The British Government says it is seeking an explanation from the Nigerian government on the current situation of the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, who is the leader of a banned group seeking a breakaway state in south-eastern Nigeria.
As speculations and controversies fumed over how Kanu was arrested and handed over to the country on Sunday.
Earlier, the British High Commission had ousted rumors that he was arrested in the United Kingdom (UK), where he was based before his arrest in 2015.
Dean Hurlock, a spokesperson of the British High Commission had said: “We are aware of reports that Nnamdi Kanu has been detained in Nigeria by the Federal Government. We can confirm that Kanu was not arrested in the UK for extradition purposes.”
Mr. Kanu, age 53, was born on September 25, 1967, and holds British and Nigerian citizenship.
Upon his arrest and extradition from a foreign country, he was arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday for terrorism-related charges and has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Hurlock continued: “The British High Commission in Abuja is currently in the process of seeking clarification from the Nigerian government about the circumstances of the arrest.
With regard to any questions about whether the British High Commission are providing assistance in this case, we can confirm that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stands ready to provide consular assistance,” the British official said, adding that the British Government “expects any trial or legal proceedings to follow due process.”
When prodded on the “consular assistance”, the British official made reference to the UK manual on ‘Support for British nationals abroad: A guide’.
The document reads in part: “We can offer you information about the local prison or remand system, including visiting arrangements, mail and censorship, privileges, work possibilities, and social and welfare services. We can also explain where there are different regulations for remand prisoners and sentenced prisoners. For example, in some countries, prisoners are allowed to send more mail when they are on remand.
“We cannot get you out of prison or detention, nor can we get special treatment for you because you are British. If however you are not treated in line with internationally accepted standards, we will consider approaching local authorities. This may include if your trial does not follow internationally recognised standards for a fair trial or is unreasonably delayed compared to local cases. With your permission, we can consider taking up a complaint about ill treatment, personal safety, or discrimination with the police or prison authorities.
“If you are a dual British national in the country of your other nationality (for example, a dual Nigerian-British national in Nigeria), we would not normally offer you support or get involved in dealings between you and the authorities of that state. We may make an exception to this rule if, having looked at the circumstances of the case, we consider that you are vulnerable and we have humanitarian concerns. We would not normally attend a court case involving a British national, and we cannot influence the outcome of any trial,” it added.
Mr. Kanu is currently in the custody of Nigeria’s secret police after a Federal High Court ordered his detention on Tuesday.
His trial is expected to resume on 26 July 2021.