From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has condemned a recent application submitted to the Community Court of West Africa (ECOWAS) Court by the Federal Government, seeking to frustrate the ongoing human rights enforcement process filed by its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The group said instead of addressing the substance of the charges against the federal government before the ECOWAS Court for nearly two years now, they chose instead, their favourite method of trial by media and senseless smear campaign.
A statement by Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful, said a case of abuse of fundamental human rights by the federal government, brought by Kanu, at the ECOWAS Court, has been pending for two years, with government employing all manner of delay tactics to frustrate the case.
“Now, they are holding Nnamdi Kanu in their custody, having denied such publicly, they have finally woken up to ask the court to dismiss the charges against them after sanctioning and conducting the kidnapping raid in Afaraukwu on the September 14, 2017. It will be fair to assume, going by the antics of this government, that their primary reason for the murderous raid on the home of the IPOB leader, was to remove him from circulation and truncate all legal matters involving him.”
“The government thinks its plans will remain undetected forever. Why didn’t the federal government bother to attend ECOWAS Court throughout the period Kanu was out on bail or in prison? They resorted to intimidating the courts, first with the announcement of withdrawal of funding for ECOWAS Court, when that didn’t work they embarked on their favourite adjournment after adjournment strategy. Since this didn’t work and Kanu went to Ohafia to announce publicly he would be attending court on October 17, 2017 with 2 million men, the powers that be raided his house and abducted him.”
“How can Nigeria approach the same ECOWAS court they have been running from to ask that the matter be struck out on the grounds that he, Kanu, has jumped bail when they are people that abducted and probably killed him. A clever ploy no doubt, but no reasonable person will buy. Why didn’t the Nigerian government apply for this matter to be dismissed when Kanu was accessible and conducting his peaceful rallies? Why have they made this request now, considering they are the one that never attended court in the past?”
“What is glaringly obvious is that Nigerian government organised Operation Python Dance as a cover to kidnap our leader. They planned it in such a way that they will be the one to approach the courts to claim Kanu jumped bail in order to deflect world attention away from their disgraceful record of human rights abuses which ECOWAS Court was bound to expose”.
“Nigeria should stop running to the pages of newspapers to conduct litigation and prosecution, they should come to the law court to defend their record. Let the strength of their evidence speak for them rather than relying on cheap propaganda. Cases are won and lost in the law courts not on the pages of newspapers. As long as Nigerian Army extra judicially invaded the home of an unarmed man without court warrant, they are responsible for producing him in court”.
Lawyers representing Nigeria may think the public can be fooled so easily but they are mistaken. Kanu’s ECOWAS court case against Buhari predates the events of 14 September which the Nigerian authorities instigated without provocation. The doctrine of last seen is one rooted in the principles of natural justice. You cannot invade the home of an innocent man without court warrant, kill 28 unarmed civilians in the process, ransack his bedroom, then expect him to miraculously appear from thin air”.
“Witness and counsel intimidation, cheap propaganda and bare faced lies cannot save this government from the full weight of the law both domestic and international.
“We are steadfastly calling upon the civilised world to prevail upon the Nigerian government and her security operatives, especially the Nigerian Army and Police who invaded the home of our leader on the 14th day of September 2017 to produce him in court for trial. Detaining him illegally whilst claiming he has jumped bail is bare-faced black lie from the darkest recesses of hell. Nigerian soldiers saw him last, therefore they must produce him” powerful stated.