Jailed Biafran separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu’s family lost a legal challenge against the British government in a London court regarding his detention in Nigeria.
Kanu’s brother Kingsley Kanu had 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 judgement about whether his brother was the victim of extraordinary rendition so it could properly assess how to assist the family.
Judge Jonathan Swift dismissed the case on Thursday, saying the Foreign Office’s decision not to express a firm view about Nnamdi 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 from Nigeria’s Court of Appeal on October 13 that found that Nnamdi Kanu had been unlawfully abducted and sent to Nigeria.
Nigeria’s Court of Appeal also dropped seven charges against Nnamdi 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.
Nnamdi Kanu founded the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to press for the secession of the Igbo ethnic group’s homeland, which covers part of southeastern Nigeria.
Authorities view IPOB as a “terrorist” group and banned it in 2017. IPOB says it wants to achieve independence through non-violent means. It has authorised sit-at-home orders on Mondays since July 2021, which have crippled small businesses in the region.
A splinter faction established a paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network, which has been accused of human rights violations, abductions and violent attacks on offices of Nigeria’s electoral commission.
The region tried to secede from Nigeria in 1967 under the name of the Republic of Biafra, triggering a three-year civil war in which more than a million people died, mostly from starvation.
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