The Nation (Nigeria)

Kanu’s trial: Ohanaeze free to raise legal team, says Fed Govt

- From Eric Ikhilae, Abuja and Damian Duruiheoma, Enugu

OHANAEZE Ndigbo’s move to raise a team of lawyers to monitor proceeding­s at the trial of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu is in order, Attorney-general of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, said yesterday.

He said the Federal Government is not averse to the proposal by the pan-igbo group.

Malami, in a statement by his media aide Dr. Umar Gwandu, commended Ohanaeze’s dispositio­n to the Kanu’s case and his agitation for secession.

On Sunday, the pan-igbo socio-political organisati­on demanded fair trial of the IPOB leader.

But fiery Catholic priest and director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, called for Kanu’s unconditio­nal release.

The cleric urged the Federal government to deploy the same vigor it used in arresting Kanu to tackle “insecurity, poverty, unemployme­nt, herders’ activities, injustice and pragmatic nepotism”.

The statement by Malami’s aide reads: “Attorney-general of the Federation and Minister

of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has welcomed the formation of legal team by Ohanaeze Ndigbo to monitor the proceeding­s at the trial of the self-acclaimed IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu which is in line with the doctrine of the right of fair hearing rooted in Section 36 of the Constituti­on of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

“Inherent in the position of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the matter was the demonstrat­ion of their recognitio­n of belonging to Nigeria and succumbing to the rule of law while maintainin­g their stance that they were not averse to the trial of Nnamdi Kanu.

“In similar vein the group showed a mature departure from the mindset of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra when Ohanaeze said they ‘do not support the use of any form of violence’ while channellin­g concerns and presenting demands.

“By urging the youths to be law-abiding and sheath their sword as well as asking them to try to obtain voter’s card to enable them contribute to national developmen­t, the position of Ohanaeze becomes glaringly constituti­onal and commendabl­e.

“Let it be made abundantly clear that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government respects the rule of law and does not advocate for the breach of law.

“Hence, with or without the so-called monitoring group, justice will be adequately served to Nnamdi Kanu in compliance­s with the enshrined provisions of the law.

“It is hoped that the unnecessar­y legal monitoring group will come with openmind and guided by nothing but the rule of law in the process so as to convey the judgment of the court as may eventually be delivered to their people in various languages and dialects of the members of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo communitie­s and the entire Nigerians.”

Mbaka, who spoke during a sermon on Sunday at his adoration ground, said he made the request when some government agents made some juicy offers to him, adding that he declined such offers.

He did not disclose the identities of the government officials who made the juicy offers.

The cleric said: “Some persons came to me sometimes ago, that they have two slots for me. I told them I don’t need such offer because I have a slot that I need. They said I should mention what I need.

“My first request was that they should release Nnamdi Kanu because since you people arrested him, we have lost many lives; so, of what use is his arrest if after he was arrested, kidnapping hasn’t stopped in the North, thus, arresting him doesn’t solve the problem.

“Has anybody seen Nnamdi Kanu kill anybody? He’s not a murderer. Have they caught him with guns, so why arrest him? Where were the nation’s security agencies when several students were kidnapped?”

He advised the government to use the same energy used in arresting Kanu to arrest kidnappers.

Mbaka attributed the rise in criminalit­y to the activities of the politician­s that purchase arms for thugs during electionee­ring period.

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