The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) recently accused the Nigerian government of abducting him from Kenya.
Aloy Ejimakor, the lawyer to Kanu, who visited him at the State Security Service (SSS) detention, narrated the circumstances of the arrest of his client, putting an end to series of speculations on the place he was arrested and brought to Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Kanu was recently extradited back to Nigeria, and the unwillingness of the federal government to give details of his extradition had fueled speculations, as some platforms reported that he was arrested in Czech Republic while others reported Ethiopia, Brazil and even the United Kingdom.
The latest clarification by Kanu, through his lawyer, has generated further controversies in the past couple of days. In an interview with BBC Pidgin, Mr Ejimakor said that Kanu, who had been in Kenya since May, was arrested at the airport while he was trying to pick up an unknown person.
He claimed that the “Kenyan Government was deeply involved in the abduction, detention and ill-treatment of my client before the illegal handover to their Nigerian counterpart.”
The account by the lawyer clearly contradicts the position of the Kenya High Commissioner to Nigeria, Wilfred Machage, who at a press briefing, denied the involvement of the government of Kenya in the “abduction.”
“I want to address the allegation by denying that Kenya was involved in the alleged arrest in Kenya and extradition to Nigeria of Mr Kanu.
“The allegation is fictional, imaginary and deliberately concocted to fuel antagonistic feeling amongst the southern section of the Nigerian people against the Kenyan people.
Kenya’s Director General of Immigration Services, Alexander Muteshi, in an interview with Kenya Nation, said he was not aware that Kanu was in the country. However, Kanu’s lawyer has insisted that he was with the passport of his client which shows he was in Kenya.
Also, the Nigerian government had refused to state where and how Kanu was adopted. The Attorney General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, while announcing the capture of the IPOB leader, said he was intercepted through the collaboratory effort of security agencies.
Equally, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had also evaded questions on where and how Kanu was captured.
DAILY POST contacted the Spokesperson of Kenya’s government, Col Cyrus Oguna, but he did not pick his calls.
History of abduction
Notwithstanding the back and forth between Kenya officials and Kanu’s lawyer, what is not in doubt is the entanglement of President Muhamadu Buhari with alleged abduction.
Mr Kanu’s allegations bear similarity with the failed abduction of Umar Dikko, a former Minister of Transportation under President Shehu Shagari, in July 1984.
Mr Dikko was accused of embezzling about $1billion and declared the most wanted man by the Buhari regime, who had toppled the then administration in a coup. In a plot similar to the James Bond movie, the regime allegedly worked with the Israeli intelligence, MOSSAD, to locate and kidnap the former minister.
The whole saga which was subsequently dubbed the Dikko Affairs allegedly involved former Mossad agents, Alexander Barak, Felix Abitbol, Nigerian intelligence officer, Mohammed Yusufu and Doctor Lev-Arie Shapiro, who administered the anaesthetic.
Mr Dikko was abducted in front of his house at Bayswater in London, unfortunately for the kidnapper, the personal secretary of Mr Dikko, Elizabeth Hayes had witnessed the grabbing and reported to the police.
Mr Dikko, who was sedated and had an endotracheal tube inserted in his throat to avoid him choking on his vomit, was put in a crate alongside Dr Shapiro, to ensure he did not die in transit. While the other two Israelis occupied the second crate.
Charles Morrow, Custom officer at Stansted Airport that foiled the kidnapping, in an interview with BBC, noted that the appearance of the Nigeria Airway Booing 707 at the tarmac to pick up diplomatic bags from the Nigerian High Commission in London, raised suspicion.
Also, Scotland Yard had raised a warning about possible smuggling of a Nigerian exile who had been kidnapped
Furthermore, the agents failed to tag the crates with the diplomatic tag in compliance with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, which would have prevented the customs officers from inspecting the content.
17 persons involved in the incident were arrested, and according to the Minute House of Common session sighted by DAILY POST, the then Secretary of State for the Home Department, Leon Brittain, said the Nigerian government failed to use the Fugitive Offender Act, which applies to Nigeria. This means the Nigerian government could have formerly requested the arrest of Dikko.
In the aftermath of the diplomatic fiasco, the Nigerian Government had seized the British Caledonian plane and two British engineers were arrested and spent 25 months in prison for stealing a private jet.
The Nigerian government and the Israeli denied involvement in the abduction. This resulted in a breakdown of diplomatic relations for two years.
The legal implication of the forceful rendition
A legal practitioner, Rasheed Bakare, who spoke with DAILY POST, said to argue force rendition by Kanu’s legal team will be hard, because Kanu abused the privilege of bail in the first instance.
He stated that although the team could approach the High Court to file for fundamentals, the chances are slim.
“The most important thing is that whenever anyone abuses his/her bail condition, through the order the court, the authority can use any means necessary to return such a person back.
“He left the country through illegal means. The argument of the lawyer is a no go area. Even with his record, it will be difficult for him to get another bail, because he abused the privilege. The question is, who will stand for him?”
Kanu’s lawyer has also harped on the dual citizen status of his client, and has called for the intervention of the British Government.
But Mr Bakare noted that as far as the crime he is being accused of, were committed in Nigeria, his citizenship status becomes irrelevant to the case.
“We must fall back to the constitution, the constitution recognizes citizenship by birth. Since the offence he is being tried for was committed in Nigeria, he will still have to face the law in Nigeria. If a British citizen should commit an offence in Nigeria, he can be tried.”