IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu loses London court challenge over detention in Nigeria
Jailed Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu’s family lost a legal challenge against the British government in a London court on Thursday over his continuing detention in Nigeria.
Kanu’s brother Kingsey Kanu brought a judicial review against Britain’s Foreign Office over its alleged refusal to acknowledge that Nnamdi Kanu, who holds Nigerian and British citizenship, was the victim of extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021.
Kingsley Kanu’s lawyers argued that the Foreign Office should reach a concluded view on whether his brother was the victim of extraordinary rendition in order to properly assess what steps to take to assist Kanu.
Judge Jonathan Swift dismissed the case in a written ruling on Thursday, in which he said the Foreign Office’s decision not to express a firm view about Kanu’s treatment, either privately or publicly, was a matter for the government.
However, the judge added that the British government’s approach will also now be informed by a ruling given by Nigeria’s Court of Appeal on Oct. 13, which found that Kanu had been been unlawfully abducted and rendered to Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Court of Appeal also dropped seven terrorism charges against Kanu, who remains in detention pending an appeal against that decision by the Nigerian government.
Britain’s Foreign Office and Kingsley Kanu’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kanu founded the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to press for the secession of the Igbo ethnic group’s homeland, which covers part of southeast Nigeria.
Authorities view IPOB as a terrorist group and banned it in 2017. IPOB says it wants to achieve independence through non-violent means.
The region tried to secede from Nigeria in 1967 under the name of Republic of Biafra, triggering a three-year civil war in which more than a million people died, mostly from starvation.