S’Court decision to try Kanu for terrorism unfortunate – Ohanaeze, Abaribe, IPOB

The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra; the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and a former Senate Minority Leader of the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, have described as unfortunate the non-release of the leader of IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

This was as the Supreme Court on Friday set aside a judgment by the lower court that dismissed the terrorism charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

The apex court held that the court of appeal was wrong and that the trial court couldn’t try him because the prosecution violated his rights.

In the judgment prepared by Justice Garba Mohammed, the court condemned the invasion of Kanu’s residence, declaring it irresponsible.

The court held that there is no law in the country stopping a trial based on the violation of the rights of a suspect.

Mohammed said, “If the police should destroy the house of a suspect to obtain exhibits, should that prevent the court from entertaining the offense?

“His remedy should be the way of civil proceeding. Proceedings can’t be stopped on account of the violation of the rights of the suspects; that is not our law for now.

“We decided not to go with the court of appeal. Though we condemned the violation of his rights, Nigeria must redeem its image and adhere to the rule of law. If a person has been granted bail, why did you invade his house? That is irresponsible. You shouldn’t blame him for running.

“No legislation in the country stripped the trial court of the jurisdiction to go ahead with Kanu’s case, despite the illegal action of the FG.

“The law must take its course. The Court of Appeal was wrong that the trial court couldn’t try him. The appeal is allowed, and the cross-appeal is dismissed.”

Reacting, IPOB, through its spokesman, Emma Powerful, in a terse statement on Friday, described Kanu’s continuous detention as ‘unconstitutional’, saying that self-determination is legal as supported by the United Nations laws and by the Africa Union Charter.

Powerful, also commended the Anambra and Enugu state governors, Prof Chukwuma Soludo and Dr Peter Mba, respectively, on their call for the unconditional release of the pro-Biafran leader.

A former Secretary-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, also commenting on the judgment in a statement on Friday, issued what it termed ‘a heartfelt appeal’ to Biafra agitators.

He also added that Kanu’s release was sacrosanct and called for a return to non-violent means of agitation.

“We acknowledge the concerns raised by Biafra agitators regarding the alleged actions of Southeast Governors. While we have not personally met with the governors, we implore them to openly deny these allegations and engage in constructive dialogue towards finding a common ground,” he noted.

Also commenting, Abaribe who described the judgment as an ‘unfortunate outcome’ called for calm over the non-release of Kanu.

Part of his statement read, “I’m of the firm belief that this current Federal Government will do something very fast to release Nnamdi Kanu, if for no other reason, but for national cohesion and unity of the country.

“As leaders, we shall continue to press for a solution that will be the best in the circumstance.”

Kanu was first arrested in 2015 under the administration of former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

He was subsequently granted bail in April 2017 and fled the country after an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the Nigerian military in September 2017.

Kanu was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.

He was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja on four charges including treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, illegal importation of radio equipment, and defamation of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The charges were later withdrawn by the former Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who replaced them with a fresh 14-count charge bordering on terrorism and membership in a proscribed group, among others.

(Punch)

Join our new WhatsApp community! Click this link to receive your daily dose of NEWS FLASH content. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like.