By Anthony Ogbonna
The Igbo apex socio-political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has condemned the Federal Government’s call for the re-arrest and bail revocation of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who gave the statement on behalf of the group also accused the Federal Government of bias, double standard and violation of Kanu’s fundamental human rights especially for refusing to arrest the Arewa Youths whom he said issued threatening and hate speech to Ndigbo.
Chief Nwodo also urged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to “please respect your oath of office,” wondering why the AGF would move to re-arrest Kanu while refusing to do anything to stop the Arewa youths whom he said only ‘pretended’ to withdraw the quit notice they issued to Igbo in the North.
He also warned against excercerbating the already tensed nation by pursuing a legal means for the incaceration of Kanu, maitaining that “Nnamdi, as a citizen of Nigeria, is free to hold any point of view no matter how displeasing to anyone so long as they are not inciting or provoking any criminal activities.”
Kanu was granted bail on April 25, 2017.
The Federal Government approached the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, seeking the revocation of the bail of Nnamdi Kanu. The application was attached as a press release and made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja by Mr. Salihu Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Minister of Justice.
In the application, the Federal Government is seeking an order of court revoking the bail granted Kanu on April 25. The government is also seeking an order of court directing the arrest and committing Kanu to custody pending trial as well as any such order the court may deem fit in the circumstance.
The application which has the name of the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, explained that the call for revocation of Kanu’s bail was on the grounds that Kanu had breached his bail conditions.
“The 1st defendant (Kanu) is standing trial for alleged offences of conspiracy to commit acts of treasonable felony and other related offences before this court.
“The offence for which he is standing trial is not ordinarily bailable but due to the magnanimity of the court and its quest for justice and fairness, he was granted bail on health grounds.
“Among the other conditions for his bail is that he should not be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people and he should not grant any interviews, hold or attend any rallies.
“And that he should file in court, medical updates of his health status every month. But rather than observing all of the conditions listed above, Kanu, in flagrant disobedience to the court order, flouted all conditions of the bail.”
According to the government, Kanu has in furtherance to the offence he was charged, inaugurated Biafra Security Service adding that such an act was a grave threat to national security and unity of the country.
An affidavit deposed to by Loveme Odubo, a litigation clerk in the Ministry of Justice, claimed that Kanu held a rally at his residence in his hometown, Afara-UkwuIbeku in Umuahia, Abia.
And that the rally, with a crowd exceeding 10 persons, was captured in a video published on June 1 and circulated around the country through the internet platform of YouTube.
He further deposed that the bail granted Kanu was to enable him take care of his health and not for any other purpose.
In a written address attached to the application, the government wants the court to determine whether the defendant violated the bail conditions set by the court to warrant the revocation of same.
Kanu is standing trial along with Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi and Bright Chimezie on allegations of treasonable felony.
Justice Binta Nyako had on April 25, admitted Kanu to bail on stringent conditions, but had denied bail to the other defendants standing trial with him.
The matter was adjourned until July 11 for trial but could not go on because the court commenced its annual vacation on July 10 and a new date of Oct. 17 was fixed for commencement of trial.
However, Chief Nwodo spoke in a release titled,‘Attorney General of the Federation, please respect your oath of office!’ He said the Attorney-General of the Fedferation looked the other way while the Arewa youths kept issueng conditions for the enjoyment of citizenship in Nigeria as ensured by President Buhari in his speech upon return to Nigeria from London.
He said, “It has just been brought to my notice that the Attorney General of the Federation has approached the courts to incarcerate Nnamdi Kalu for flouting his bail conditions.
“I am amazed that the distinguished attorney is prepared to contest the superiority of the provisions of the constitution on fundamental human rights of freedom of movement and freedom of association over an erroneous judicial proclamation violating those rights.
“I am equally miffed by the audacity with which the Attorney General displays his bias without regard to his oath of office.
“A few hours ago under the watchful eyes of the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and in total defiance of the Head of State’s proclamation of the rights of a citizen of Nigeria to live anywhere in Nigeria and to do business anywhere in Nigeria, the Arewa youths, pretending to withdraw their quit notice gave qualifications to the Head of State’s proclamation, issuing conditions for enjoyment of citizenship status.
“These same Arewa youths are supposed to have been arrested on the orders of the Governor of Kaduna State and the Inspector General of Police for acts of treason, conversion and sedition.
“As the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, the Attorney General looks the other way. He does not go to court to seek an order of arrest or prosecution.”
“Nnamdi, as a citizen of Nigeria, is free to hold any point of view no matter how displeasing to anyone so long as they are not inciting or provoking any criminal activities.
“I and some Igbo leaders have differences of opinion with Nnamdi on a number of issues. We have been insulted and abused by Radio Biafra but we concede them their right to differ from us. We concede them their nature to be exuberant as youths but we cannot be judgmental about their rights.
“This is a democracy. In democracies, leaders are abused, pelted with rotten eggs and booed at, as the former Edo State governor was booed in Abuja a few days ago. These acts are not necessarily criminal.
“I urge the Attorney-General not to exacerbate our already tense nation by commencing a legal action which portrays him as biased, insensitive and misdirected,” the Ohanaeze leader said.