A UK court has granted permission to Nnamdi Kanu’s family to challenge the UK government over its failure to intervene in Mr Kanu’s alleged extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria.
Aloy Ejimakor, Mr Kanu’s special counsel, announced this in a Twitter post on Friday.
The case was filed before the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division by Mr Kanu’s brother, Kingsley, according to a screenshot of a court document posted by Mr Ejimakor.
It is not clear when the permission was granted by the court.
There are indications, however, that the hearing was held on Thursday.
Mr Kanu’s family had threatened to sue the British government over its “silence” on the alleged illegal extraordinary rendition of Mr Kanu to Nigeria.
The family accused the then UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Liz Truss, now British Prime Minister, of ignoring “overwhelming evidence” that Mr Kanu was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria by the Nigerian government.
Mr Kanu, the leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), is a Nigerian-British citizen.
The IPOB leader, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the Nigerian military in September of that year.
He was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021, about four years after. He is being detained in Abuja where he is facing trial for terrorism.
Since his alleged extraordinary rendition to Nigeria, successive UK foreign secretaries – Dominic Raab and then Ms Truss – before she became prime minister – have refused to state if Mr Kanu was a victim of extraordinary rendition.
In this latest court hearing, Mr Kingsley, the claimant, sought permission for a judicial review of the UK government’s “silence” on Mr Kanu’s alleged detention and trial in Nigeria.
“The application for permission to apply for judicial review is granted,” the judge, Justice Ellenbogen, held.
“The application is to be listed for one day, at an in-person hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice. The parties are to provide a written time estimate within 7 days of service of this order if they disagree with this direction.”
James Cleverly, the new UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, is the defendant in the case.
Shirin Marker, from the Bindmans LLP, who is representing Mr Kingsley, said it was essential for Mr Cleverly to reach a “firm conclusion” on whether her client’s brother had been the victim of extraordinary rendition in order to decide what steps to take to assist him, according a report by The Guardian UK.
“The evidence available to date establishes that he (Mr Kanu) has been subject to extraordinary rendition and torture or inhumane treatment,” she said.
“It is unacceptable for the UK government to continue to prevaricate on this issue. We are glad that the court has now granted permission for this case to move to a final hearing,” Ms Marker stated.
The judge explained her decision to grant the judicial review hearing.
“Such decisions/inaction are, in principle, reviewable and do not enter forbidden areas, including decisions affecting foreign policy,” she said.