We Can’t Get You Out Of Prison, British Government Dashes Nnamdi Kanu’s Hope

The hope of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), regaining freedom through British intervention has been dashed.

Kanu, a holder of Nigerian and British passports, is currently being held at the Department of State Services (DSS) custody in Abuja.


He was arrested in Kenya on Saturday and extradited to Nigeria the next day.

Kanu, who was standing treason trial, was granted bail on health grounds in 2017 but he violated all the bail conditions before fleeing the country.

From his base abroad, Kanu incited his followers against the Nigerian authorities.

When he was taken to court on Tuesday, Justice Binta Nyako ordered that he should be remanded in DSS custody until July 26.

His family had appealed asked UK authorities to secure his release so that he can reunite with his family.

“The British High Commission in Nigeria must insist upon my brother’s immediate release. They must guarantee his safety and security. Nnamdi Kanu must be returned home to the UK to his wife and his sons who live here. The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, must make clear to the Nigerian authorities that they will not tolerate the unlawful detention of British citizens and that the UK Government condemns the Nigerians and Kenyans for undermining the rule of law,” Kingsley Kanu, the IPOB leader’s sibling, had said in a statement.

But the British Government has only offered its readiness to provide “consular assistance” for leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested on Sunday by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Head of Communications, British High Commission in Abuja, Dean Hurlock, made this known on Wednesday.

“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 “expect any trial or legal proceedings to follow due process”.

When our correspondent sought clarification on what constitutes “consular assistance”, the British official referred him to the UK manual on ‘Support for British nationals abroad: A guide’.

In a manual on ‘Support for British nationals abroad: A guide’, published on the website of the UK government, the British authorities made it clear that it has a limited role to paly regarding the detention of its citizens in prison.

The 19th page of the document read, “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.

“Consular staff will keep in regular contact with you, either by visiting personally or by telephone/ letter. The frequency of visits will depend on local prison conditions and your personal circumstances.

“If you are a dual British national in the country of your other nationality, 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.”

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