As the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, returns to court today for his trial, his special counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, has called on security agencies not to arrest or prevent any of his supporters from coming to court to show their solidarity.
Kanu, who was standing trial before the court had jumped bail, but was re-arrested and brought back to Nigeria to face his trial.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had at a joint press briefing in Abuja, with the DSS, disclosed that international collaborative efforts with security agencies led to Mr. Kanu’s arrest and repatriation to Nigeria.
Kanu and his co-defendant are facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Kanu fled the country in September 2017, after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.
The Nigerian government obtained a court order on September 20, 2017, to designate IPOB as a terrorist group and to proscribe it.
Following the development, Justice Nyako had ordered the re-arrest of Kanu after revoking the bail granted to him.
She explained that the court gave the order because Mr. Kanu had failed to appear in court after his bail was granted in April 2017.
In a statement in Abuja, yesterday, his special counsel, Ejimakor, warned security agencies against preventing his supporters from coming to court to show solidarity.
He said: “Let me make it clear that while I am not calling on people or Kanu’s supporters to throng Abuja for the hearing on Monday, it’s important to state that anybody who wishes to come is not doing anything illegal, provided such a person comes in peace.
Kanu’s trial is an open trial, not a secret trial and he’s presumed innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, anybody wishing to be associated with his trial by being present in Abuja is protected by his Constitutional right to freedom of association and movement.
So, my message to all supporters of Kanu and even to the Nigerian government is simple, and that is: Everybody should be strictly guided by the rule of law pertinent to why Nnamdi Kanu is facing these tribulations and trials.
That pertinent rule of law is clearly codified by CAP A9, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, where it is stated at Article 20 that:
“All peoples shall have the right to existence. They shall have the unquestionable and inalienable right to self-determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development, according to the policy they have freely chosen”.