Aloy Ejimakor, the counsel for the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has asked IPOB members and other supporters of the separatist to attend the agitator’s trial in Abuja on Monday.
He said this in a press statement titled, ‘Security agents must not molest those coming to show solidarity with Kanu’, on Sunday.
He explained that the statement was necessitated by reports that those coming to Abuja to show solidarity with Kanu will be harassed or even arrested by security agents.
Biafran separatist leader Kanu was arrested and brought back to Nigeria after four years on the run.
Kanu heads the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, which agitates for a separate Biafran state for ethnic Igbos in South-East Nigeria.
While Nigerian authorities have not explained how he was arrested, his wife said he was snatched during a business trip to Kenya.
Kanu’s trial for “terrorism” has been set for Monday, July 26.
The statement read, “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 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.
“Above is the fulcrum of every other crime the Nigerian government is alleging against Kanu. Therefore, once government recognizes that the enterprise upon which Kanu is engaged is expressly recognized or protected by laws, it will see that dialogue, not trials and violence, is the only legal pathway to containing it.
“I am saying this because the same Law that legalizes self-determination also requires the government to accommodate it. Article 1 of that Law provides that Nigeria “shall recognise the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in the Charter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to give effect to them”.
“Further, subjecting Kanu to any trial under the circumstances of his extraordinary rendition will face lots of legal challenges. So, what is expected on Monday is not a trial but what Lawyers call ‘taking a plea’ or a re-arraignment on the amended Charges that might be brought.
“Should that happen, the procedure permits taking an adjournment to study the new Charges for the purpose of advising the defendant on the next steps.
“So, there’s nothing significant that will happen on Monday that warrants anybody, including the government, to be jittery.”