By Dennis Agbo
Special counsel to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, Mr Aloy Ejimakor has advised security agents not to restrict or let alone molest Kanu’s supporters expected to throng the federal high court Abuja in a show of solidarity, on Monday, as Kanu’s trial resumes.
In a press statement released on Sunday, Ejimakor said he was prompted to make the advice based on the media reports indicating that those coming to Abuja to show solidarity with his client will be harassed or even arrested by security agents.
Ejimakor made it clear that while he was not calling on people or Kanu’s supporters to throng Abuja for the hearing on Monday, it was important to state that anybody who wishes to come would not be doing anything illegal, provided such a person comes in peace.
He stated that Kanu’s trial is an open trial and not a secret one since Kanu is presumed innocent until proven guilty, which anyone wishing to be associated with his trial by being present in Abuja is protected by his Constitutional right to freedom of association and movement.
“So, my message to all supporters of Kanu and even to Nigerian government is simple and that is: Everybody should be strictly guided by the rule of law pertinent to why Nnamdi Kanu is facing these tribulations and trials.
“That pertinent rule of law is clearly codified by CAP A9, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, where it is stated at Article 20 that: ‘All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen”.
Ejimakor noted that the provision is the fulcrum of every other crime the Nigerian government is alleging against Kanu, which once the government recognizes that the enterprise upon which Kanu is engaged, is expressly recognized or protected by laws, it will see that dialogue, not trials and violence, is the only legal pathway to containing it.
“I am saying this because the same Law that legalizes self-determination also requires the government to accommodate it. Article 1 of that Law provides that Nigeria ‘shall recognise the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them.’
“Further, subjecting Kanu to any trial under the circumstances of his extraordinary rendition will face lots of legal challenges. So, what is expected on Monday is not a trial but what Lawyers call ‘taking a plea’ or a re-arraignment on the amended Charges that might be brought.
“Should that happen, the procedure permits taking an adjournment to study the new charges for the purpose of advising the defendant on the next steps. So, there’s nothing significant that will happen on Monday that warrants anybody, including the government, to be jittery,” Ejimakor said.