The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the former director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has urged the British government to ask President Buhari to release him from prison.

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu

Mr. Kanu, a citizen of both the United Kingdom and Nigeria, is facing treason charges, along with fellow Biafrans Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.

In a letter addressed to the British High Commissioner in Abuja, Mr. Kanu and his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, argue that President Buhari has violated his human rights by detaining him in prison custody. Mr. Kanu stated that he is prepared to face the charge against him, but he is uncertain that his trial would be fair.

Mr. Kanu was arrested and detained from October 14, 2015 through January 20, 2016 without any lawful order from a court. He was then denied bail on January 29, 2016 by Justice John Tsoho and was subsequently returned to detention.

In December 2015, President Buhari had announced that Mr. Kanu could not be granted bail, arguing that he had entered the country without a valid travelling passport.

According to Mr. Ejiofor, the court’s ruling on his client’s bail was influenced by President Buhari’s announcement.

“Though very regrettable and extremely unfortunate, Nnamdi Kanu was refused bail on January 29, 2016. In refusing him and other defendants bail, the court also cited the facts of his possession of dual passports as a flight risk, and as such held that he cannot be granted bail.”

Contrary to the court’s ruling, dual citizenship is a right guaranteed to all Nigerian citizens under section 28 of the 1999 Constitution.

Mr. Ejiofor appealed to the British government to intervene on Mr. Kanu’s behalf, emphasizing that his client’s British citizenship entitles him to protection under British laws.

“It is repeating the obvious to state that our client is a full British citizen, by virtue of which he is entitled to all rights, privileges and protection guaranteed under the British laws and conventions,” he explained.

“We are therefore constrained in the circumstance to formally notify the British government…that our client is undergoing persecution in the charge above referred, and deliberate design by the persecutors to frustrate every effort of the defense team aimed at giving our client a fair trial.”

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