Biafra: We’re Open To Political Solution – Nnamdi Kanu’s Legal Team

The legal representatives of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, stated on Friday, that they would consider the adoption of a political solution to resolve the protracted case between their client and the Federal Government.

The lawyers, led by Kanu’s special counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, stressed that section 17 of the Federal High Court Act, empowered the trial judge to recommend reconciliation, otherwise referred to as “political solution” for the resolution of such matters.

“The provision of that section is not limited to civil matters alone. So, anyone that puts the issue on the table, we will consider it. Political solution makes better sense than prosecution.

“However, it is for the government to put it on the table, then we will consider it. Having said that, our duty first is to defend him and not to play politics. Right now, what is on our table is to fight for his defence.

“If they bring that option to the table and our client gives us the instruction, we will go for it,” Ejimakor told newsmen.

Citing cases of the freed Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, and that of social rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, Kanu’s lawyer said he was hopeful that the President Bola Tinubu-led administration would adopt a new approach to handle the matter, different from what was done by his predecessor.

“We urge President Tinubu to carefully review this case which he inherited from the past administration and see if it was not politically motivated.

“Our client did not deserve the travail and tribulations he has been forced to endure. Sometimes, we do wonder what made his case unique. People wonder if it is because of where he hails from that made his case different,” Kanu’s counsel added.

Besides, Ejimakor berated the prosecution for not granting the embattled IPOB leader the facility to adequately prepare his defence to the charge.

He alleged that the Department of State Services, DSS, has continued to either deny the defendant access to his lawyers or to monitor his private conversations.

“We have concern about the privacy of our conversations. There was a day I was speaking with my client, in company of a colleague, and they took secret photographs of us. We were surprised when they later mistakenly filed that photo in court.

“When we visit him (Kanu), we whisper in fear, afraid that someone may be secretly recording the entire discussion.

“Under the present circumstance, our hope of getting a fair trial is zero. There is no way that Kanu can get a fair trial under the present condition of his detention. It is impossible,” Ejimakor insisted.

He said the team has inline with the judgement of the Supreme Court that referred Kanu back to the high court for the continuation of his trial, filed a fresh application to restore his previous bail and the conditions attached thereto.

Ejimakor noted that the Supreme Court had in its verdict, faulted the revocation of the bail that was previously granted to the IPOB leader by the trial court.

He added that the apex court had also faulted the trial court for issuing a warrant of arrest against Kanu, when his escape from the country was as a result of the invasion of his home by security agents.

“The Supreme Court itself observed that there was manifest misrepresentation of facts that misled the trial court. Kanu deserves adequate facilities to defend himself,” he added.

On his part, another member of the legal team, Mr. Jude Ugwuanyi, recalled how he was repeatedly denied access to the IPOB leader at his detention center.

“Each time we make effort to see him, we are restrained by the DSS. Meanwhile section 36 of the Constitution, as amended, says that a defendant is entitled to have a lawyer of his choice.

“If we go there with documents, they are seized from us, photocopied or even not returned back to us again. Even when we want to take note while speaking with our client, they will tell us that there is a number of pages we can write from what our client tells us.

“If they allow us access as required by law, we will certainly secure his discharge and acquittal,” Ugwuanyi added.

It will be recalled that Kanu who was first arrested in Lagos on October 14, 2015, has been in detention since June 29, 2021.

Trial Justice Binta Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health ground, after he had spent about 18 months in detention.

Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison.

However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the death of some of his followers.

Kanu was later re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021 and extraordinarily renditioned back to the country by security agents on June 27, 2021.

Following the development, the trial court, on June 29, 2021, remanded him in custody of DSS, where he remained till date.

On April 8, 2022, the court struck out eight out of the 15-count charge that FG preferred against him on the premise that they lacked substance.

Likewise, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s immediate release from detention even as it quashed the charge against him.

The appellate court said it was satisfied that FG flagrantly violated all known laws, when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.

It held that such arbitrary use of power by the Nigerian government, divested the trial court of the jurisdiction to further try the Appellant.

Dissatisfied with the decision, FG took the matter before the Supreme Court, even as it persuaded the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgement, pending the determination of its appeal.

While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court, on December 15, 2023, vacated the judgement of the appellate court and gave FG the nod to try the IPOB leader on the subsisting seven-count charge.

The trial court had fixed April 17 for the continuation of the case.

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