Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, has criticised the conditions under which Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, is being held at the Department of State Services’ detention facility.
Kanu’s lawyers, Aloy Ejimakor and Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said in a statement on Thursday that Kanu was being tortured in the DSS cell.
They said any detainee who encountered and greeted Kanu during the one hour “he is allowed outside his cell is promptly put in solitary confinement as a punishment for exchanging mere greetings with him.”
The IPOB counsel said, “Till date, the DSS has denied his (Kanu) repeated requests for an independent medical examination to determine the extent of damage done to his body by a suspected substance he may have been injected with during this abduction and extraordinary rendition.
“He has reason to believe that the said substance is depleting the potassium content of his body, thus causing him constipation, a feeling of skipped heart beats, palpitations, fatigue, muscle weakness/spasms and numbness.”
The acts of the DSS, and by extension, the Federal Government, were branded as distasteful by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who urged that such barbaric tactics should be stopped.
The spokesman for Ohanaeze, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, who spoke to our correspondent in Enugu, said, “We have to find a way to talk to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and other authorities concerned in this matter that it helps the image of Nigeria if we are in the news for good reasons.
“The issue of Nnamdi Kanu has gone beyond the shores of this country; whatever happened to him will attract the international attention. So how we are viewed by the comity of nations is very important, it goes beyond Nnamdi Kanu, it affects everything to which Nigeria stands for.
“Therefore, Ohanaeze advises that Nnamdi Kanu should be handled with care and whatever is happening should fit into the global best practices; trial of Nnamdi Kanu, condition he stays should be made open.
“People should have access to him as is supposed to be within the rule that is obtained by the people that are in detention of that kind. But to subject him to suffering like his lawyers are talking about is objectionable.”
Ohanaeze insisted that Kanu’s interests will be protected, just as they would be for any other Igbo in the globe.
“What his lawyers said, I will take it to the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. But my advice now is that Nigeria should not attract opprobrium onto itself.”
Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the DSS, Peter Afunnaya, in a text message sent to one of our correspondents, said, “The DSS is not likely to make any public statement on a matter that is sub judice. Besides, any aggrieved party(ies) can seek redress as maybe appropriate in law.”