Mr. Aloysius Ejimakor, counsel to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Pidgin that the question of a fair trial for Kanu does not arise at this material moment as it is impossible to try his client in Nigeria based on the fact that he was abducted illegally in Kenya and flown to Nigeria, an action he argues goes against all known international law and protocols of arresting a fugitive from the law.
Consequently, Ejimakor advised individuals and groups angling to monitor Kanu’s trial for fairness reason to perish the thought, insisting that the so-called trial will not have any basis in law for the reason of the illegal “extraordinary rendition” of the accused from Kenya.
Ejimakor said: “It is very commendable that Kanu has attracted such avalanche of support across the spectrum. However, there won’t be any trial to monitor. Nnamdi Kanu cannot be tried on the basis of this extraordinary rendition that brought him to Nigeria.
“If you truly support Kanu, you don’t need to monitor his trial or ensure he gets a fair trial. What you need to do is to oppose his trial. Saying that you will monitor his trial gives the impression of bestowing legality to the illegality that brought him to Nigeria.”
Ejimakor continued: “You need to juxtapose it to what happened to Alhaji Umaru Dikko in 1984, and its aftermaths. Dikko’s kidnapping was, like this one of Kanu, a brazen act of attempted rendition, which is a state crime under international law and it comes with dire consequences – legal, diplomatic, and political.
“Although the kidnapping of Dikko failed, it brought the following consequences: Britain swiftly arrested 17 people, four were convicted and they served between six to eight years in prison. Britain expelled the Nigerian High Commissioner and broke diplomatic relations with Nigeria for two years. And most tellingly, Nigeria’s subsequent requests to Britain to extradite Dikko and others were summarily denied.
“All these were done even as Dikko was not a citizen of Britain but a mere resident. Conversely, Kanu is a bonafide citizen of Britain, traveling on a British passport when he was unlawfully renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya. That should counter for more countervailing measures.”
“A nation does not go to jail. So, when I stated that Nigeria will answer for the rendition, it means a mix of consequences, some of which are already unfolding. The easiest one to see is that Nigeria has, by her own hands, lost its jurisdiction to subject Kanu to trial. In sporting terms, you can say that Nigeria scored its own goal.
“How that own goal was scored and its fallouts is a complex legal subject that will certainly be ventilated in court and within the diplomatic circles to which Nigeria is subject. But one thing that is clear is this: No valid prosecutorial or judicial action can proceed from such a manifestly criminal conduct by a State.
“So, when you say you will be monitoring Kanu’s trial or that you want a fair trial for him, you are unwittingly buying into a grievous crime that should shock your conscience. Put another way, you will be making yourself complicit in what was done to Kanu or as lawyers would say: you are making yourself an accessory after the fact.
“Conversely, it would be a great thing to say that you will monitor the trial if Kanu’s presence in Nigeria was compliant with due process. That due is nothing but what is generally known as extradition.
“Extradition is the only valid means of surrendering an international fugitive from one country to the other. That’s why Nigeria was punished for daring to kidnap Dikko. There’s no reason to think that Kanu’s case will be different.
“Nigeria has an extradition statute, which is known as the Extradition Act. Kenya has a similar law but with a slightly different name and Britain has its own.
“All three are, in substance, very similar and strict to boot. What I can tell you, for now, assuming you don’t know it already, is that Kanu’s rendition will live in infamy because it violated the extradition law of Kenya, the country of abduction, Britain, the country of domicile and citizenship, and even Nigeria, the country of destination.
“If you add other municipal and international laws, conventions and protocols to which Nigeria is subject but chose to break just to bring Kanu to Nigeria, you begin to see why you must oppose his trial instead of monitoring it.”