Nnamdi Kanu: Counsel urges U.S. to sanction Buhari, Malami
•Court Adjourns Suit On Biafra Referendum
International Counsel and spokesman for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Bruce Fein, has urged the United States of America to impose sanctions against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, for disobeying the October 13, 2022, Court of Appeal judgment which discharged and acquitted him.
This was even as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned hearing on the suit filed by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) seeking a referendum to determine the fate of Biafra and other self-determination agitations to January 27, 2023.
In a petition to the Chairman of U.S. Committee on Foreign Relations, Robert Menendez, Fein urged the committee to make a recommendation to President Joe Biden to impose sanctions against President Buhari and Malami for gross violations of internationally recognised human rights against Kanu.
The petition dated October 20, 2022, which was made available to The Guardian yesterday by Kanu’s Special Counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, accused President Buhari and Malami of kidnapping, torture and prolonged arbitrary detention of the IPOB leader.
The petition, which was copied to 15 other Committees of the country, read in part: “I would respectfully urge you individually and collectively to recommend to President Joe Biden that he impose sanctions against President Buhari and Attorney General Malami for gross violations of Mr. Kanu’s internationally recognised human rights under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, 22 U.S.C. 2656.
“The sanctions should include ineligibility for a visa to enter the United States and blocking of all transactions in properties of Mr. Buhari and Mr. Malami in the United States.
“What Nigeria has done to Mr. Kanu is indistinguishable from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Arabian Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman sending thugs abroad to poison, murder, torture, silence and intimidate dissidents to their dictatorial regimes.
“They are a threat to international peace and security and subvert the rule-based international order championed by the United States. To permit President Buhari’s and Attorney General Malami’s thuggery to escape with impunity would be unacceptable”.
According to Fein, “the government’s open and notorious lawlessness has been compounded by its equal scorn for an October 13, 2022, decision by the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, Abuja Judicial Division, holden at Abuja, who among other things, held that Nnamdi Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya by the government of Nigeria was illegal.”
The CNG had in June 2021 dragged the National Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federation to court, asking it to compel the defendants to halt the ongoing constitutional review exercise and in its place, conduct a referendum to determine what determines Nigeria and who populates it.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, who presided over the matter, granted all the motions to allow interested parties to be joined in the suit.
Counsel to CNG, Sufiyanu Gambo, while speaking with journalists after the adjournment, said the court adjourned to January 27, 2023, to take all the applications that would enable his client to have the processes and then respond appropriately.
Gambo said: “We amended all our processes as directed by the court and as other parties have been joined in the suit. So about 16 parties were added between the last hearing and today.
“There are a lot of people who have filed applications to be joined and we are unable to ascertain some of them because we only see them in court introducing their applications to be joined and because we don’t have the processes.”
The spokesperson of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in his remarks, lamented that the suit had suffered too many adjustments.
His words: “We feel the suit has suffered too many adjustments. It has been dragging for about a year now without commencement of hearing. But the delays are about process. The suit is developing into an interesting national issue and we are confident the result would put all agitations to rest.”
Counsel to Ibom Nation People Movement, Adesina Oke, who applied to join the application, disclosed that the Ibom nation agitators were also interested in self-determination.
He said: “It is important that people express themselves; that is why it is very imperative for us to join this suit. We want to be identified on our own; we are different culture and we are different people.”
On his part, the lead counsel for Igbo Nation, Victor Onweremadu, said: “When this suit was instituted, I was purely against it from the beginning. The plaintiff asked the five eastern states to exit from this country. That is the genesis of this suit.
“In the last adjournment, Igbo filed application to be joined in the suit and we are properly joined. One important lesson we should learn from this is that Nigeria is living on the keg of powder, because many Nigerians are not happy. That is why they don’t believe in one Nigeria.”