The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has been stopped by the Department of State Services from signing a consular assistance form by the United Kingdom.
The development was revealed by one of the counsels for the IPOB leader, Aloy Ejimakor, in a statement released on Monday after visiting Kanu in DSS custody today.
The IPOB leader holds both Nigerian and British citizenship.
Kanu, who was rearrested recently from overseas, is facing terrorism-related charges.
The IPOB leader had jumped bail before fleeing to the United Kingdom.
Kanu was, however, rearrested and brought back to Nigeria.
He has since been detained in the custody of the Department of State Services.
The counsel to the IPOB leader in a statement released on Monday said the forms were returned to him unsigned.
Ejimakor’s statement was titled, ‘Summary of my visitation with our Client, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on Monday 19th July’.
It read, “Last Saturday, when I visited Mazi Kanu, I expressed strong concerns about the inordinate delay in having Kanu sign the two Forms I had taken to the DSS for Kanu’s signature some days before.
“Both Forms relate to affirming his consent to consular and diplomatic interventions by the United Kingdom and her High Commission in Nigeria.
“Surprisingly, the Forms were returned to me unsigned.
“Let me make it clear that the day I took the Forms to the DSS, the officers on location were amenable to Kanu signing them until somewhere along the line, they tarried and decided to send it to the legal unit for vetting.
“So, my sense is that it’s the legal unit of the DSS that disapproved of Kanu signing the Forms for reasons that were not given to me.
“As a lawyer, I don’t see any legal advantage the government of Nigeria stands to gain by blocking Kanu from signing those Forms. The Forms are but a mere routine in matters like this.
“Instead of any advantage, the refusal will help fuel the notion that the government of Nigeria is deliberately isolating Kanu from having consular and diplomatic access to the United Kingdom.
“It does not comport with the best traditions of fundamental fairness that a detainee is being denied access to resources that will assist him in his defence. This is one of the things that will count in our reckoning as this matter continues to fold.
“For these reasons, I am now compelled to call on the British High Commission in Nigeria to banish every red tape and exert the full weight of its diplomatic clout in gaining immediate access to Kanu. This is especially important, given the prospects of better welfare, including adequate medical care for Mazi Kanu.
“Further, the prompt intervention of the High Commission will mean that Kanu will have another layer of human contact in addition to his legal team who are the only ones currently allowed to see him.”