Rights groups decry alleged intimidation of judges by IPOB
• Abia court adjourns Kanu’s rights enforcement application
The Conference of Harmonised Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria (COHCSON) has raised the alarm over alleged move by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to compel judges to do their bidding.
At a press conference in Abuja, the group, led by Mr. Oduma Richard Oduma, claimed IPOB has already instituted a N5 billion case at the Abia State High Court, Umuahia, where a judge could, out of fear of harassment, grant their plea.
The group appealed to judges and lawyers to resist the temptation to betray their oath of office and stick to the law in the interest of the country.
The group urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to sanction erring judges, saying it behoves authorities to stop the secessionists from undermining the integrity of the courts.
“It has become obvious that IPOB intends to use its violence-stricken sit-at-home enforcement style to force the judges do their bidding. No amount of inducement should entice any patriot to endanger the lives of over 200 million Nigerians. Judges and lawyers who administer justice should be reminded that the survival of nations depends on the patriotism of their citizens,” it said.
Meanwhile, amid heavy presence of security agents, the Abia State High Court, yesterday, adjourned the suit by IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, seeking the enforcement of his fundamental rights.
The suit, filed by Kanu’s counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, on August 27, 2021, was heard the second time, yesterday, by vacation judge, Justice K.C.J. Okereke.
The judge ruled that he would return the case to the state’s Chief Judge, Onuoha Ogwe, since he would not be able to dispose off the case within his remaining nine days as vacation judge.
After the session, Ejimakor expressed confidence in the capacity of the court to uphold the provisions of the law by granting Kanu leave to enforce his rights.
He noted: “There is an unbroken chain of Federal Government’s violations of Kanu’s constitutional rights that started with the lethal military invasion of his country home in Umuahia, his flight to safety in 2017, and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in late June 2021.
“At today’s hearing, it emerged that, of the eight respondents, only two – the Department of State Services (DSS) in Abuja and Umuahia – filed their reply to the suit, even as their processes were filed out of time.”
He said nothing was received from the other six respondents that include the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigerian Army and others.