Aloy Ejimakor, lawyer to the detained Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has called on members and supporters of the group to attend the trial of the separatist leader, scheduled for today in Abuja.
Ejimakor made the call in a statement he issued yesterday.
According to him, the message is important following reports that the Department of State Services (DSS) intends to embarrass and arrest people who attempt to enter the Federal High Court, Abuja, to show their support for the IPOB leader.
He insisted that the trial of Kanu is an open and not a secret trial, adding that those wishing to attend the trial are guaranteed by the constitution to do so.
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.”.
In another development related to the case, the DSS has barred a number of media organisations from covering the resumed trial of Kanu on Monday.
The media organisations denied access to cover the trial include The Punch, The Guardian, Vanguard, Daily Trust, Tribune, Daily Sun, The Cable, and Daily Times, among others.
Those accredited to cover the trial are Daily Post, ThisDay, Premium Times, The Nation, Daily Independent, The Herald, National Television Authority, Television Continental, African Independent Television and Channels Television.
Kanu, who jumped bail in 2017, was re-arrested and subsequently repatriated to Nigeria on 27 June “through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services”, according to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He is facing 11 charges bordering on treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms among others.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on 29 June and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned till July 26 and July 27.