In a statement on Friday by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, IPOB likened Kanu to the late South African hero, Nelson Mandela, who also faced extrajudicial detention because he was advocating freedom for his people from decades-long Apartheid level oppression and tyranny.
The group also called on international bodies to intervene in the release of Nnamdi Kanu who is facing extrajudicial detentions, persecution, and widespread human rights violations in Nigeria.
The statement titled, “Nnamdi Kanu Now A Prisoner Of Conscience – IPOB,” reads: “Following the extraordinary rendition of Mazi nnamdi Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria without proper documentation for doing so and the long incarceration and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody, we the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) wish to state categorically to the people of the world that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is now declared Prisoner Of Conscience.
“In 2015 Nnamdi Kanu was first arrested and subjected to an egregious violation of his fundamental rights. After his miraculous escape from the military invasion of his home in 2017, he was abducted in Kenya and renditioned to Nigeria in June this year.
“Mazi Nnamdi KANU has been in DSS detention in Abuja ever since then. We, therefore, have to inform the world, most civilised countries and the Africa continent that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is fighting for the freedom and self-determination of his people because under the United Nations Charter, to which Nigeria is a signatory, self-determination is not a crime.
“Under the African Union Charter. to which Nigeria is a signatory, Self Determination is not a crime. Under the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, particularly Article 20, CAP A9, self-determination is not a crime. As a matter of fact and law, Self Determination is recognized as a right, both domestically and internationally. Above all, Self Determination is a political opinion, which is recognized as a fundamental right under the Nigerian Constitution.
“It’s a matter of public record that hundreds of concerned citizens exercising their rights to peaceful protest protested the incarceration of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu but were massacred in cold blood by Nigerian security services.
“Many more were arrested without trial. Some disappeared and have never been found till today.
“During the military invasion of his residence, code-named operation Python dance, Mazi Kanu was almost killed save for his miraculous escape.
“In 2021 he was kidnapped by the Nigerian government in Kenya and subjected to extraordinary rendition to Nigeria against his will and against all norms and rules of international law.
“In both instances, he committed no offence known to law. He only advocated self-determination for his people and all oppressed peoples in Nigeria.
“He did so peacefully by articulating the decades of oppression, marginalisation, inequality, Apartheid, brutality and genocide to which his people and all oppressed peoples in Nigeria have been subjected.
“And in light of those grievances, he demanded a referendum on self-determination and self-rule for the indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and all aggrieved groups and lovers of freedom.
“In doing so he bore no malice nor hate against any group. He only demanded self-determination as enshrined in the African Charter and the United Nations charter both of which Nigeria is signatory.
“In peacefully articulating the grievances of injured and oppressed people and in seeking self-determination for all such peoples; Nnamdi Kanu broke no law within or outside Nigeria.
“The indigenous peoples of Biafra (IPOB) has been and remains a peaceful organisation, devoid of any hate or violence and totally committed to its aims and objectives through peaceful democratic means as recognised by international law.
“Having regards therefore to all of the above and his continued extrajudicial detention; we hereby declare Mazi Nnamdi Kanu a “Prisoner Of Conscience”.
“We do so because like Nelson Mandela, he broke no law nor committed any offence. He only advocated freedom for his people from decades long Apartheid level oppression and tyranny.
“We use this opportunity to put the world on notice of ongoing extrajudicial detentions, persecution and widespread human rights violations in Nigeria.
“In the same vein, we call on the United States, the great state of Isreal, the European Union, the African Union, the United Nations, Amnesty international, Human rights watch and all lovers of freedom to intervene before it’s too late.”
This comes a few days after Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyers, Ifeanyi Ejiofor lambasted the Department of State Services (DSS) for denying reports that his client was being maltreated in their custody.