The British government has expressed its willingness to provide “consular assistance” to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, who was arrested by the Nigerian government on Sunday.
Dean Hurlock, the British High Commission’s Head of Communications in Abuja, announced this on Wednesday afternoon.
Mazi Namdi Kanu, who was born on September 25, 1967, holds both Nigerian and British passports.
He was prosecuted before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday on terrorism-related charges after his arrest and extradition from Kenya, according to his brother. He has since been detained in the custody of the Department of State Services.
Nnamdi Kanu was not arrested or extradited from the United Kingdom, where he was residing after he skipped bail in Nigeria in 2017.
“The British High Commission in Abuja is currently seeking clarity from the Nigerian government on the circumstances of the arrest,” the statement said.
“With regard to any questions about whether the British High Commission is assisting in this case, we can confirm that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stands ready to provide consular assistance,” a British official said, adding that the British Government “expects any trial or legal proceedings to follow due process.”
When we asked the British official for clarity on “consular assistance,” he directed us to the UK guidebook “Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide.”
“We can provide you with information on the local jail or remand system, including visiting arrangements, mail and censorship, privileges, work opportunities, and social and welfare services,” according to the document. We can also explain the differences in restrictions between remand and sentenced convicts. In some nations, for example, inmates on remand are allowed to send more mail.
“We won’t be able to get you out of prison or detention, and we won’t be able to obtain you special treatment because you’re British. If, on the other hand, you are not treated in accordance with globally recognised standards, we will consider reporting you to the appropriate authorities. This could be the case if your trial does not follow globally recognized criteria for a fair trial or if it takes an unreasonable amount of time in comparison to other cases in the area. With your agreement, we may consider filing a complaint with the police or prison authorities over ill-treatment, personal safety, or discrimination.
“Consular employees will keep in touch with you on a regular basis, either in person or via phone/letter. The frequency of your visits will be determined by the conditions in your local prison and your personal circumstances.”
“If you are a dual British-Nigerian national in the country of your other nationality (for example, a dual Nigerian-British national in Nigeria), we will not typically provide you with assistance or intervene in your dealings with the authorities of that country. We may make an exception to this regulation if we believe you are vulnerable and have humanitarian concerns after reviewing the circumstances of your case.
It went on to say, “We would not ordinarily attend a court case involving a British national, and we cannot influence the outcome of any trial.”
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been at odds with the President’s regime, led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari, for years over his desire to secede the South-East geopolitical zone.
The Buhari administration outlawed IPOB in September 2017, declaring the group’s activities to be acts of terrorism and criminality.
In an earlier report this newspaper published about Kanu’s arrest which went viral moments after Sowore tweeted it, CLICK HERE