Why Nigeria’s Supreme Court Must Release Nnamdi Kanu – US Lawmaker

Why Nigeria’s Supreme Court Must Release Nnamdi Kanu – US Lawmaker

A member of the Texas House of Representatives in the United States, Jarvis Johnson, has called on Nigeria’s Supreme Court to order the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Johnson, the State Representative from the 139th District and a US Democrat, urged the apex court to uphold the rulings of the lower courts that have ordered the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu.

In a statement shared with journalists on Tuesday by Kanu’s Special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, ahead of Kanu’s case with the apex court on December 15, 2023, Johnson said the extraordinary rendition of the IPOB leader from Kenya to Nigeria violated both the country’s and international laws and warranted Kanu’s release.

He stated that Kanu’s release would hasten the process of restoring confidence in the Nigerian Judiciary.

The US lawmaker said, “On December 15, 2023, the Nigerian Supreme Court will decide whether or not to affirm the multiple unchallenged judgments orders from various legal jurisdictions which have called for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (MNK). The consensus of legal opinion, within and outside Nigeria, expects the Supreme Court to affirm this plethora of judgments and orders.

“The undisputed facts are as follows: MNK was extraordinarily renditioned by the Government of Nigeria (GON) from Kenya on June 27, 2021. Then, and now, he is the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a non-violent group, advocating for an internationally supervised referendum to resolve the Biafran issue within the Nigeria polity. Recently, on October 30, 2023, the High Court of Enugu State held that the classification of IPOB as a terrorist group by the GON and the Southeast Governor’s Forum contravenes Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution. It follows that the present and any future treatment of IPOB, its leadership, and members as a terrorist group is illegal and per se, discriminatory. Therefore, there is now no valid legal basis for the continued solitary confinement of MNK.

“Many other Nigerian Courts which had previously opined on the matter, including the High Court in Umuhia, Abia State; the Court of Appeals in Abuja, had also reached similar conclusions and have ordered for the immediate and unconditional release of MNK. There is no pending legal matter against MNK.

“On July 20, 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Council issued an opinion which found that MNK’s solitary confinement was in violation of International Human Rights Conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory and called for his immediate and unconditional release.

“That MNK was Extraordinarily Renditioned is not in dispute, and that Extraordinary Rendition is illegal under Nigerian and International Law is also not in dispute.

“I, therefore, call on the Nigerian Supreme Court to uphold or affirm the considered judgments of its subordinate courts and of the many International Tribunals by ordering the immediate and unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. This anticipated ruling will hasten the process of restoring confidence in the Nigerian Judiciary, of which the Supreme Court is its apex court.”

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