In 2016, the Attorney-General & Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, wrote a foreword to a work sponsored by the UN and European Union entitled “Cases and Materials on Extradition in Nigeria”. In closing his foreword, Malami commended the authors and thanked the UN and the EU for providing technical support for the well-researched work.
The work defines ‘extradition’ as a process whereby a person accused or convicted of a crime is officially transferred to the State where s/he is either wanted for trial or, having already been convicted by a court of law, is required to serve his sentence. The work relied upon the case of Udeozor vs FRN which defined ‘extradition’ as the process, upon request, of returning somebody accused of a crime by a different legal authority to the requesting authority for trial or punishment.
POOR EXCUSE FOR A GOVERNMENT ADVISER:
Malami, the Government’s legal adviser, ought to have learned from the above-referred work whose foreword he was invited to write that extradition requested by one State was the only lawful way to bring a fugitive to face justice in a requesting State. It involves diplomatic, administrative and judicial steps and guarantees fair treatment of the fugitive in that he will be accorded the right to be heard in his extradition. An extradition proceeding will be nullified if done in a manner inconsistent with or contrary to law.
The word ‘extradition’ is easily confusable with ‘rendition’. The latter is a larger word, which embraces the entire process, including extradition, of transferring a person wanted for, accused or convicted of a criminal offence from a State where he is found to a State from which he is alleged to have fled arrest, trial or punishment.
The use of illegal or irregular process of forcible abduction of the person in the territory of another State and removing him from the territory and rendering him to the State where he is wanted to face justice is known as ‘extraordinary rendition’ or illegal and irregular rendition.
Simply put, extraordinary rendition is a government-sponsored arrest, torture, kidnap and abduction of a person wanted, accused or convicted of a criminal offence either to the State who sponsored the arrest, torture, kidnap or abduction or to a receiving third party State. Extraordinary rendition denies the person of the right to challenge his arrest and transfer or rendition to a different jurisdiction against his will. Where extradition does not follow the due process of law, it is called ‘extraordinary rendition’ and amounts to a gross violation of international law and gross disrespect for a norm high in the opinion of mankind.
VIOLATION OF NNAMDI KANU’S RIGHTS:
It is a trite principle of customary international law for the Nigerian Government to send its agents into the territory of Kenya or conspire and connive with the security agents in Kenya to forcibly abduct and bodily remove from Kenya Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on the ground that he was facing alleged criminal offences in Nigeria. It is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity of Kenya. It destroys the extradition system as established by a comprehensive network of treaties involving virtually all nations and violates the human rights of Nnamdi Kanu, even if carried out with the consent and connivance of the Kenyan Government.
Nnamdi Kanu was not ‘extradited’ to Nigeria by the Kenyan Government in accordance with any law governing the process and procedures for extraditing citizens of the two countries. In fact, the Kenyan High Commission in Nigeria has disavowed any knowledge of Nnamdi Kanu’s extraordinary rendition to Nigeria.
The facts show that it was a clear case of terrorism within Kenya, without any pretence of authority under any treaty. No extradition treaty was called in aid or relied upon in the forcible abduction and illegal rendition. A treaty was not made the pretext of Kanu’s arrest, torture and removal from Kenya. There was a contravention of the provisions of section 19 of the 1999 Constitution whereby Nigeria pledged itself to respect international law and its treaty obligations.
Besides other remedies, the first duty of the Nigeria Government is to hand Nnamdi Kanu back to Kenya in whose territory he was forcibly kidnapped and smuggled blindfolded to Nigeria.
‘A LEOPARD CANNOT CHANGE ITS SPOTS’:
This government-sponsored act of forcible seizure of the person of Nnamdi Kanu in a foreign jurisdiction is monstrous and crude and amounts to nothing short of a terrorist act. It evokes the sad, shameful memories of the attempted illegal rendition of Umaru Dikko to Nigeria in 1984 by the then Military Government led by the same Buhari.
Buhari’s security forces at the time working with three hired Israeli collaborators had travelled to the UK and abducted Alhaji Dikko almost in the same manner as Nnamdi Kanu. They crated Alhaji Dikko and disguised the crate to look like ordinary diplomatic baggage which was usually exempt from airport security checks and attempted to smuggle him to Nigeria. The attempt was foiled by the sharp-eyed British security operatives. This led to the jailing of the abductors, with a consequential rupture in Nigeria-Britain diplomatic relations.
It is the same Buhari-led Government that has carried out the terrorist-style kidnap of Nnamdi Kanu. Nnamdi Kanu is a British citizen. Buhari had before attempted to undermine the British territorial integrity in the case of Alhaji Umaru Dikko in the 1980’s and that of the British Commonwealth nation of Kenya and violated the human rights of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
TYRANNY FEEDS ON THE SILENCE OF THE PEOPLE: It is surprising that the South-Eastern political leaders and, even more surprising that the British Government and the World are failing to call a shovel a shovel; and a spade, a spade. ‘All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.’ Written this 26th day of October 2021 by Robert Uma, Esq.