By Ikechukwu Nnochiri – Abuja
Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lead counsel to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on Tuesday, berated the Department of State Services, DSS, for granting a former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, private access to his client in detention.
Ejiofor, who described Kalu’s visit to his client as “bizarre and unusual”, maintained that it was in gross violation of the court-ordered guideline for visitation.
He alleged that the DSS gave the erstwhile governor access to the IPOB leader before the time scheduled for a formal visit.
It will be recalled that Kalu, who piloted affairs of Abia State from 1999 to 2007, had in his post that went viral on social media on Monday, revealed that he paid a visit to the IPOB leader at the DSS detention facility.
Kalu, who is currently the Chief Whip of the Senate, in the said post, noted that he was the one that made Kanu’s father, Eze Israel Okwu Kanu, the traditional ruler of Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia, in 2001 while he was in office as governor.
He wrote: “This afternoon, I visited my brother, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in DSS custody, Abuja. I met him in good health and care, and we discussed him as ‘Umunne’.
“In 2001 when I was Governor, I made his father Eze Israel Okwu Kanu, the traditional ruler of Afara-Ukwu, and since then, the family has been very close to me.
“I understand that Nnamdi has an insane amount of people rooting for him back home, and I encouraged him to consider the consequences of certain actions and utterances for the sake of the same people.
“Even though my ideology and his ideology are totally different, God has made us brothers and we can’t run away from each other.
“I owe him and Nigerians good counselling, whether he and his family listen to me or not, I will continue counselling him as I have always done in the past. What we need most is a peaceful and secured society.”
However, Ejiofor, while kicking against the visit in his own statement titled “Update on our visit to our noble client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at the DSS Headquarters Abuja on November 29 2021”, said it turned out to be a “political gimmicks”.
Ejiofor said he has initiated a formal process towards ensuring a thorough investigation of Kalu’s visit to his client.
“We can at best describe what transpired yesterday between a visitor whom the detaining authority ostensibly aided to violate the court-ordered guideline for visiting our Client as bizarre and unusual.
“The DSS is not oblivious of the terms of the court’s guideline which they have consistently maintained in the past that it must be obeyed to the letter, and through which position they had denied many friends and Attorneys of our Client, access to him.
“However, caution was thrown to the wind yesterday and instead of insisting on this full compliance with the existing guideline, the DSS for reasons best known to them allowed a visitor access to our Client even before the time scheduled for the formal visit and without his lawyers being present during the visit.
“It is of serious concern that the visit was conducted without strict adherence to the court-ordered guideline, but more condescending that the visit later became a subject of political gimmicks.
“If we, Our Client’s Attorneys, his flesh and blood brothers, and his wife will visit him in due compliance with the court-ordered guideline, how can the DSS authorize a visit from any other person in gross violation of this guideline? There is more to it than meets the eyes, which the DSS is now under a compelling duty to explain to us.
“Granted that his name appeared among the list submitted at the 11th hour alongside the names of the lawyers scheduled for the visit, but hurriedly proceeding to conduct the visit without us being present in line with the requirement of the guideline left us with many unanswered questions.
“We have initiated a formal process towards ensuring a thorough investigation of what transpired yesterday, and we shall not hesitate to formally address the world on this subject if there is any attempt to sweep our petition under the carpet.
“The Order of the court and terms as laid down guideline, to regulate visits to our Client is to ensure his maximum protection from persons who may wish to secretly seize the opportunity to hurt or intimidate him into accepting a false narrative outside the dungeon where he is being illegally detained, and they could achieve this through threats and/or coercion. Hence, the need for the presence of his lawyers before granting any audience.
“We may not wish to speak further on this subject or even discuss our Client’s position on this visit pending the outcome of investigation on the DSS authorized violation of the court-ordered guideline.
“In as much as we have unequivocally demanded for an immediate investigation, we are not by any means insinuating that visitors of our Client’s choice are not permitted or restrained from visiting him henceforth, but our position is that every visit to our Client must conform with the already set out guideline by the court.
“We shall keep you all updated as we navigate through this turbulent path, but just note that victory and nothing less than victory is our goal, and it shall surely end in VICTORY UmuChineke.
“Please note that our Client is profoundly grateful for your dexterity and peaceful conduct so far. This too will soon come to pass.
“Continue to pray ceaselessly and without season that we shall overcome, UmuChineke”, Ejiofor’s statement further read.
It will be recalled that trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja had ordered the DSS to allow the detained IPOB leader who is answering to a seven-count treasonable felony charge, access to three visitors of his choice, every Monday and Thursday of the week.