Aloy Ejimakor, special counsel for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission over the alleged violation of his client’s rights.
The petition addressed to Anthony Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, called for an investigation into the torture the IPOB leader was subjected.
It called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
According to him, such a probe is imperative because Kanu’s alleged maltreatment by the DSS meets the definitions of human rights violations under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
The petition also said such treatment contradicts the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Anti-Torture Act 2017 among other international and regional instruments on human rights.
The petition urged the Commission to recommend to the Nigerian Government that it should take prompt measures to initiate the prosecution of all persons complicit in the torture of Kanu in line with the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act 2017 and other pertinent laws.
The petition reads in part: “We are Solicitors to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (hereafter: our Client), on whose behalf and Instruction we most respectfully bring this Complaint pursuant to Section 5 of the National Human Rights Commission Act.
“According to the information personally supplied to us by our Client, the background and details of the human rights violations are as follows:
“1, The violations complained of herein commenced at our Client’s residence in Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North LGA, Abia State, to wit: the military invasion of our Client’s said residence in September 2017 by Nigeria’s security agents, in which lives were lost and which compelled our Client to flee Nigeria to save his life and in search of refuge. Our Client subsequently brought a fundamental rights action on account of this military invasion and the Court determined the suit in his favor. See Attachment 1.
“These same human rights violations, plus more, compelled our Client to file a Communication (Complaint) with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights in December 2017. The Communication was filed against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, same being a State Party to the African Charter that constituted the Commission.
“In March 2018, said African Commission issued a Decision, stating (in part) that the Commission “finds that the Complaint reveals prima facie violation of the African Charter”.
“And having consequently seized itself of the Complaint, the Commission thus granted “the request for provisional measures calling on the Respondent State not to take any further actions so as to avoid irreparable damage to the Victim, IPOB and its members, pending the decision of the Commission on this Communication”.
“Pursuant to said Decision above, the Commission wrote to the President of Nigeria, requesting him “to intervene in the matter and ensure that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria adopts Provisional Measures: not to take any further actions so as to avoid irreparable damage to the Victim, IPOB and its members, pending the decision of the Commission on this Communication”.
“From the date of issuance of said Decision above till now, the President of Nigeria has failed or otherwise refused to implement the said Provisional Measures and has instead escalated the conducts the said Decision had sought to suspend or prevent.
“In the due course of our Client’s continuing involuntary exile and sojourns abroad and in search of a safe haven, our Client entered the Republic of Kenya and was legally admitted on May 12 2021. After his admission, our Client settled in at a temporary location in Nairobi, Kenya. As of this date, our Client was facing a 4-count Charge in Nigeria, namely: Treasonable felony, conspiracy, illegal importation and defamation.
“On June 19, 2021, our Client drove himself to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya on a personal errand. As soon as he pulled to a stop at the parking lot and alighted from his vehicle, about twenty well-armed persons violently accosted and abducted him, handcuffed him, blindfolded him, bundled him into a vehicle and sped away.
“His abductors took him to a secret private location (not a police station) somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya and chained him to the floor. The abductors did not tell him who they are but from their conversations, our Client surmised that they were working for the Government of Nigeria (GON) and its security agencies.
“While chained to the floor, his abductors took turns beating and torturing him to the point that he fainted several times and was intermittently revived when they poured cold water on him.
“During the tortures and beatings, his abductors taunted him, verbally degraded him and called him a “separatist Igbo Jew”. They also told him he will be “expelled to Nigeria to face death”. He was chained to the floor for eight (8) days and was thus forced to relieve himself of urine and excrement where he was chained.
“Throughout the duration of his secret captivity and torture, he was not allowed to bathe and was fed only on bland bread once a day and given non-sanitary water to drink; and except for the presence of his abductors, he was in solitary confinement the entire eight days.
“The inhuman treatment, cruelty and degradation to which the abductors subjected our Client and the external and internal injuries he sustained therefrom coupled with his pre-existing poor health made him to languish in dread, fear and terror that he was going to die in captivity and his body disappeared.
“His anguished entreaties to his abductors to get him some medication for his hypertension, heart condition and physical injuries were inhumanely refused and his pleas to be taken before a Court or even official police or other law enforcement facility or allowed a phone call were flatly refused.
“Throughout the 8-day duration of the captivity and torture of our Client, his torturers were in constant telephone conversations with, and taking directives and instructions from the Nigerian High Commissioner to Kenya and other Nigerian officials.
“On the eighth day, his abductors brought him out of the house, put him in a car, drove him straight to the tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where they evaded Kenyan immigration and forcibly bundled him into a private jet that departed the airport before noon on June 27, 2021, and arrived Abuja, Nigeria in the early evening of same day.
“Throughout the duration of the flight from Nairobi to Abuja, our Client’s wrists and ankles were manacled so tightly that he was in extreme physical and mental pain for the entire duration of the flight. He also had the muzzle of a gun pointed to, and roughly rubbed the nape of his neck throughout the duration of the flight.
“On arrival in Nigeria, our Client was taken to and detained at the headquarters of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency (NIA) in Abuja. He spent the first night at the NIA detention facility, sleeping on the floor with very bright electric bulbs deliberately left on throughout the night, thus causing him extreme bodily heat, sleep deprivation and mental anguish.
“Our Client states that, from 29th June 2021 to date, he has been subjected to solitary confinement, lasting for 23 hours each day at the Headquarters of the State Security Services in Abuja.
“Since his confinement, our Client has repeatedly requested independent medical examination by a physician of his own choice but the requests were denied. Section 7 of the Torture Act provides that ‘(1) A person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation shall have the right to be informed of his right to demand a physical and psychological examination by an independent and competent doctor of his own choice after interrogation, which shall be conducted outside the influence of the police or security forces.’”
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