Lawyer Aloy Ejimakor, who represents the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has advised the federal government to avoid a diplomatic conflict with the United Nations and release Kanu from detention.
Ejimakor pointed out that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention “is a quasi-judicial body that has an existing legal mandate from the United Nations to consider and rule on human rights petitions against member states of the UN.”
“Its rulings or decisions (diplomatically referred to as opinions), such as the recent one in favor of Kanu, are legally binding on Nigeria for myriad reasons, including the fact that the decision is based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, both of which Nigeria ratified several decades ago,” he warned.
According to him, ratification is a means by which a nation submits to international laws and treaties. And according to the provisions of Section 12 of the Nigerian Constitution and a host of decisions of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, by ratification, Nigeria submits to the provisions it ratifies.
“It must be made clear that the UN Working Group is an integral part of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which has the broader UN mandate to decide on human rights issues emanating from member states of the UN.
“It therefore goes without saying that Nigeria, as a member of the United Nations, is subject to the decisions of these UN bodies,” he said.
The UN body recently considered Kanu’s matter and found that “Kanu’s removal from Kenya amounts to an extraordinary rendition.”
The panel also found that “Kanu’s arrest and transfer to Nigeria lacked a legal basis and due process, in violation of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 9 of the Covenant.”
In its conclusions, the U.N. panel stated that “the appropriate remedy would be for the Nigerian government to release Mr. Kanu immediately and grant him an enforceable right to compensation in accordance with international law.”
Barr Ejimakor advised, “Nigeria has an obligation to implement this decision in letter and spirit. And it is expected to do so without delay and submit a formal report on implementation to the United Nations within six months.
“Failure to implement this decision would mean Nigeria defying the United Nations and potentially triggering an unpleasant diplomatic conflict that could turn the country into a pariah state.