The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has faulted the resolution reached by Justice John Tsoho of the Abuja Federal High Court, in refusing to grant bail to their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, saying it is a planned denial of the right of the entire South Easterners. Mr. Emma Powerful, the IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, noted that daily, the current All Progressive Congress (APC) administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari, keeps making it clear to the world that it lacks respect for the rule of law and orders issued by competent court of law.
He questioned why in a country like Nigeria, people will not be permitted to participate in peaceful demonstrations and protests, wondering if it will be a better option for them to be involved in violent protests, shooting and throwing bombs like the Boko Haram terrorists. In the words of Mr. Powerful;
“We are being pushed to the walls, our members who were engaged in peaceful protest in Aba, Abia state and Port Harcourt Rivers State were shot by the Army and taken to Military barracks in Afikpo, Ebonyi State and Bori camp in Rivers State with bullet wounds.
“The victims are undergoing torture and other inhuman treatments, as they bring them out every morning, torture and engage them in all manners of hard labours and ask them about their missing guns as if IPOB members carry guns.
“We do not carry guns and do not intent to carry in the nearest future, we are therefore calling on Amnesty International, all human rights organizations and the international community to prevail on the Nigerian government respect the rule of law and the orders of the courts, as at the last count our members arrested in Aba are 25 while those in Port Harcourt are 18 in number, totaling 43 people detained in the two Army barracks in Ebonyi and rivers States respectively.”
Similarly, the United Kingdom branch of the IPOB has criticised the reasons for which Hon. Justice John Tsoho of the Abuja Federal High Court, Abuja, refused to honour the bail application of the IPOB leader and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
In a statement endorsed by Mr. Emma Nmezu, the spokesperson for IPOB in United Kingdom, a lawyer, and Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya, IPOB said Justice Tsoho had three reasons for denying Mr. Kanu bail. The reasons as written in Vanguard are:
“ that Mazi Kanu was a threat to national security, secondly, that if released, he might commit the same offence again and thirdly, that there was a probability that Nnamdi Kanu might jump bail because he possessed dual citizenship.
“While the first and the third reasons are very clear, but unsustainable statements, we are at loss with the second reason and do not know exactly what the Justice meant by ‘might commit the same offense again’.
“To the best of our knowledge, Mazi Kanu has not even been tried in the court , let alone talk of being convicted. Therefore, we do not understand the offence he was found guilty of committing and for which he will likely commit again if released, according to Justice Tsoho.
“Is it a possibility that the Justice Tsoho misspoke or that he never actually uttered this travesty of a statement. On the first reason adduced, we are yet to get detailed information on what the Judge meant by “threat to national security” because we know that Mazi Kanu is not associated with Boko Haram or any terrorist organization. Again, we are pushed to believe that Justice Tsoho misspoke,” said IPOB.
“We are however shocked on the third reason, to hear that a denial of bail will be based on the accused person’s dual citizenship. Even though the Judge did not mention the other country to which Nnamdi Kanu is a citizen, we know he was referring to Britain.
“But we also know that there is extradition agreement between Nigeria and Britain and extraditing Mazi Kanu to Nigeria, should he flee to Britain will not be a problem for the Nigerian government. Therefore, we conclude that the judgment of Justice Tsoho is inappropriate, biased, wrong, and must be overturned by an Appeal Court Judge.”
However, the Biafran issue has drawn international attention as there were reports yesterday that Goran Sluiter, a lawyer at Dutch Human Rights Legal firm Prakken d’Oliveira, filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on Friday, January 29 against President Buhari.
Sluiter told journalists that there has been “an intensification of violence and crimes committed against Biafrans since Mr. Buhari became the Nigerian president.”