Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
British Senior Court of Appeal Judge, Lord Justice Lewis, has granted permission to the family of the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to appeal an unfavourable court judgment against the British Government.
Kanu’s family had earlier sued the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO for abandoning Kanu, a British citizen who was “abducted and illegally renditioned from Kenya and detained illegally in a solitary confinement since 2021.”
But a British High Court in an unconventional ruling on 23 March 2023, dismissed the Kanu family’s claim for judicial review of the failure of the British Government to reach a firm view on Kanu’s rendition.
The High Court judgment found that FCDO could lawfully evade reaching any conclusion on whether he had been tortured, subjected to extraordinary rendition and arbitrarily detained.
Kanu’s legal team, had expressed disappointment over the judgment which according to the team, has major implications for all British Citizens mistreated abroad who may look to the UK for help.
Despite efforts by Kanu’s family to draw the attention of the British Government to Kanu’s ordeals since his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria, the UK Government has not shown any interest nor taken any meaningful action to end his predicaments.
Instead, the Foreign Secretary has failed to reach any firm view on whether or not Kanu was subject to extraordinary rendition.
He claims that only a ‘provisional’ view is possible, despite the mass of evidence and the views of the UN and the Nigerian Court of Appeal.
Kanu’s legal team described the High Court ruling as “extremely difficult to reconcile with long-standing legal precedent and the principle underpinning it that British citizens can expect protection from their national government.”
Meanwhile, Kanu’s family has expressed delight over the permission of the court to appeal the controversial High Court judgment.
Kingsley Kanu who spoke for the family said: “M family is delighted that the Court of Appeal has unhesitatingly recognised the importance and urgency of Nnamdi’s case and has hope in our hearts that will be reflected at the hearing and its judgment in due course.”
Hearing of the appeal has been slated for Thursday, 22 June 2023.