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Traditional, religious leaders in urge court to affirm Kanu’s, others’ rights

By Chris Irekamba and Silver Nwokoro (Lagos) and Osiberoha Osibe (Awka)
15 November 2021   |   4:09 am
The South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops have urged the court to affirm the fundamental rights of Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyers, and other stakeholders.

[FILES] Men of the Nigeria State Secret Police (SSS) escorts Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu (2nd L), outside the Federal High Court during the trial of the IPOB leader who is facing a 7-count amended charge on alleged treasonable felony and terrorism at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria, on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

• UK-based lawyer seeks termination of IPOB leader’s trial, Malami’s resignation
The South-East Council of Traditional Rulers and representatives of Igbo Archbishops and Bishops have urged the court to affirm the fundamental rights of Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyers, and other stakeholders.

They said that failure to do so would lend weight to the suspicion in some quarters of a planned secret trial, as well as neutralise all the efforts being made to establish peace in the region.

In the statement jointly signed by His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna; Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, and His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Chibuzo Opoko (JP), the traditional and religious leaders said they were disturbed by the persistent complaints by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) legal team about their encounter with the Department of State Services (DSS) and, especially, the sad events, which occurred during Kanu’s appearance in court last week.

They stressed that they were relieved that the Anambra State gubernatorial election was conducted without any major incident or breach of the peace.

The leaders also commended the people of Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the security forces, the National Peace Committee, and all actors, who contributed to the successful conduct of the election.

They also acknowledged the statement by the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, in which he affirmed that the Federal Government was open to a political solution to Nnamdi Kanu’s case.

“This statement is in line with the proposal earlier made by this joint body, and other well meaning persons and groups in Nigeria. This body, therefore, eagerly awaits the concrete steps that would be taken in this regard. The joint body acknowledges the roles played by various Igbo organisations and groups on fostering peace in the South-East zone and calls on all to sustain current effort until true peace, based on justice and equity, is achieved in our land,” they stated.

MEANWHILE, a United Kingdom (UK)-based human rights lawyer and activist, Paul Onuachalla, has urged termination of Kanu’s trial on account of the reluctance, failure and refusal of the Federal Government to tackle the issue of extraordinary rendition of the leader of self-determination group from Kenya to Nigeria.

Onuachalla, who stated this in a chat with The Guardian, yesterday, wondered how the Federal Government could purportedly use criminal method of extraordinary rendition to bring Kanu down to Nigeria for criminal trial.

He noted that the case had become messy and should be discarded as there are contending crimes.

According to him, mooting the idea of reconciliation cum political solution was on account of emerging facts that the Federal Government’s seeming connivance in Kanu’s extraordinary rendition is a breach of the IPOB leader’s fundamental human rights and international protocols of which Nigeria is a signatory.