The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, on Monday welcomed the legal team set up by the Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo, to monitor the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.
But the AGF also described the monitoring as unnecessary expressing hope that the group would be open-minded and guided by the rule of law in the process.
“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,” a statement by Mr Malami’s spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, read in part.
Binta Nyako, a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja where Mr Kanu is being prosecuted on charges of treasonable felony, fixed July 26 for continuation of Mr Kanu’s trial.
The statement however added that, “It is hoped that the unnecessary legal monitoring group will come with open-mind 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.”
Mr Malami had on June 29 announced the rearrest of Mr Kanu and his return to Nigeria about four years after fleeing from his treasonable felony trial.
The IPOB leader who holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, fled Nigeria in September 2017 after soldiers invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Abia State, during an anti-Biafra military operation in the South-east region.
Mr Kanu was on bail granted him by the Federal High Court in Abuja where he was being prosecuted over his separatist activities when he fled the country.
Mr Malami, announcing the return of Mr Kanu to Nigeria on June 29, said “recent steps taken by the Federal Government saw to the interception of the fugitive Kanu on Sunday, June 27, 2021.”
He refused to give details of how and where Mr Kanu, known to be residing in the U.K. was arrested.
The U.K. government has since clarified that he was not arrested in its territory, but media reports, his lawyers and family members, have indicated he was controversially arrested in Kenya.
The government produced him before the trial court in Abuja on June 29 with the judge ordering his remand in the custody of the State Security Service (SSS) and adjourning his trial till July 26.
‘Buhari respects rule of law, Kanu will get justice’
Meanwhile, the AGF, reacting to Ohaneze’s position on the matter, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government “respects the rule of law and does not advocate for the breach of law”.
He therefore promised that Mr Kanu would get justice in his trial with or without the Ohaneze’s monitoring team.
“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,” the statement added.
The AGF also said this “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 mindset of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra when Ohanaeze said they ‘do not support the use of any form of violence’ while channeling 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.”
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