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Kenya Denies Involvement in Arrest, Deportation of Nigerian Separatist Leader Kanu

The Kenyan government has dismissed claims that it facilitated the arrest and deportation of Nigerian Separatist Leader Nnamdi Kanu.

Nigerian authorities had indicated they seized the activist in London before extraditing him to Nigeria where he is facing trial.

But Kanu’s family and the Coalition of Igbo-British lawyers issued separate statements claiming Kenyan authorities were actively involved in his arrest and deportation, further condemning what they termed as an unlawful act.

“The Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s family has learnt that he was unlawfully arrested in Kenya, detained and subsequently subjected to extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria where he is now detained,” Kanu’s brother Kingsley said on behalf of the family.

The Kenyan government has, however, dismissed the claims saying it could not ascertain whether the act took place in Kenya.

In an interview with Nation, Alexander Muteshi, the Director General of Immigration Services denied Kenya’s involvement arguing that it was not possible to tell whether Kanu had entered Kenyan territory.

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“I can’t know that,” Muteshi said after being asked if the claims were true.

“I am not in the picture of his presence in the country. I am only able to tell if somebody entered the country legally.”

The remarks left room for speculation on a possibility that Kanu might have sneaked into the country illegally or under a false name.

On the other hand, the head of communications at the British High Commission in Nigeria, Dean Hurlock, has maintained that Kanu was not arrested or extradited from the UK.

Hurlock noted that the British government was in the process of seeking clarification from Nigeria on the circumstances surrounding the arrest and extradition.

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“We can reaffirm that Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested in the UK nor was he extradited from the UK,” Hurlock said.

The latest developments are likely to cause a diplomatic crisis.

In a statement signed by Attorney E.R Okoroafor, the Igbo-British lawyers noted that Kenya breached the personal human rights of Kanu but also undermined the sovereignty of the British government since he entered the East African country with his British passport.

According to Okoroafor, Kenya did not follow the due process when handing over Kanu to the West African country.

The lawyers threatened to move to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to rectify the injustice done to Kanu.

“While this serves as a pre-action notice to the Kenyan Government as we shall be heading to the International Criminal Court to rectify the injustice done as it is trite law that injustice to one is injustice to all,” said Okoroafor on Wednesday.

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Kanu is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a movement that has been labelled a terrorist organization by the Nigerian authorities.

The movement wants a breakaway state in eastern Nigeria.

His arrest in 2015 led to major protests in South-East Nigeria. Kanu would later flee the country in 2017 while on bail.

He was facing an 11 count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.

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Kanu who has been a thorn in the Nigerian government’s flesh since 2009, used his Radio Biafra station, which broadcasts from London, to call for an independent state for Igbo people.

On Tuesday, Minister for Justice Abubakar Malami said Kanu was arrested so that he can continue facing trial.

“He has been brought back to Nigeria in order to continue facing trial after disappearing while on bail regarding 11 count charge against him,” Malami said.

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