President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday told the Prime Minister of Britain, Bori Johnson, that it was not true that the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, is being denied access to his lawyers.
According to a statement by the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari spoke in Kigali, Rwanda, when he held a bilateral meeting with Johnson on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Reports in the media had claimed that some of the lawyers of the IPOB leader were denied access to him.
Kanu’s American lawyer, Bruce Fein, had even at a point threatened to drag Nigeria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged gross violation of his client’s rights and being denied to see him.
However, speaking on the proscribed IPOB leader not being allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President dispelled such insinuation, saying the detained separatist was being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he had been saying against Nigeria in Britain.”
Buhari said: “He felt very safe in Britain, and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he has said there. His lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again, if he’s admitted to bail?”
On the keenness expressed by the PM to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilize Libya could be an initial good step, as the fall of Muammar Gadaffi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns.”
On Boko Haram insurgency, President Buhari said there was serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great). God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe it to God. And the education process is working, the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion.”
PM Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.
He described the relationship between the countries as “very strong attachment,” adding: “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us, and we need to capitalize on it.”
The Prime Minister offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.