September 18, 2021

Our Reporter 

How IPOB leader, PA outsmarted security agents over passport

Fresh facts have emerged in Kenya on the moments that led to the arrest in June and subsequent deportation to Nigeria the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu’s younger brother, Kingsley, with whom he was conversing on the phone when he was arrested, says the separatist champion was into his second month in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, at the time.

Kingsley has now filed a suit in a high court in Kenya seeking a declaration that his brother’s arrest was not in order.

The younger Kanu also reveals how he and his brother’s Kenyan personal assistant outwitted the Nigerian security agents in their bid to lay their hands on his British passport.

Kingsley is suing Kenya’s Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Director of Immigration Services Alexander Muteshi, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) boss George Kinoti, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s (JKIA) police boss and Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki over Nnamdi’s alleged abduction and deportation.

The plaintiff, according to The Nation newspaper of Kenya, claims the IPOB leader had arrived in Kenya from Kigali, Rwanda, in May and was to spend “a few weeks” in Kenya when the country’s security forces allegedly assisted in deporting him.

On the day of his arrest, he had gone to pick up a friend from JKIA and was on a phone call with his Germany-based brother when he was arrested.

“The subject (Mr Kanu) was at no time notified that he was classified as a prohibited immigrant in Kenya.

“If he was, he would not have been granted a visa in the first instance or allowed to exit the airport on arrival.

“He would have been asked to take the next available flight out of Kenya,” Kingsley says in his petition to the court.

Read Also: Southeast senators, Reps seek political solution to Kanu’s ordeal

Besides, he says Kanu was in Kenya in furtherance of his campaign for the separation of Biafra from Nigeria.

The court papers reveal that the IPOB leader had stayed in a furnished apartment within Nairobi’s upscale Kilimani suburb and had hired a Kenyan personal assistant.

It was the personal assistant who sent Kanu’s British passport to Kingsley in Germany after his arrest and gave details of the last moment before the security swoop.

Kingsley says he requested for his brother’s passport to avoid it getting into the hands of the Nigerian authorities, who might use it to claim that the IPOB leader travelled to Nigeria on his own volition.

Kingsley is praying the Kenyan court to declare his brother’s arrest and deportation a violation of extradition treaties signed by Kenya.

He also wants the court to compel the Kenyan government to reveal the circumstances of the arrest and subsequent deportation to Nigeria.

Similarly, he wants the court to order the government to release the full name and ranks of police officers and any government bureaucrat who participated in the deportation to Nigeria, saying: “Even though the subject (of the court petition) is not a Kenyan citizen, he was entitled to protection by and under the Constitution of Kenya and international human rights law signed and covenanted to be upheld by the government of Kenya.

“Even though the petitioner (Kingsley Kanu) is not a Kenyan, the Constitution of Kenya does not prevent him from moving to the High Court under Article 22 of the Constitution.”

Citing Kanu’s previous encounters with the Nigerian authorities, the plaintiff adds: “There are concerns that he is currently being tortured in detention in Nigeria. Similar actions by Nigerian authorities against pro-Biafra activists have been widely reported and condemned by international human rights Non-government Organisations as well as the United Nations.

“Given the history of Nigerian authorities torturing Mr Kanu in detention, there can be no doubt that Mr Kanu is in grave danger and at serious risk of torture while in detention.”

Details of Kanu’s arrest contained in the court papers show that he was admitted to Nairobi Hospital on May 13, 2021 and discharged the following day.

He went to the airport to pick up a friend on June 19 and while on a call with his brother, a group of unidentified individuals accosted him.

While the drama was unfolding, Kanu had promised to call his brother back, but that was the last time the two would talk.

But a few days later, Kanu’s Kenyan personal assistant telephoned Kingsley that the separatist leader had not been seen at the Kilimani apartment since June 19.

She said Nnamdi’s passport was in his apartment which was indicative that he had not planned to travel outside Kenya when he left for JKIA.

“On or about July 6, 2021 the petitioner requested Ms Gitau to send him Mr Kanu’s passport in fear that the Nigerian authorities would get a hold of it and claim he voluntarily entered. To

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