Counsel to the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, on Tuesday, flayed the manner of extradition, summary trial and detention in the custody of the Department of the State Security, DSS, of the leader of Indeginous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Ejimakor also noted that Kanu’s case was a well know case and a matter which was already on course before the IPOB leader disappeared to save his life during the invasion of his house by the military, adding that he will surely seek for Kanu’s bail.
He said that by law, Kanu was entitled to a defense counsel which the security agencies that re-arraigned him denied him through him secret trial on Tuesday.
Our contention is that he didn’t. That contention of the AG is subjudice and I don’t know why he felt free to comment on what was subjudice. So now that Kanu is here he will have the first opportunity since his house was invaded back in 2017 to make his case which we have always made on his behalf that he didn’t jump bail, that he was forced to flee from imminent danger.
“He possesses a political opinion which is protected by law and that political opinion is self-determination. It’s protected under Cap A9 Article 20 1&19 of laws of federation of Nigeria. It’s one thing to make an arrest, it’s another thing to succeed in getting a conviction, but I have to tell you that that since 2015 when this saga of arresting IPOB members and in 2017 when they were declared terrorists, there is no court of law in Nigeria that has made a conviction on any IPOB member based on terrorism or secession or whatever. Our contention is that secession is not a criminal offence mentioned anywhere in Nigeria law.
“The reason secession is not a criminal offence is by convention because those that are ruling Nigeria participated in the civil war and when they hear secession they think the person has committed treasonable felony but it’s not true, it’s not in the penal code, it’s not in criminal code and section 36 of the Nigeria constitution, subsection 12 provided expressly that nobody is to be tried and convicted for any criminal offence that is not written in any Nigeria law.
You cannot also say that somebody who is demanding for a referendum has committed an offence when he has not committed an offence. Or are you saying that someone who is demanding for a separate country has committed an offence when it’s not written anywhere in the law. These are the issues that will be ventilated in the court now and that is the silver lining and it’s an unfortunate development.”
On the extradition of Kanu, Ejimakor said: “I cannot say if he was extradited or brought back through extra-legal means. The Attorney General said it was pursuant of cooperation between the Nigeria security agencies and the Interpol. Kanu is a naturalized British citizen and if he is to be extradited, I think he is entitled to due process under the British law if at all any of such thing will be entertained by the British court for a British citizen. So as days go by we shall find out the manner of his being brought back to Nigeria.
“His summary trial and detention in the DSS custody was wrong because this is an open case as the Attorney General himself admitted through his press conference. The case is in court it’s not a new case, his lawyers are well known and his lawyers were not informed. This is indicative of the unfairness of the system we are struggling against in this country. The constitution says you are entitled to legal defense of your choice, it’s not a new case and they would have just called one of his lawyers and that would have balanced the arrangement. That again is fundamental unfairness and a breach of the constitution.
“Asking me if I will go the DSS to ask for him is unnecessary, but necessary given the unique situation we have in this country. Everybody is entitled to a lawyer be the person a terrorist or a freedom fighter, everybody deserve a lawyer and lawyers are not supposed to be harassed or put in fear. You are asking the question because of the unique situation in Nigeria.
I will go for him because it’s my duty and as a counsel I stand by the rule of ethics to defend every human being on planet and that is my duty as a lawyer.”