The Department of State Services has stopped detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, from signing a consular assistance form by the United Kingdom.
This is according to one of the legal counsels for the embattled IPOB leader, Aloy Ejimakor.
Recall that Kanu, who jumped bail in 2017, was rearrested and extradited to Nigeria, where he was arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja for terrorism-related charges.
He has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services pending a trial slated for July 26 and 27.
Ejimakor in a statement on Monday said that Kanu, who is also a citizen of the United Kingdom, was stopped from signing a letter to assist the British consulate to clarify information pertaining to his arrest.
It had been earlier reported that the Head of Communications, British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock, had told reporters that the British High Commission in Abuja was 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,” he had said.
Subsequently, Ejimakor delivered two forms to the IPOB leader last Wednesday during a visit to the office of the secret police.
However, the lawyer said the forms were returned to him unsigned.
His statement read, “Last Saturday when I visited Mazi Kanu, I expressed strong concerns about the inordinate delay in having Kanu sign the two Forms I had taken to the DSS for Kanu’s signature some days before.
“Both Forms relate to affirming his consent to consular and diplomatic interventions by the United Kingdom and her High Commission in Nigeria. Surprisingly, the forms were returned to me unsigned.
“Let me make it clear that the day I took the forms to the DSS, the officers on location were amenable to Kanu signing them until somewhere along the line, they tarried and decided to send it to the legal unit for vetting.
“So, my sense is that it’s the legal unit of the DSS that disapproved of Kanu signing the forms for reasons that were not given to me.
“As a lawyer, I don’t see any legal advantage the government of Nigeria stands to gain by blocking Kanu from signing those forms. The forms are but a mere routine in matters like this.
“Instead of any advantage, the refusal will help fuel the notion that the government of Nigeria is deliberately isolating Kanu from having consular and diplomatic access to the United Kingdom.
“It does not comport with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence. This is one of the things that will count in our reckoning as this matter continues to fold.
“For these reasons, I am now compelled to call on the British High Commission in Nigeria to banish every red tape and exert the full weight of its diplomatic clout in gaining immediate access to Kanu. This is especially important, given the prospects of better welfare, including adequate medical care for Mazi Kanu.
“Further, the prompt intervention of the high commission will mean that Kanu will have another layer of human contact in addition to his legal team who are the only ones currently allowed to see him.”