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By Paul Ihechi Alagba

For Family Writers

More than a dozen Members of the European Union Parliament has written a joint letter to the Office of the European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, condemning the continuous illegal detention of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB), and two other Biafran activists, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawusi, by the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.

 Family Writers had earlier reported a diplomatic meeting between IPOB leadership caucus and Ms Julie Ward, a member of the European Union Parliament representing North West of England, in November, pertaining to Nnamdi Kanu's incarceration and the inhuman treatment being meted out on Biafrans in Nigeria. The Parliamentarian however promised that she "will not stop fighting" to ensure that justice prevails for Nnamdi Kanu and Biafrans in general.

READ IT HERE :- IPOB diplomatic mission records huge success, as EU Parliamentarian confirms meeting with IPOB leadership caucus

  Meanwhile, Julie Ward MEP has been touted as the brain behind the recent protest letter to the European Union High Commission, and which has placed the Nigeria seat of power in a state of unbelievable shock.

  The letter which is addressed to Ms. Federica Mogherini, the incumbent European Union High Representative for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Vice President of the European Union Commission, also decried the excessive clamp on "peaceful” Biafra activists by Nigeria's security agencies, which has resulted to the extrajudicial killings of hundreds of activists, while thousands have been subjected to various degrees of incarceration and inhuman treatments.
  The EU parliamentarians stated in the letter that, "it is clear that the fundamental human rights of Kanu, Madubugwu and Nwawusi are grossly violated."
The letter pointed out that, "on several occasions, security forces have used excessive force against pro-Biafran activists who have planned or attended peaceful protest marches."
  Going further, it noted that, "it is clear that the Nigerian authorities are not operating with respect to the Nigerian constitution or the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights."

  Conclusively, the letter in a five key demands, called for an urgent action from the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, urging it to, "advocate for the immediate and safe release of Nnamdi Kanu and co-defendants Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi," and also  condemn in full terms, the tyrannical tendencies of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Department of State Services, DSS, as regards to the continuous incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu and co-defendants, despite court orders that had granted them unconditional release.

  It also urged the EU High Commission to call for an uninfluenced investigations on the killings of hundreds of Biafra activists, and mount pressure on the Nigerian government to stop with immediate effect, the continuous clamp down on Biafrans, in accordance with international treaties on human rights, to which the government of Nigeria is signatory to.

A FULL VERSION OF THE LETTER READS BELOW:


JOINT LETTER FROM MEPS TO HR/VP MOGHERINI


 Ms Federica Mogherini

High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

European External Action Service

1046 Brussels

Belgium



19th December 2016



Dear Ms Mogherini,

We write in regards to the unlawful detention of Nwannekaenyi "Nnamdi" Kenny Okwu Kanu, a dual British-Nigerian citizen and Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the continued violence towards IPOB supporters as perpetrated by the Nigerian Government.

Since 14th October 2015, Kanu has been illegally imprisoned by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, despite being acquitted of all charges brought against him.

The authorities accused Kanu and his two co-defendants, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, of trying to overthrow the Nigerian head of state by broadcasting secessionist propaganda on the underground media outlet Radio Biafra, which campaigns for the independence of Biafra from Nigeria.  Kanu, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi deny all charges brought against them.

On 19th October in Abuja, the Chief Magistrate, Honourable Shuaibu, discharged Kanu of all criminal charges including the allegation of managing and belonging to an unlawful society, criminal intimidation and of criminal conspiracy. Shuaibu granted Kanu bail, of which all the conditions were met, but the Department of State Services refused to release him.

The charges of criminal conspiracy, engaging in unlawful society and criminal intimidation were then withdrawn on 16th December 2015, but still Kanu, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi have not been released.

On 17th December 2015, Justice Adeniyi Ademola ordered the unconditional release of Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Security Services, but this was not enacted.

Kanu’s counsel have since appealed to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help ensure his safe release, but to no avail.  A court case on 5th October 2016 was later adjourned to 8th November, which has now been amended to 9th February 2017, due to the Nigeria Department of State Services failure to bring Kanu to court. The Federal Government of Nigeria had previously warned the ECOWAS community court sitting in Abuja not to intervene in Kanu’s continued detention and trial.

It is clear that the fundamental human rights of Kanu, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi are being grossly violated. Human Rights Watch have reported of the violation of the defendants’ rights, including their right to a fair trial[1].

What is more, the Nigerian Government is also reportedly violating the human rights of Biafran activists. Scores of Biafrans are in detention for attempting to hold or participate in peaceful assemblies. On several occasions, security forces have used excessive force against pro-Biafran activists who have planned or attended peaceful protest marches[2]. Amnesty International has documented cases of arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and often killing of supporters and members of various pro-Biafran groups in the region[3]. Since August 2015, they estimate at least 150 Biafrans have been killed by Nigerian security forces. However, as no official investigations have been carried out, this figure is believed to be much higher[4].




The right to peaceful assembly and association, as well as the right of freedom of expression, is protected by the Nigerian constitution. International human rights standards also require that law enforcement officials must, as far as possible, apply nonviolent means. It is clear that the Nigerian authorities are not operating with respect to the Nigerian constitution or the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

On behalf of the European Union, especially in respect to the EU-Nigeria partnership, the Nigeria EU Joint Way Forward, the developments of the 6th Nigeria-EU ministerial dialogue and the fact that Nigeria is a recipient of EU aid, we call upon you to:



Advocate for the immediate and safe release of Nnamdi Kanu and co-defendants Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.

Challenge the actions of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Nigerian Department of State Services in regards to the detention of Kanu, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi.
Call for an impartial investigation into the arrest, enforced disappearance, torture and killing of supporters and members of various pro-Biafran groups.

Denounce the unacceptable violence against Biafran supporters by Nigerian security forces.
Do more to push the Nigerian government to safeguard human rights in Nigeria by calling for guarantees on the freedom of expression of all Nigerian citizens, including their right to protest without harm, and the termination of violence towards Biafrans.


We look forward to your positive response.



Yours sincerely,



Julie Ward MEP

Ana Gomes MEP

Bart Staes MEP

Beatriz Becerra MEP

Brando Benifei MEP

Catherine Stihler MEP

Ernest Urtasun MEP

Eva Joly MEP

Hilde Vautmans MEP

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP

Kati Piri MEP

Miapetra Kumpula-Natri MEP

Michèle Rivasi MEP

Nessa Childers MEP

Pascal Durand MEP

Philippe Lamberts MEP


[1] Human Rights Watch, ‘Nigeria Should Respect Protesters’ Rights’, 12 October 2016, https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/12/nigeria-should-respect-protesters-rights 


[2] Amnesty International, ‘Nigeria: Killing of unarmed pro-Biafra supporters by military must be urgently investigated’, 10 June 2016, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/06/nigeria-killing-of-unarmed-pro-biafra-supporters-by-military-must-be-urgently-investigated/


[3] Amnesty International, ‘Nigeria: Crackdown on journalists and assault on protests shrinking civic space’, 28 September 2016, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/09/nigeria-crackdown-and-shrinking-civic-space/


[4] Amnesty International, ‘Nigeria: At least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra activists killed in chilling crackdown’, 24 November 2016, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/peaceful-pro-biafra-activists-killed-in-chilling-crackdown/

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