Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Nigeria’s foremost civil rights group has declared the intended trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Radio Biafra as a criminal act by Nigerian government, as well as an abuse of his human rights. CLO made this statement in a widely circulated press statement that was made available to Biafra Choice Writers few hours ago.
Ibuchukwu Ezike, the Executive Director (ED) of the civil rights group signed the statement.
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) received with shock, the ruling of the Judge of a federal high court, Abuja, Justice Binta Nyako, that the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and 3 others standing trial before her court for trivial, spurious charges would be secretly tried for leading a Self-determination struggle for the enhancement of the rights of their kinsmen and women in Nigeria.
CLO was marveled to learn that the trial Judge ruled that Kanu and the trio would be tried in secret with their “masquerade” witnesses only to be seen by their lawyers. We are astonished as to when masquerades become human beings in Nigeria to bear witnesses against living humans. This is strange. Absolutely so. This ruling is a demonstration of the Judge’s ignorance of Constitutional law and we pray that the Chief Justice of Nigeria as the Head of the Judicial Arm of the Federal Republic calls her to order and especially remind her that there is a gross difference between a military dictatorship and a democracy that Nigeria runs at the moment. The COURT cannot be used as an agent or instrument by dictators to abuse the due process of the law and infringe on the rights of the citizens. It is reprehensible, a shame and, indeed, despicable.
We make bold to say that the right to self-determination is not a crime but a legitimate aspiration of all peoples all over the world to enforce their right to freedom or independence, choice of the political system and an own government under which they desire to operate and live in, a right protected by the provisions of the United nations mechanisms and the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (Banjul Charter) to which Nigeria is a signatory.
We, as Nigeria’s leading human rights organisation, do not see any crime committed by Kanu and his three Igbo kinsmen. They lead an organization that its members do not carry arms or operate in secrecy nor threaten the peace of the society. Despite wicked and unprovoked killing, maiming and raping of their members and members of other Pan Biafran movements running into over 700 armless persons in South Eastern and South Southern Nigeria including those in churches, they have not done anything that has threatened the peace of the public. It, therefore, behoves on their accusers to present clear evidences that would represent them as terrorists and not to concoct frivolous evidences against them. In view of the foregoing, CLO sees no justifications for Justice Nyako’s ruling to try the ethnic rights activists in secret in total disregard for our laws and human rights. The ruling is an affront on the citizens Kanu and kinsmen’s right to enforce their fundamental rights and freedoms.
CLO does not support respect for unjust laws and decisions and so, salutes the lawyers of the human rights activists who rejected the ruling of the court. The APC government must be very careful in trying not to lead Nigeria into a serious confusion but allow the course of justice to prevail. We contend Boko Haram, and the unconscionable attacks on the Shiite Movement, it will be ill advised to provoke Igbo Youth into another acts that may threaten the peace of the society. Our concern is the women, children, persons with disability and the indigent population who are usually the victims of such confusions.
CLO calls on the United Kingdom (whose silence since Kanu who is a British citizen’s incarceration since last year is worrisome) and international community to speak out, call President Buhari to order and prevail on him not to turn Nigeria into a war theatre. We insist that it is better to jaw jaw than to war war as bullets know no brother or sister, father or mother or child or friend.
The ingredients of democracy include but not limited to respect for the rule of law, popular participation or inclusiveness, and regard for human rights, basic freedoms and due process.
Lastly, we urge IPOB lawyers to remain vigilant, committed to due process and refuse to be intimidated.