INDIGENOUS People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu was regularly smeared with his own faeces and urine during his eight day incarceration in Kenya according to the details of a N5bn ($12.12m) lawsuit he has filed against the Kenyan government.
Highly controversial, Mr Kanu has been campaigning for the recreation of the independent republic of Biafra which broke away from Nigeria between July 1967 and January 1970 during the civil war. His campaign, which has led to the phenomenal growth of Ipob, has set him at odds with the Nigerian government who him arrested and put on trial for treason.
While the case was still pending, Mr Kanu was granted bail in April 2017 on health grounds but skipped his bail after flouting the conditions given to him by the court and fled Nigeria. In November 2020, a federal high court in Abuja ruled that his trial could resume and five prosecution witnesses were called to testify against Mr Kanu.
In a dramatic development, however, in June this year, Mr Kanu was abducted in Kenya and deported to Nigeria in a highly efficient military operation. Speaking about his ordeal, Mr Kanu said he was arrested by mercenaries, who detained him for eight days in Kenya, subjecting him to torture before deporting him illegally to Nigeria.
Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, filed a suit against the Kenyan government on September 7 in Umuahia, seeking N5bn in damages for the torture his client went through while in custody in the East African country. According to Mr Ejimakor, Mr Kanu was also beaten until he fainted and was revived with cold water.
“That on or about 10 September, while the applicant was resting at home with some family members and friends, the Ohafia-based Nigerian Army, police and Department of State Security launched military invasion and assaults at the applicant’s residential building and premises. That in the course of the military action, 28 people were killed and several others, including the applicant, were wounded.
“Both of the applicant’s parents sustained grave injuries from the military invasion and both of them eventually succumbed to those injuries and are now late. That was it was the said invasion that nearly took the life of the applicant that caused him to seek refuge abroad which ultimately to Kenya, where the respondents lawfully pursued him, abducted him, disappeared him and ultimately brought him to Nigeria and detained him.
“Had the president implemented provisional measures, the applicant would have felt safe enough to voluntarily end his exile and return to Nigeria to face prosecution in the said charge under reference therein. That in the course of his exile, the applicant on or about May 5, 2021, entered the Republic of Kenya on his British passport and was admitted as such as Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi and after his admission, the applicant settled in at a temporary location in Nairobi, Kenya.
“On June 19, 2021, the applicant drove himself and without any companion to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, to drop off a friend at the airport. That as soon as the applicant pulled to stop at the parking lot and alighted from his vehicle, about 20 of the respondent’s agents violently accosted and abducted the applicant, handcuffed and blindfolded him, bundled him in a vehicle and sped away, while telling onlookers that the applicant is a terrorist separatist.
“That the applicant’s abductors took him to a nondescript private house, not a police station, somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya and chained him to the floor. While chained to the floor, the applicant’s abductors took turns to beat him torturing him to a point that he fainted several times and was intermittently revived when they poured cold water on him.
“To prevent the applicant’s anguished screaming from being heard in the vicinity, the applicant’s abductors tied a cloth over his mouth and so close to covering his nostrils that the applicant struggled to breathe. The applicant remained chained to the floor for eight days and was thus forced to relieve himself of urine and excrement where he was chained with same being smeared all over his body.
“Throughout the duration of the applicant’s captivity, he was not allowed to bathe and was fed only on bland bread once a day and given non-sanitary water to drink,” the lawsuit read.