Masked witnesses in Kanu trial, an unfathomable injustice, says HURIWA
The Human Rights Writers Association Of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as a monumental injustice the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari, through his Justice minister Abubakar Malami, to parade masked witnesses against Mr Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Europe registered Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of United Kingdom based Radio Biafra.
The rights group has also criticised Justice Binta Murtallah Nyako for bragging that the Federal High Court room is hers and therefore she can do whatever or issue whatever order she deems appropriate just as the group said the presiding judge can’t go outside the provisions of the Constitution in reaching a determination of any prayer at any given stage of the subsisting matter because doing otherwise would be illegal and absolutely non-permissible by law.
HURIWA reminded the judge, Mrs Binta Murtallah-Nyako, that the global community is watching her proceedings even as generations yet unborn will judge her conducts and decisions, which would have far-reaching implications in whatever legacies she intends to build.
Besides, HURIWA stressed that it is an unmitigated crime against natural law for the Federal High Court to have disregarded the constitutionally guaranteed human rights of the defendants to fair hearing and open trial just in a choreographed attempt to railroad the accused into prison to satisfy the wishes, whims and capricious intentions of President Muhammadu Buhari who has on many occasions in the media passed a verdict against Mr Nnamdi Kanu and his organisation as having committed ‘serious crime’ against his government.
The rights group further stated that the ruling by the Federal High Court to shield the identities of witnesses who would testify against Mr Daniel Kanu is reminiscent of kangaroo trial process used during the brutal dictatorships that held Nigerians in bondage for over four decades prior to 1999 when overwhelming global pressures forced the coup plotters to vacate political offices, restored political and democratic order and proceeded to return to their military barracks.
“We totally condemn Justice Binta Murtallah Nyako for granting this awkward and unconstitutional prayers of President Muhammadu Buhari which will in the long run deny the defendants and the rest of the citizenry the right to witness an open, transparent, accountable and clean judicial process since the matter involving the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) versus Muhammadu Buhari ruling elite has since become a national phenomenon in which every citizen of Nigeria is keen to know how the entire scenarios are resolved. The plot to present masked witnesses is both anachronistic and antithetical to moral, and ethical justice. This can only happen in banana republics or failed political entities whereby military might is right”.
“We in the human rights community believe that the claim by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, of a plot by the Federal Government to invite foreign personnel to testify against him in court is extensively damaging and from the trajectories of events since the legal ordeals of Mr Nnamdi Kanu started it is not farfetched to notice that indeed the Presidency which has been on an overdrive to jail the IPOB officials by hook or crook may have actually perfected plans to import ghost witnesses to rope the accused into a phantom crime of treasonable felony. This illegality which has made the current administration a laughing stock in the international community of civilised people must be challenged and overturned on appeal.”
HURIWA recalled that Mr Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently facing trial alongside three other Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi publicly made the allegation on the very day Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court denied him bail.
The trial Justice Binta refused to grant bail to any of the defendants pending the determination of the 11-count criminal charge the Federal Government preferred against them. Charges against Kanu and other defendants border on treasonable felony and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism. She equally granted the government the prayer to present masked witnesses.
HURIWA has therefore urged the legal team representing the IPOB hierarchy to file an appeal without let nor hindrance just as the group has appealed to all right thinking persons to call President Buhari to order so as to terminate this kangaroo persecution of Mr Nnamdi Kanu and his colleagues.
HURIWA said the trial of Nnamdi Kanu must be terminated because the agitation by IPOB for self-determination for South East of Nigeria finds legal basis in extant global humanitarian laws and for the practical facts that the members of IPOB are absolutely peaceful and not known to carry arms or weapons unlike the several rampaging gangs of armed Fulani herdsmen who have killed thousands of Nigerians but are left by the Nigerian Military to continue their dare devil atrocities against innocent citizens.