Officers of the Department of State Services on Wednesday blocked a British diplomat from speaking with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Eno Agodo, British Vice Consul, Lagos State, had attended Kanu’s trial before Justice Binta Nyako at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday where the pro-Biafran agitator appeared on a 15-count amended charge bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.
According to report, at the close of proceedings in the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, Agodo first sought the permission of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s lead counsel to speak with his client, which was granted.
But as the British envoy gained access to the dock where Kanu, who holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, was speaking with family members, she was intercepted by the Director of Legal Services of the secret police and operatives who had formed a wall around the IPOB leader.
Thereafter, Premium Times sought to speak with Agodo on what transpired, but she declined.
A political counsellor at the British High Commission, Jonathan, Bacon had written a letter dated January 11, 2022 and addressed to the trial judge, Nyako, where he sought permission for Agodo to attend Kanu’s trial from January 18 to 20, 2022.
In the letter entitled, “Nnamdi Kanu Trial-Access for British Consular Official to Attend Federal High Court, 18th to 20th January, 2022”, the British High Commission, specifically requested that Agodo attended the IPOB leader’s trial as an “observer.”
We had reported early this month how Kanu, through his lawyer, Ejiofor petitioned British government, the United States and the United Nations to grace his appearance in court.
Kanu after he fled Nigeria in 2017 lived in the United Kingdom, following invasion of his home in by Nigerian soldiers in 2017.
This stalled his trial in Nigeria for years until he was rearrested, reportedly in Kenya, and brought back to Nigeria, in June last year.
While abroad, Kanu continued reaching out to his Nigerian followers through social media channels as violence linked to the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of IPOB, escalated in the South-east.
During the period, the UK government also resisted calls from the Nigerian government to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation as it was done in Nigeria in 2017.
Blocking the American lawyer from having access to Kanu on Wednesday highlights what appears to be government’s desperation to cut him off from having any contact with foreigners or their agents.
A similar scenario played out during Kanu’s trial on Tuesday, when Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who led the IPOB leader’s defence team, made frantic but unsuccessful efforts to get Bruce Fein, a United States lawyer, to attend the court session.
Fein, a counsel to the secessionist group in the U.S, has not been able to have an audience with Kanu, as he claimed several attempts to visit the IPOB leader at the SSS detention facility in Abuja had been resisted.
“I have not been able to meet with my client, Mr Kanu since I arrived Nigeria,” Fein said in an interview last December.
“Officials of the State Security Service wouldn’t let me meet Kanu,” Fein added, saying, the action of the spy agency is a “gross violation” of Kanu’s fundamental rights.
The American constitutional counsel had received similar treatment during previous proceedings in the case.
While it could not be ascertained if Agodo’s presence in court was in response to Kanu’s request, the American embassy had no representative at the proceedings last Tuesday and Wednesday.
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