Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, speaking through his lawyer said that President Buhari’s comment during a presidential media chat has made him to be treated like a political prisoner. He believes that the judge’s actions carry the weight of what is equivalent to political persecution.
According to Wikipedia,
“A political prisoner is someone imprisoned because they have opposed or criticized the government responsible. The term is used by persons or groups challenging the legitimacy of the detention of a prisoner. Supporters of the term define a political prisoner as someone who is imprisoned for his or her participation in political activity. If a political offense was not the official reason for detention, the term would imply that the detention was motivated by the prisoner’s politics.”
Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, at a media briefing in Abuja, cited a comment he said was credited to President Buhari during his recent visit to the Emir of Katsina. Ejiofor. He alleged that the comment President Buhari made during a presidential media chat was the reason trial Justice John Tsoho denied his client and two other pro-Biafra agitators bail.
“The moment the President pronounced to the world that Kanu cannot be granted bail by any court, he made my client a political prisoner, and the media chat inadvertently prejudiced the judge’s mind.”
IPOB has in the recent past expressed dismay at the way the court proceedings have been handled both by the judges and the DSS. They accused both parties of allowing themselves to be used for the perversion of justice. This comes as a Federal High Court in Abuja prepares to begin hearing on a case brought by the IPOB against the Federal Government.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja has slated June 21 to commence hearing on N8.5 billion suit. IPOB is seeking damages and compensation for deceased and injured members it claimed were “wickedly and brutally killed by combined forces of the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Nigerian Police.” IPOB, through its lawyer Mr. Okere Kingdom, told the court that about 153 of its members were killed during a peaceful protest in Onitsha, Aba and other parts of the South-East and South-South of Nigeria late last year and early this year. It said that over 50 of them sustained various degrees of injuries during a peaceful protest for the release of its detained leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
Meanwhile, the Leader of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, during the weekend pledged his support to any self-determination group so long as they operate non-violently. He also hailed the emergence of the Niger Delta Avengers in the South-South to agitate for its own republic and not just resource control, as a step in the right direction.
Uwazuruike speaking through the Biafra Director of Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, said that the anger which led him to demand for Biafra since September 13 1999, was not necessarily provoked by the Olusegun Obasanjo regime or President Muhammadu Buhari’s latest assault on Ndigbo. He traced them to the historic relationship between Ndigbo and the rest of Nigerians since the January 15, 1966 Chukwuma Nzeogwu-led military coup.
Uwazuruike also said that the insurgency in the North, herdsmen menace in South East, high rate of corruption by Nigerian political leaders, inflation, disrespect for the rule of law, devaluation of the naira, fuel hike which have brought hardship, among others, make Biafra actualization potentially easier. He also found the dismissiveto stand of the Nigeria’s President on Biafra, stressing that the United Nations, UN which Nigeria is signatory superseded his personal opinion in such matters. He added that a relevant charter of UN had recognized the right of indigenous people to self-determination, urging his MASSOB/BIM to disregard such outdated statement.