By Biodun Busari
The member representing District 139 in the Texas House of Representatives, Jarvis Johnson, has urged the United States Congress to compel the Federal Government to immediately release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Johnson made this known in a letter titled, ‘Re: Appeal for Your Urgent Intervention in Urging the Government of Nigeria (GON) to Release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (MNK) from his Extraordinary Rendition’ on May 10, 2023.
A copy of the letter was released to Vanguard by Kanu’s special counsel, Aloy Ejimakor on Wednesday.
The US lawmaker narrated reasons why the US Congress should intervene in Kanu’s matter ranging from the time the Nigerian joint security agencies invaded his house in Abia State in 2017, where people were killed to the time he was abducted in Kenya and brought to Nigeria in 2021.
“This is an appeal for your urgent intervention to urge the Government of Nigeria (GON) to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (MNK) from his Extraordinary Rendition dating back to June 27, 2021,” Johnson said.
Johnson who had made similar calls to US President Joe Biden and President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2022 and January 2023 respectively, said Kanu needs to get out of the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) being a British citizen.
The letter partly read, “In 2012, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) entity was formed in the UK. Since then, MNK, a British citizen who resides in London with his wife and kids, has been its leader.
“IPOB has brancheschapters in the USANorth America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. IPOB owns and operates from the UK, an internet radio, known as Radio Biafra. Radio Biafra has for years remained the leading primary organ utilized to advocate for a Referendum in Nigeria to resolve the inherent structural and other defects in the country of Nigeria, and for freedom for the Igbos. MNK is the leading advocate of this struggle for self-determination.
“MNK’s persecution by the Nigerian Government has increasingly intensified since 2015 when he visited Nigeria from London. First, a few days after his arrival, on October 14, 2015, he was arrested in Lagos by agents of the GON.
“He was held in solitary confinement by the Department of State Security (DSS), the GON’s Secret Police. Ultimately, he was granted bail by the Nigerian Courts.
“After his release, he resided primarily in his ancestral home in Abia State, Nigeria with his parents, siblings, and other extended family members. On October 10, 2017 to October 14, 2017, the Nigerian Military attacked and invaded his home. In the process, dozens of people were murdered, many were wounded and maimed for life, many others were captured alive and have now ‘disappeared’.
“Fortunately, MNK escaped the invasion and returned to his London residence to reunite with his nuclear family. On May 12, 2021, MNK travelled to Nairobi, Kenya, as a British citizen and was legally admitted into Kenya.
“On June 19, 2021, MNK was abducted in Nairobi by agents of the GON. He disappeared in Nairobi and was tortured for eight days. On June 27, 2021, he was extradited by GON to Nigeria. This fact has been admitted by the GON via its Minister of JusticeAttorney General, Mr Abubakar Malami. It was also confirmed by the then Kenyan High Commissioner to Nigeria, who shortly thereafter died under mysterious circumstances.
“That MNK was extraordinarily renditioned has been judicially affirmed by the Nigerian Courts and the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. As a result of the persistent and consistent efforts of The Kanu Family, the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and its Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) have engaged in insufficient efforts to secure his release from the GON’s extraordinary rendition.”
Johnson in the letter further said Kanu should be freed because his health conditions have worsened and need urgent medical attention, adding that Buhari’s administration has disobeyed court orders which ruled in favour of the IPOB leader’s freedom.
“There is no debate that the UN, Western Democracies including the UK and the US uniformly prohibit extraordinary rendition, as do the Nigerian courts and the Kenyan Government. Nevertheless, the GON continues to disobey its own court orders and ignore the unanimity of laws prohibiting extraordinary rendition,” the letter continued.
“For months now, it is public knowledge that MNK’s health condition has deteriorated, and continues to do so on a daily basis. He suffers from a serious heart condition and other ailments for which he is not getting medical attention.
Johnson then called on the US Congressmen saying, “I urge you to use your good offices to urgently intervene with the GON to immediately and unconditionally release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from his solitary confinement and end his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria.
“Time is of the essence! The right of self-determination is a natural right, and is enshrined in our foundational documents—The Declaration of Independence and Constitution. It has been, and is our policy and practice to support this right as we are now doing in Ukraine. What is good for the Ukrainians is also good for MNK and the Igbos.
“I look forward to hearing from you, and working with youyour office to accomplish this goal—the urgent unconditional and immediate release of MNK.”