By Favour Goodness
The lawyers of the detained leader of Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, have cautioned to shun divisiveness and avoid being distracted by enemies and government moles.
A statement on Sunday signed by the Board Chairman of Int’l Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Emeka Umeagbalasi said, the advice has become necessary following raging discordant sounds among some of the detained leader’s defense team and strong attempts by suspected agents and moles of the Nigerian government and other enemies to further divide and distract the defense team.
“Our attention was particularly drawn to a recent publication, titled: “Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: A Better Understanding Of What Happened Yesterday In Court” and series of counter replies and reactions that followed and dotted with uncouth and un-lawyerly or unprofessional wordings.
“While there is nothing morally or legally wrong in someone especially if he or she was giving a written account of what happened in court session he or she attended or was physically presence.
“It is morally damning for another to delve into legal issues he or she was not part of, either as a counsel or as an accredited media correspondent covering the court session.
“Ordinarily, false reportage of what transpired in court sitting is clear an act of committing contempt of court.
“Therefore, seriously frowned at was in the article was its Paragraph 5(a) where the writer unprofessionally and condemnably digressed and delved into personal enmity or settlement of personal scores, thereby exposing his or her biasness and grudges and robbing the article of its expected neutrality, credibility and professionalism.
“It was totally wrong for the article to usurp and threaten the right of the detained leader to choose who is who and who represents him among his lawyers including who is a member of his defense team and who among them is the Lead-Counsel.
“Such unprofessional attitude is not only capable of playing into the hostile hands of the prosecuting Nigerian government but also put the defense team in total disarray, quackery and gravely jeopardize their legal services and representation duties thereby creating room for Nigerian government to have its way aimed at convicting the detained leader and his international body corporate at all costs or by any means crookedly necessary.
“These, if allowed, can bring about the continued endangerment and criminalization of the globally recognized and legally backed agitation for self determination especially under UN and AU Systems,” Umeagbalasi said.
He said that the lawyers of the detained leader must therefore remain focused and professional and refuse to be divided and distracted by the hostile state actors and hired or uncomfortable others.
This is more so when they have twice a week access to their client (Nnamdi Kanu) during which they can table their in-practice misunderstandings or grievances including changes, if any, in the representative capacity including who becomes a member of the defense team and its Lead-Counsel. It is our strong call on those distracting the defense team to steer clear and allow them and their client to concentrate. Whoever is appointed the Lead-Counsel must be left to be and the appointing authority, Nnamdi Kanu and his movement allowed their constitutional, international and natural right to do and affirm so.
“Finally, the lawyers to Nnamdi Kanu and his movement must be well lettered and grounded in the internationally, regionally and constitutionally provided legal safeguards and liberties guiding international, regional and local agitation for self determination, on one and recognized legal rights belonging to all citizens in detention or those presumed to be under State prosecution or trial.
“It is extremely important to state boldly and correctly that neither is it contained or found anywhere in the chapter Four of the Constitution nor in the African Charter/International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc for any citizen to be arrested, irrespective of his or her offence gravity, and arraigned in court, only to be dumped in the security custody to languish without diligent prosecution and proper trial.
“Not to talk of brazen denial of access to his lawyers, gathering of defense evidence, as well as ensuring his entitlement to fair hearing and fair trial.
“Ranging from the Chapter Four of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution to African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc, the Nnamdi Kanu’s defense lawyers must be in the know of these provisions which have also become fundamental parts of Nigeria’s democratic process and its body of laws.
Having full knowledge of their availability and operability or practicability will ensure their maximum use by the defense lawyers to compel the Nigerian government to do the needful including honouring its international, regional and constitutional obligations to the citizenry including Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his movement, all in accordance with Section 19 of the 1999 Constitution,” he said.