BRITAIN’S Parliament is to debate the recent arrest of Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu on July 19 when it will ask the UK government to answer questions pertaining its role in the saga.
About a week ago, Mr 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. 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 it has since emerged that the arrest took place in Kenya with the support of the local authorities.
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. In November 2020, a federal high court in Abuja ruled that his trial could resume and five prosecution witnesses were called to testify against Mr Kanu.
Following the controversial arrest, however, the Nigerian government has been under pressure to explain what happened as Mr Kanu was not arraigned in court and served with a deportation order and there is no evidence that any Kenyan minister signed a extradition warrant. Britain is also under pressure to state what it will do because Mr Kanu is a British citizen who should enjoy full diplomatic backing.
In a schedule posted on its website yesterday, the UK Parliament said it would discuss the circumstances surrounding the transfer of Mr Kanu to Nigeria against his will, among other issues. According to the document, Lord Alton of Liverpool will be raising the issue at the House of Lords and will ask the British government on Kanu’s repatriation to Nigeria.
“To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the alleged role of the government of Kenya in the detention and alleged mistreatment of Nigerian activist Nnamdi Kanu, to debate the circumstances surrounding the transfer of Mr Kanu to Nigeria against his will, and ask of any assistance being provided to him by the High Commission in Abuja,” the document read. It added that the question, tagged HL1665 tabled on July 5, will be due for answer by the relevant government department by July 19, 2021.