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■ January 17, 2017

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Lawyers of Igbo extraction under the aegis of Otu Oka-Iwu (Law Society) have warned the Federal Government to ensure that the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu is accorded all his civil rights.

In a statement on the “state of the nation” signed by its President, Chief Chuks Ikokwu, the influential body expressed “deep concern” on the reported planned secret trial of the IPOB leader, adding that “The Federal Government must ensure that he and other defendants are accorded their full rights under the Constitution of Nigeria.”

The association said it was “watching with keen interest” the unfolding drama on the appointment of a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

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Noting that the “hallowed succession plan” in the Judiciary has been truncated by the appointment of an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Otu Oka-Iwu urged the Federal Government “to take immediate steps to redress the uncertainty occasioned by this unfortunate situation by acting swiftly on the recommendations of the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the National Judicial Council (NJC).

In line with the dictates of the rule of law, the Executive arm must not be seen to meddle in the affairs of another independent arm of government, as this is unhealthy for any polity.”

Urging the government to “tackle the rampaging hunger in the land,” the umbrella association of Igbo lawyers also said it was “highly disturbed” by the Amnesty International report indicting Nigerian security agencies for extra-judicial execution of unarmed ‘Biafran agitators’ in the South-East.

It stated that “The recent bloodletting and massacre of defenceless women and children in Southern Kaduna by gunmen without any protection from government is inexcusable.”

“The primary duty of every government is the protection of lives and property,” it stated. “The Federal Government must therefore demonstrate in clearer terms that it has the capacity and, more importantly, the political will to protect every Nigerian citizen irrespective of his creed or political affiliation.”

They warned that where citizens are victims of human rights abuses either at the hands of state actors or by government neglecting its responsibility to offer them protection, “they have every right to take legitimate action to enforce their fundamental human rights.”

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