair trial.
“While being a fugitive from justice, he has engaged in subversive activities against the Nigerian state and its important political personalities. You may recall that key Nigerian personalities, including Mr President, had been picketed and embarrassed by Ipob supporters whenever they went overseas officially.
“You may also recall the humiliation and rough handling Senator Ike Ekweremadu suffered in the hands of Ipob supporters in Germany in 2019 and they routinely picket our embassies abroad and embarrass embassy officials. In fact, it may be recalled the destruction of some of our embassies in Dakar, Bangkok and Jakarta largely by Ipob-orchestrated sympathisers.
Consequently, Nnamdi Kanu’s interception and repatriation to Nigeria is very welcome and timely indeed. Although the details of his re-arrest and repatriation are still not in the public domain, the operatives who carried out the operation did a good job and deserve our kudos.”
He added that if whatever Ipob is doing is not manifestly against British law, Nigerians should not think the British would rush and proscribe the organisation because Nigeria has done so. Ambassador Olumoko added, however, that he is confident Mr Kanu will have fair hearing within the Nigerian judicial system, which he said is still one of the finest within the Commonwealth.
“I envisage international interests in his trial. This in itself coupled with advocacy by human rights organisations like Amnesty International will ensure Kanu gets fair trial,” Ambassador Olumoko added.