• Says its ‘unfathomable
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described as a monumental injustice the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. 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.
HURIWA in a statement on Sunday by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, also criticised Justice Binta Murtallah Nyako for bragging that the Federal High Court room is hers.
Onwubiko said the judge’s statement that she can do whatever or issue whatever order she deems appropriate is illegal and absolutely non-permissible by law.
The rights group reminded Justice 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.
HURIWA said 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.
This, he said will lead to satisfying the intentions of President Buhari who has on many occasions in the media passed a verdict against Mr. Kanu, his co-accused 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 Kanu is reminiscent of kangaroo trial process.
Onwubiko said this process used during the brutal dictatorships 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.
Part of the statement read: “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,” Onwubiko said.
“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 said that the IPOB leader, who is currently facing trial alongside three other Biafra agitators, Messer Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi publicly made the allegation on the very day he was denied bail by Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
The trial Judge 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,” the statement read.
The group asked that said the trial of Kanu 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.