The President of the Igbo apex socio-political organisation,Ohanaeze,Chief John Nwodo,yesterday rejected the planned re-arrest of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu,by the federal government.Federal Attorney-General,Justice Minister Abubakar Malami (SAN),announced on Friday that government had approached a high court to revoke Kanu’s bail for allegedly violating the conditions attached to the bail.But Nwodo,reacting to the AGF’s statement,accused him of bias.He wondered why Malami failed to move against the Arewa youths who gave Igbo residing in the north an October 1 ultimatum to leave.He said Kanu is free as a citizen to hold any point of view no matter how displeasing to anyone,as long as such a view is not inciting or provoking any criminal activities.Nwodo,who made the association’s stance known in a statement in Abuja, warned the AGF against exacerbating the tension in the country.He said: “It has just been brought to my notice that the Attorney-Geneeral of the Federation has approached the courts to incarcerate Nnamdi Kanu for flouting his bail conditions.“I am amazed that the distinguished attorney is prepared to contest the superiority of the provisions of the constitution on fundamental human rights of freedom of movement and freedom of association over an erroneous judicial proclamation violating those rights.“I am equally miffed by the audacity with which the Attorney-General displays his bias without regard to his oath of office.“A few hours ago under the watchful eyes of the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and in total defiance of the Head of State’s proclamation of the rights of a citizen of Nigeria to live anywhere in Nigeria and to do business anywhere in Nigeria.
The Arewa youths,pretending to withdraw their quit notice gave qualifications to the president’s proclamation,issuing conditions for enjoyment of citizenship status.”He added: “These same Arewa Youths are supposed to have been arrested on the orders of the Governor of Kaduna State and the Inspector General of Police for acts of treason, conversion and sedition.“As the Chief Law officer of the Federation the Attorney-General looks the other way.He does not go to court to seek an order of arrest or prosecution.“Nnamdi,as a citizen of Nigeria,is free to hold any point of view no matter how displeasing to anyone so long as it is not inciting or provoking any criminal activities.”Nwodo said although he and some Igbo leaders had disagreed with Kanu and Radio Biafra on a number of issues,they have upheld his right to differ in the spirit of democracy.He warned the AGF against aggravating the tension in the country by re-arresting the IPOB leader.He said:“I and some Igbo leaders have differences of opinion with Nnamdi on a number of issues.We have been insulted and abused by Radio Biafra but we concede them their right to differ from us.
We concede them their nature to be exuberant as youths but we cannot be judgmental about their rights.“This is a democracy.In democracies leaders are abused,pelted with rotten eggs and booed at,as the former Edo State Governor was booed in Abuja a few days ago.These acts are not necessarily criminal.“I urge the Attorney-General not to exacerbate our already tense nation by commencing a legal action which portrays him as biased,insensitive and misdirected.”
The federal government wants the Federal High Court, Abuja, to revoke the April 25 bail granted Kanu for allegedly breaching the conditions attached to the bail.Besides,government also requests an order directing Kanu’s arrest and committing him to custody pending trial as well as any such order the court may deem fit in the circumstance.Kanu is facing trial for alleged offences of conspiracy to commit acts of treasonable felony and other related offences.
“The offence for which he is standing trial is not ordinarily bailable but due to the magnanimity of the court and its quest for justice and fairness,he was granted bail on health grounds,” Malami said through his spokesman,Salihu Isah.“Among the other conditions for his bail is that he should not be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people and he should not grant any interviews,hold or attend any rallies.“And that he should file in court,medical updates of his health status every month.But rather than observing all of the conditions listed above,Kanu,in flagrant disobedience to the court order, flouted all conditions of the bail.”According to the government,Kanu has in furtherance to the offence he was charged,inaugurated a so called Biafra Security Service,an act it describes as grave threat to national security and unity of the country.In a separate statement, the Kanu led IPOB said the federal government was out of order by moving for Kanu’s re-arrest.Spokesman for the group,Emma Powerful said in a statement in Owerri that “threats and more threats heaped upon intimidation after intimidation do not wash with IPOB.“Merely asserting that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a threat to the Nigerian government,”according to Powerful,is not a crime unless accompanied by legally definable crime or offence.“Before Buhari decides to make a move to arrest our leader,he must first go to court to obtain a court order or else it will be resisted by millions of IPOB members.“Federal government must do exactly what IPOB did,after all the matter is before a court of competent jurisdiction. When IPOB complained about the inhumane bail conditions,we were advised to approach the court for variation.“Whatever issue government of Buhari has with our leader Kanu must first be presented before Justice Binta Nyako’s court for determination.“Nnamdi Kanu is spiritually and mentally prepared for this epic battle.He is not afraid of being locked up without trial as long as his personal physician will be allowed to visit and attend to his medical needs.
“The Federal Government must also state where it is written in the 1999 Constitution that being in a crowd of more than 10 people,calling for election and attending rallies is a crime.Our teams of local and international lawyers are following the developments closely.That Nigeria is dangerously close to the brink of collapse today is a direct result of the first illegal arrest and detention of Kanu,arresting him again will plunge Nigeria into an unimaginable crisis.“We are peacefully agitating for our independent homeland for the people of Biafra.We have engaged in any armed conflict of any sort,we have not called for the expulsion of any ethnic group,neither have we declared any state within a state. Nigerian government must explain which law of the land has been violated to justify their move to re-arrest our leader.”Kanu’s lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor,had told News at the weekend that his client had “successfully challenged the bail conditions referred to by the government.”He was quoted as saying:“Though we intend to file a formal response to their most misconceived motion,it is my position that it does not lie in the power of the AG to ask for the revocation of the bail granted to my client.The prosecution can’t be seen at the same time as the persecutors.“We have successfully challenged the bail terms we considered offensive to our clients constitutionally guaranteed rights. So their recent application is belated.“Section 169 of the ACJA being relied upon by the AG can’t avail the Attorney General absolute power to ask for the revocation of bail.Parties must be heard on the merit by the court.”
Ejiofor described the alleged security outfit created by Kanu as a “mere group” formed in the exercise of the citizen’s constitutional right.Kanu’s bail conditions preclude him from joining a crowd exceeding 10 people;granting press interviews;holding or attending rallies; and monthly filing in court medical updates of his health status.