Aba residents, lawyers demand immediate release of Kanu
The judgement of the Appeal Court, Abuja, which discharged Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was received with joy, by residents of Aba, Abia State, who appealed to the Federal Government to ensure his immediate release.
This is also as Igbo lawyers under the auspices of Igbo Lawyers Association, described the judgement as monumental.
The court of Appeal in Abuja, ruled that the rendition of Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya was illegal. It also directed that the accused be discharged.
Victor Onweremmadu, immediate past vice chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Aba branch, urged the Federal Government to respect the order of the court and release Kanu.
Onweremmadu, who is presently a member of the General Council of the Bar and the coordinator of Igbo Lawyers Association, affirmed that refusal by the government to allow Kanu go, would be contemptuous.
Analysing the judgement, he said by the pronouncement of the appellate court, Nnamdi Kanu is a free man.
He said the court has made it clear that the process of bringing Kanu to Nigeria from Kenya was illegal and the trial at the Federal High Court was riddled with illegalities because there’s no basis to try him here when the process used in bringing him here was illegal.
“The Nigerian government is a signatory to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) convention and other conventions. You cannot build something on nothing and expect it to stand”.
Based on that, he said from the beginning that the foundation of the case brought against Kanu was bad, noting that the trial has collapsed, because the procedure used in bringing him here is illegal.
He expressed surprise at the statement issued by the office of the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malawi, which stated that the court merely discharged Nnamdi Kanu, but not acquitted him.
“Some of us marvel sometimes about what Abubakar Malami usually says as an attorney- general. He is supposed to be the chief law officer here, but his utterances sometimes marvel many of us.
“From the beginning, the Nigerian government had already flouted the law. There’s nothing to go back to, as far as this case is concerned. They’ve already messed things up for themselves. It’s all over.
“The Nigerian government has already committed a foul, a crime. So, they can’t say they want to start extradition, to go back here or there. There’s nothing like that.”
He stated that the court is the interpreter of the law and has told the government that it’s wrong and that’s the truth.
“Even if they want to appeal, Nnamdi Kanu must go home first. This is not a civil matter where you say you want to file a stay of execution. You don’t file a stay of execution on a criminal matter. This one is to let him go and you must allow him to go”.
He also affirmed that refusal by the Federal Government to allow Kanu to go will be contemptuous.
“It is contempt of court. How can you say you’re a law officer, but you don’t want to operate by the law?
“Is Nigeria a Banana Republic? This is a country that has a law and the law of the land has just been interpreted by a competent court.
“Is the Federal Government the owner of Nigeria? Is the Federal Government the law? The law of the land has said what is written in it and nobody has any right to go against that law. Under which law will they hold Nnamdi Kanu, when the Nigerian law has said they should release him?
He continued: “If there was an extradition request from Nigeria to Kenya, Kenya would have arrested Nnamdi Kanu legally with their security force, take him to court, where he’ll be represented, by his lawyers.
“It is that court that’ll now rule if he should be extradited. It’s only when that is done that you’ll extradite him. You cannot just abduct someone and push him down to Nigeria to face trial. Court orders must be obeyed.
“This is a judgement of the Court of Appeal of Nigeria. It’s not just any court. So whoever doesn’t obey the Court of Appeal, be it a president or attorney-general of the federation, that person doesn’t deserve the position. In fact, if the president fails to obey that court order, it’s an impeachable offence and for the attorney-general, it’s a contempt of the court and he can go to prison for that.
“In some climes, the president should even remove the attorney-general, who disobeyed court orders.
On behalf of Igbo Lawyers, he expressed excitement, describing the court’s position as a welcome development.
He said that Igbo were actively involved in the case and never shied away from it right from the outset.