London lawyers to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), yesterday, accused Britain of failing to provide him with consular assistance.
Kanu was brought back to Nigeria in June after years on the run abroad and is being held pending a treason trial.
Bindmans, a London law firm, hired by the family, said it had sent a pre-action letter to British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, on behalf of Kanu’s family, challenging Britain’s failure to assist him.
A junior Foreign Office minister had, last week, said Britain stood ready to provide consular assistance to Kanu and had requested consular access from the Nigerian government.
However, Bindmans said no consular visit had taken place.
“Despite the family’s concern that he has been subjected to torture and is being denied essential medical treatment, the British High Commission failed to visit him in detention,” it said in a statement.
Kanu was supposed to appear in court in Abuja, on Monday, but the authorities failed to produce him, citing logistics issues. His trial was adjourned until October.
Nigeria has not revealed the circumstances of Kanu’s detention. His Nigerian lawyer has accused authorities in Kenya of detaining and mistreating him before handing him over to Nigeria; Kenya has denied involvement. Bindmans said Kanu might have been the subject of extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria, an unlawful practice.
The Foreign Office in London did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Kanu faces 11 charges, including treason, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms.