Posted by News Express | 2 March 2017 | 3,494 times
The dismissal, on Wednesday, of six counts out of 11 charges brought against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by a Federal High Court presided over by Justice Binta Murtala Nyako is not enough, the International Society for Civil Liberty and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) said today. It charged the court to dismiss all the charges against Kanu.
“We make bold to say that the dismissal of six count charges out of the eleven charges as contained in a judgment delivered yesterday by the Abuja Division of the Federal Court, presided over by Hon Justice Binta Murtala Nyako was totally correct; though it was grossly belated. The entire eleven spurious charges levelled against Citizens Nnamdi Kanu, Dave Nwawuisi, Ben Madubugwu and Chidiebere Onwudiwe should have been dismissed in totality,” the Society said in a statement issued on Thursday in Onitsha, signed by its Board Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, and Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Programme, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.
According to Intersociety, “Though the dismissal is long overdue and long expected, it is legally and constitutionally grounded. It is a victory for the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and their counterparts in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenants on Civil & Political Rights and Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as well as the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights. It must be pointed out that matters involving human rights transcend all the boundaries of all regions of the world without hindrances and restrictions.
“Other victors of the dismissed spurious charges are the pacifist and nonviolent Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its global and local leaders especially Citizen Nnamdi Kanu (POC); the conscientious segment of the Nigerian media; international leading rights groups like Amnesty International; local leading rights groups like Intersociety and Southeast based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations; other respected Igbo groups and individuals residing locally and internationally; and the entire Igbo Race and Southern Nationalities.
“It is recalled that Hon. Justice Binta Nyako had in her judgment dismissed six out of eleven spurious charges levelled against Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and ors. That is to say that the Hon. Pre-trial Court held that: (1) owing to want or lack of evidence before it from the prosecuting body (i.e. AGF/SSS); IPOB is not an illegal or unlawful society/organization and the defendants do not belong to an illegal or unlawful society/organization; (2) that the defendants do not own and manage or operate unlawful or illegal society/organization; (3) that the claims by the prosecution that the defendants are researching how to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) cannot hold waters, because there was no proof that they were doing it; (4) that there was no evidence before the Court showing that the importation of radio transmission equipment was illegal and contravened the Custom & Excise Act of 2004. It is also important to note that the eleven spurious charges were repeated or duplicated in some areas.
“For the avoidance of doubt the entire nine watery and spurious count charge, duplicated into eleven count charge are: count one: conspiracy to commit treasonable felony; in which Nnamdi Kanu, Ben Madubugwu, Dave Nwawuisi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe were accused of using the Radio Biafra London in diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 to campaign for the independence of Biafra; count two: treasonable felony by using Radio Biafra for the same purpose; count three: managing an unlawful society by forming the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) around 2012; count four: publication of defamatory materials/matter on 28th April 2015 against President Muhammadu Buhari; count five: improper importation of goods contrary to Section 47 (1) (a) (i) of the Custom & Excise Management Act of 2004.
“Others are: count six: improper importation of goods contrary to Section 47 (2) (a) of the Custom & Excise Management Act 2004; count seven: management of an unlawful society by keeping a large container housing a Radio Transmitter in Ubuluisiuzor (Ihiala LGA) per Ben Madubugwu known as TRAM 50L; count eight: illegal possession of firearms (two pump action guns) by Ben Madubugwu, said to be contrary to Section 27 (b) (i) of the Firearms Act 2004; count nine: conspiracy to commit treasonable felony per Chidiebere Onwudiwe and Dave Nwawuisi by installing Radio Biafra Transmitters along Ogui Road in Enugu; and count ten: terrorism per Chidibere Onwudiwe, said to be contrary to Section 2 (1) (a) of the Terrorism (Prevention (Amendment) Act of 2013; by ‘being caught committing an act preparatory to act of terrorism by researching for the purpose of identifying and gathering of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) making materials to be used against Nigerian security forces.’
“It is very striking to note that nowhere in the entire nine charges or duplicated eleven count charge was the defendants or IPOB linked with armed rebellion or caught with evidence as armed opposition group with defined war boundaries, weaponry and records of human and material casualties or destructions. Another important fact to note is that President Muhammadu Buhari became the President of Nigeria on 29th May 2015 and cannot therefore seek legal remedies for an alleged defamatory publication that took place on 28th April 2015 (see count four of the charges). The Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution also prohibits criminalization of acts/conducts in retrospect or by way of retroactive criminality. See Section 36 (8) & (12) of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution.
“Consequently, the following critical and unresolved questions have arisen from Hon. Justice Binta Nyako’s selective dismissal of six charges and sustaining of five controversial others. Our first critical question is: (1) on what ground is the charge of terrorism retained in the spurious charges since the same Court held that ‘there is no evidence showing that Citizen Chidiebere Onwudiwe was caught in Enugu around June 2015 committing an act preparatory to act of terrorism by researching for the purpose of identifying and gathering of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) making materials to be used against Nigerian security forces’. See count eleven, which originally is count nine of the spurious charges.
“Our second critical question is: how come count four is retained for trial when it is clear to every Tom, Dick and Harry that President Muhammadu Buhari was a mere president-elect as at 28th April 2015 when the prosecutors claimed he was injured by a defamatory publication that took place on 28thApril 2015 per Nnamdi Kanu and his Radio Biafra London; whereas he was sworn in as President of Nigeria as from 29th May 2015?
“Our third critical question is: if in the judicial notice and opinion of Hon Justice Binta Murtala Nyako and her honourable Federal Court; IPOB is not an unlawful or illegal organization/society and its leaders led by Nnamdi Kanu (POC) are not managing or operating an illegal or unlawful society/organization per IPOB; how come the same Honourable Court approved the trial of the same citizens and their group for offences of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, treasonable felony and terrorism?
“Our fourth critical question is: when have democratic free speeches by way of radio transmission and communications with total absence of force of arms or armed rebellion or insurgency or insurrection or terrorism; translate to intent or act to violently overthrow the present Government of Nigeria? How many Boko Haram and Nomad Fulani Jihadists have been arrested and standing trials for offences of treason, treasonable felony and terrorism?
“Our reasons for pointing out the forgoing with accompanying critical questions are for all Nigerians and members of the international community to take note of how the law abiding citizens are being pursued, hunted, hounded, tortured, killed and persecuted in Nigeria; while the lawless ones are being protected, amnestied and presidentially cuddled and rewarded. They are also for defensive and legal notice of the legal team of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and ors so as to get the entire spurious charges quashed judicially by the same Pre-Trial Court or the Appellate or the Apex Court without further delays.”
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