INDIGENOUS People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to transfer him to Kuje Correctional Centre from the Department of State Services (DSS) facility where he is currently being held.
Highly controversial, Mr Kanu has been campaigning for the recreation of the independent republic of Biafra which broke away from Nigeria between July 1967 and January 1970 during the civil war. His campaign, which has led to the phenomenal growth of Ipob, has set him at odds with the Nigerian government who him arrested and put on trial for treason.
While the case was still pending, Mr Kanu was granted bail in April 2017 on health grounds but skipped his bail after flouting the conditions given to him by the court and fled Nigeria. Late last month, Kanu was arrested during a recent visit to Kenya and was then and handed over to the Nigerian authorities who then flew him into the country.
Mr Kanu has since been arraigned in court and Ipob has accused the DSS of denying him access to his doctors. Ipob has alleged that the health of its leader was deteriorating and its lawyers, led by Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the DSS of subjecting him to mental and psychological torture.
They said it would be in the interest of justice for the court to order his transfer to the Correctional Centre. Ipob’s lawyers said the correctional centre is an impartial facility that has no interest whatsoever in the case.
Mr Ejiofor said: “An ECG examination was carried out on the defendant and it was discovered that the defendant’s heart had been enlarged by more than 13%, posing a serious threat and danger to defendant’s life. The health personnel attending to the defendant in the custody of the State Security Service is not adequate, considering the circumstances of the defendant’s health condition.
“The defendant requires the services of his medical experts as his medical records issued by the chief cardiologist of Nairobi Hospital, who has the defendant’s medical records, mainly, before the arrest/abduction of the applicant shows a debilitating medical condition. Copies of these medical records showing the applicant’s subsisting health condition are hereby attached and marked as Exhibit MNK.
Mr Kanu had pointed out that his lawyers had limited access to him, as they have to go through a rigorous process of obtaining the DSS director’s approval, which may take days. Ipob spokesman, Emma Powerful, stressed that no harm should befall its leader and urged human rights and international organisations to compel the Nigerian government to grant Mr Kanu’s doctors unfettered access to him.