Non governmental body, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has tackled the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami over the position of the federal government of Nigeria on the recent verdict of the appeallate court which ordered for release of the detained Z of the Indigeneous people of Biafra (IPOB),Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from the detention facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja.
AFRIPOST recalls that the court of appeal in Abuja led by Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, had on 13th October 2022, in its judgement in an appeal by Kanu on the violation of his fundamental rights against the federal government, declared as illegal and unlawful, the abduction of the leader of the Indigeneous people of Biafra(IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria and and quashed the entire terrorism charges brought against him by the federal government of Nigeria.
Also recall that Kanu was earlier in October 2015, arrested by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.
He was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons. However, Mr Kanu fled the countryafter an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia, Abia State.
In 2021, Kanu was rearrested in Kenya and repatriated to Nigeria. Kanu’s legal team dragged the Nigerian Government to court over how the IPOB leader was picked in Kenya.
But reacting in a statement on Saturday, against the backdrop of the recent court judgement which ordered for release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the Intersociety accused the Abubakar Malami of pushing Nigeria into regional and international abyss of mockery and charlantan with far-reaching consequences on the nation’s socio-economic development, regional and international human rights, rule of law and democracy ratings and trade and Investment policies including foreign direct investments (FDI).
The statement was signed by the chairman, Board of Trustees, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and other principal officers of the civil liberty group.
The civil liberty organisation condemned in strong term the Nigerian government’s total disregard and disobedience to the landmark judgement of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which quashed entire criminal trial of the succesionist leader.
According to the Intersociety, “the arrogation of the interpretative power by the Attorney General including “what to obey and what not to obey” in the landmark judgement is also tyrannical, vexatious and democratically calamitous.
“It must be clearly and strongly stated that the only option available to Nigeria’s Attorney General as the Law Officer of the Nigeria federation is fully consent to the landmark judgement or go on appeal within the stipulated timeframe. Consenting or not consenting to the landmark judgement is immaterial to the order of the three justices-led Court of Appeal Abuja.
The Intersociety also insisted that government must first release Nnamdi Kanu from protracted dungeon of the Department of State Services should it decide to head to the supreme court in exercise of its right under the country’s body of law, and further regretted at the worst scenario being to placed him in civil liberties-complaint movement surveillance if in the sincere opinion of the Nigerian state, granting him total freedom of movement, expression and association will be injurious to the pendency of the apex appeal (If any) and its final determination.
The CLO who also recalled its severally warnings and admonitions to the .President Muhammadu Buhari-led government against its indiscriminate resort to short-cuts, jungle justice and prosecutorial vindictiveness, submitting that, “the Buhari’s government that
a criminal is not a criminal until he or she is diligently and procedurally processed and subjected to unbiased suspicion, investigation, lawful arrest and detention; fair trail and fair hearing and sentencing and conviction”
The Intersociety further regretted that under the present administration, impunity and lawlessness fueled by ethnic profiling and hatred such as in the instant case, have continued to reign supreme with utter alacrity; to the extent of being its Criminal Justice policy direction in the contrary.
“The three-man Appeallate Panel have in the instant cases correctly and fundamentally faulted the process (unlawful rendition or extradition) initiated by the Nigerian government upon which its preferring criminal charged against Nnamdi Kanu and his subsequent snail pace prosecution was relied upon.
“It’s also surprising that the Attorney General has chosen to arbitrarily disobey the landmark judgement even when the same federal government was duly part of the entire court processes including being the accusing authority.
“Therefore, with the latest landmark judgement, the role of the trail court of first instance(Justice Binta Nyako-led Abuja Federal High Court ) is permanently put on hold pending the determination of the apex appeal. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is constitutionally mandated by section 287(2) of Nigeria’s 1999 constitution to comply and enforce the landmark judgement to the letter and he must not act like an outlaw”.