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US lawmaker asks Nigerian Supreme Court to release Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally

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A lawmaker of the United States, Representative Jarvis Johnson,
State Representative for District 139 in the State of Texas, has called on the Nigerian Supreme Court to order the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Representative Johnson, in an undated letter addressed to judges of the Nigerian apex court, noted that 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).

He said that the consensus of legal opinion, within and outside Nigeria, expects the Supreme Court to affirm this plethora of judgments and orders and let MNK go.

State of Texas Representatives, Jarvis Johnson
State of Texas Representatives, Jarvis Johnson

The undisputed facts, he emphasized, are as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Representative Johnson, therefore, called 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,” he added.

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