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Lawyer: Kanu stopped from UK assistance

Published by The Nation on Tue, 20 Jul 2021


By Nicholas Kalu, AbujaThe Department of State Services (DSS) stopped the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu from seeking consular assistance from the United Kingdom, his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, alleged on Monday.Ejimakor said the Service stopped Kanu from signing two forms to give consent to consular and diplomatic interventions by the United Kingdom and the High Commission in Nigeria.He stated this in a statement on his Facebook wall.The lawyer said this was not in line with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence.The Facebook post was titled: Summary of my visitation with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on Monday 19th July 2021 at the DSS.It reads: Last Saturday when I visited Mazi Kanu, I expressed strong concerns about the inordinate delay in having Kanu sign the two forms I had taken to the DSS for Kanus signature some days before.Read Also;Why my family wont attend Nnamdi Kanus trialYounger brother EmmanuelBoth forms relate to affirming his consent to consular and diplomatic interventions by the United Kingdom and her High Commission in Nigeria. Surprisingly, the forms were returned to me unsigned.Let me make it clear that the day I took the forms to the DSS, the officers on location were amenable to Kanu signing them until somewhere along the line, they tarried and decided to send it to the legal unit for vetting.So, my sense is that its the legal unit of the DSS that disapproved of Kanu signing the forms for reasons that were not given to me.As a lawyer, I dont see any legal advantage the government of Nigeria stands to gain by blocking Kanu from signing those forms. The forms are but a mere routine in matters like this.Instead of any advantage, the refusal will help fuel the notion that the government of Nigeria is deliberately isolating Kanu from having consular and diplomatic access to the United Kingdom.It does not comport with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence.This is one of the things that will count in our reckoning as this matter continues to fold.For these reasons, I am now compelled to call on the British High Commission in Nigeria to banish every red tape and exert the full weight of its diplomatic clout in gaining immediate access to Kanu.This is especially important, given the prospects of better welfare, including adequate medical care for Mazi Kanu.Further, the prompt intervention of the High Commission will mean that Kanu will have another layer of human contact in addition to his legal team who are the only ones currently allowed to see him.They also rejected and returned some Jewish prayer books and clothing we had taken to him last week, explaining that he had to be the one to make the request through a certain department at the DSS that officially caters to his needs.DSS spokesman Dr Peter Afunanya said he was in a meeting when our correspondent contacted him.He did not return the call or respond to a text message sent to him as of press time.
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