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Kanu's Lawyers Write Red Cross Over IPOB Leader's Worsening Health Condition In DSS Custody

February 25, 2022

The physical torture on Kanu amid other inhumane conditions he was subjected to following his arrest and extradition from Kenya has aggravated the existing health conditions of the agitator.

Counsel for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has written to the International Committee of the Red Cross to prevail upon the Nigerian government over the deteriorating health conditions of their client.
In a letter signed by Aloy Ejimakor, one of the lawyers representing Kanu, the legal practitioners appealed to the ICRC to intervene and push the Government of Nigeria to grant Kanu access to (an) independent medical examination.


The lawyers cited cases of heart failure, breathing difficulties and hypertension experienced by the agitator as reasons why he needs urgent medical care.
According to the counsel, the physical torture on Kanu amid other inhumane conditions he was subjected to following his arrest and extradition from Kenya has aggravated the existing health conditions of the agitator.
The letter which was addressed to the ICRC's Head of Delegation in Nigeria reads: “We are Solicitors to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (hereafter: our Client), on whose behalf and Instruction we most respectfully appeal to ICRC to intervene with the Government of Nigeria to grant our Client immediate access to independent medical examination and care. For your ease of reference, the following is a summary of the background information on this matter.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was born on 25th September, 1967 in Afaraukwu Ibeku, Abia State, Southeast Nigeria. In the course of time, he relocated to the United Kingdom where he received his university education, set up a family and subsequently acquired British citizenship.
“He is a radio broadcaster; a human rights activist and the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) an organization legally registered and recognized in the United Kingdom, with its headquarters in Germany and several offices/chapters around the world. The primary goal of IPOB is restoration of the defunct Independent Republic of Biafra through a referendum.
“For the reasons stated in Paragraph 2 above, the Government of Nigeria arrested our Client on his arrival to Nigeria from the United Kingdom in October 2015. He was subsequently charged for treasonable felony, stemming from his advocacy for the restoration of State of Biafra.
“He spent 18 (eighteen) months in detention and was released on bail in 2017, whereupon he returned to his family home in Abia State. He remained there awaiting his next trial date set for October 2017. On 10th September 2017, while our Client was resting at home with some family members and friends, a combined team of Nigeria’s security forces led by the Nigerian Army launched military assaults at his said residential premises.”
They narrated how Kanu was in June 2021 forcibly taken from Kenya and brought to Nigeria.
The letter further read, “His abductors took him to a nondescript private location (not a police station) somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya and chained him to the floor. 
“He was neither shown a Warrant of arrest nor told why he was abducted. The abductors did not tell him who they are but from their conversations, he surmised that they were working for the Government of Nigeria.
“While chained to the floor, his abductors took turns beating him and torturing him to the point that he fainted several times and was intermittently revived when they poured cold water on him.
“During the tortures and beatings, his abductors taunted him, verbally degraded him and called him a “separatist Igbo Jew”. They also told him he will be “expelled to Nigeria to face death”. 
“He was chained to the floor for eight (8) days and was thus forced to relieve himself of urine and excrement where he was chained.
“Throughout the duration of his captivity and torture, he was not allowed to bathe and was fed only on bland bread once a day and given non-solitary water to drink, and except for the presence of his abductors, he was in solitary confinement the entire eight days.
“The inhuman treatment, cruelty and degradation to which the abductors subjected our Client and the external and internal injuries he sustained therefrom coupled with his preexisting poor health made him to live captivity and his body disappeared in dread, fear and terror that he was going to die in captivity and his body disappeared.
“His anguished entreaties to his abductors to get him some medication for his hypertension, heart condition and physical injuries were inhumanely refused and his pleas to be taken before a Court or even official police or other law enforcement facility or allowed a phone call were flatly refused.
“On the eighth day, his abductors brought him out of the house, put him in a car, drove him straight to the tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where they evaded Kenyan immigration and forcibly bundled him into a private jet that departed the airport at about 12 noon on June 27, 2021, and arrived Abuja, Nigeria in the evening of the same day.”
The lawyers said Kanu has “life-threatening serious health conditions, namely: heart disease and hypertension, which have been aggravated by the mental and physical torture he was subjected to, and by his continuing solitary confinement”.
“Our Client informs us that his blood has been drawn more than 20 times without explanation and that he continues to feel apprehension and dread that he is in the custody of those that partook in his extraordinary rendition.
“During our several stations with him, he told us that his health, particularly his heart is failing him and he was having severe breathing issues, that his fingernails are cracking and he feels dizzy most times of the day.
“Above all, he told us he was not receiving the necessary medical care even when the Government of Nigeria is aware from this medical examination that his heart has enlarged by 13% We observed that his fingernails are in fact cracking he had labored breathing looked very frail, ill and is generally a shadow of his old self
“His said serious health problems require the urgent and constant mention of specialist doctors and medications that are not being given to him in the detention facility. In this circumstance, he is daily facing the grim and imminent risk of losing his life in detention and the risk increases each passing day.
“In view of the foregoing, we mostly respectfully request that you bring your good offices to bear on the Government of Nigeria to grant our Client the opportunity of an independent medical examination and care within the shortest possible time henceforth.

“We trust that you will determine on our humble request to be consistent with ICRC's policy of promoting international humanitarian law in Nigeria and securing humane treatment and conditions of detention for all detainees, regardless of the reasons for their arrest and detention.”

Human Rights