The State Security Service (SSS) has responded to allegations of starving the detained leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
Mr Kanu, leader of the secessionist group, mysteriously abducted from Kenya in June, is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.
He is being held by the secret police on the orders of an Abuja federal high court despite pleas for his transfer to Kuje correctional facility to ease access for visitors wishing to see him.
Recently, his lawyers alleged that he is being starved on the orders of Senator Orji Kalu who visited the separatist leader. The accusers also said their client is not allowed to change clothes and practice his Jewish religion.
Dismissing the allegations as false is Peter Afunanya, spokesman of the self-styled Department of State Services (DSS).
Mr Afunanya, while addressing journalists at the headquarters of the service in Abuja on Tuesday said the legal team of Mr Kanu was misleading the public.
“On IPOB and the alleged ill-treatment of its detained leader, the Service has, without any fear of contradiction, applied restraint in making public statements over the matter,” he said. “The reason is simply because it avoids joining issues especially over a matter that is sub-judice. But for the sake of transparency and democratic accountability, the Service has decided to make some clarifications.
“It (the Service) denies all the inciting allegations by IPOB and states that:
“Nnamdi Kanu is not, in any way, maltreated in custody. Accusations of maltreatment negate the Service’s Standard Operation Procedure on the implementation of rights of a suspect;
“Nnamdi Kanu enjoys full luxury in the holding facility incomparable to any of its type anywhere in the country. He is accorded full rights and privileges. He is never denied his right of worship or freedom from his select religious practice.
“Adequate attention is paid to Kanu’s health. He has unhindered access to the best medical care and doctors.
“Kanu, himself, has confirmed to his visitors that the Service has never, in any way, maltreated him. He even confirmed this to the quartet of Senators Ike Ekweremadu and Enyinnaya Abaribe; Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Nigeria and Co-Chair, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace and Ambassador Okechukwu Emuchay, MFR, Secretary-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who saw him on Wednesday, 8th December, 2021.
“The story of Kanu being starved is fallacious. He could not have been starved as he enjoys meals of his choice. That he is not allowed change of clothing is also false.
“He is regularly allowed change of clothing as against what is presented to the public by IPOB propagandists. Assuming he is being maltreated, how come his visitors told him he was looking well?
“All the allegations of violation of his rights as a suspect, victimization and starvation among others are not true.
“It is unfortunate that some elements have decided to use outright misinformation to represent the state of affairs.
“Those who make these false stories do so to attract undue attention for the singular purpose of achieving a desired end.
“Rather than focus on how he should get justice, Kanu’s legal team and some mischievous elements among them have chosen to use fake news to mislead the public.
“While the Court in its wisdom ordered that Kanu be remanded in the safer DSS Custody, some of his legal representatives, for reasons best known to them, preferred Kuje Prison and have failed to explain the rationale for such choice.
“It may interest the public to note that a particular lawyer among Kanu’s Team is feasting on the matter such that one can conclude that his interest is beyond getting justice for his client. Be that as it may, the Court has the final say on the matter.”