We, the members of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team ably led by my humble self, wish to bring to the attention of the public of interesting developments in this Case, since our Client was abducted in Kenya on the 19th Day of June, 2021, and consequently extraordinarily rendered to Nigeria. His subsequent secret appearance in Court on the 29th day of June, 2021, and his non-production in Court on the 26th day of July, 2021, as well as what we expect in Court on the 21st day of October 2021.
This press briefing became compelling against the backdrop of the seven-count smokescreen Amended Charge filed against our Client last week Friday, after waiting for the over-advertised/hyped amendment for over three (3) months.
You may recall that upon the abduction of our Client in Kenya on the 19th Day of June, 2021, and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria afterwards, he was secretly brought to Court on the 29th day of June, 2021, without our knowledge.
We, his lawyers were not notified of the proceedings of the 29th June, 2021, hence, our unavoidable absence. The matter was consequently adjourned to the 26th day of July, 2021, for commencement of hearing.
This matter then came up on the 26th day of July, 2021, for commencement of hearing in the case, but our Client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was not produced in Court, neither was there any plausible convincing reason(s) for his absence in Court on that day. An action which was in flagrant violation of Court Order made by His Lordship – Hon. Justice Nyako, for him to be brought to Court on that 26th Day of July, 2021.
Furthermore, in view of the long adjournment of the case already on record, a decision which we believed may have been informed by the annual court’s vacation which commenced during the said period, and in view of the Court’s disposition to hear the matter during the vacation, we applied to the Hon. Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for issuance of a Fiat, to enable His Lordship to proceed with the hearing on the case.
This application was considered on its merit, and the Honourable Chief Judge in his wisdom, consequently granted our application for Fiat. Approval of this request by the Honourable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court was communicated to all parties in the case, including the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation vide the office of the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation.
Despite being served with the approval for FIAT, and schedule for court’s sitting on the case during the period under reference, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution deliberately failed, neglected and/or refused to present any of his representatives to honour the invitation for an agreement on a convenient date for the trial to commence on the authority of the Fiat, even after several reminders.
The hard fact we are compelled to swallow today, is that despite the approval for Fiat duly given by the Honourable Chief Judge, and the readiness expressed by the court even in the open court, to proceed with the hearing once Fiat is granted, the Federal Government of Nigeria absconded from Court.
As the world is now aware, tomorrow, being the 21st day of October, 2021, is the date on record, collectively agreed in open Court by all parties for the commencement of hearing in our Client’s case, we therefore, demand as follows;
- That tomorrow, being the 21st day of October, 2021 should be sacrosanct. Our Client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu MUST and SHALL be produced in Court to face his trial. Thankfully, the Learned Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, has though belatedly filed a 7-Count Amended Charge, along with an affidavit of completion of investigation, so there is no excuse or place to hide whatsoever again to justify doing the contrary.
- That Security Agents ostensibly to be deployed to man the Court and its environs, or detailed to provide security on this 21st day of October, 2021, should be manifestly civil in their conduct towards the civilian populace who are expected to throng the Court in their numbers in solidarity.
It is on record today, that over 20 persons all of Ebonyi state indigenes/extraction, including a Lawyer, who were in court on the 26th day of July, 2021, to witness the hearing on this case were intercepted and arrested on their way back home, at Lokoja by the Nigerian Security Agents, and till date, they are still being held in various detention facilities of the Nigerian Security Agents without access to their lawyers and family members. Though we have commenced legal action in court against the Security formations still detaining them in their various detention facilities.
This is indeed, how low the State can go in gross violation of citizen’ rights without these infractions being accounted for. But, be assured that justice will prevail for these dehumanised citizens in the end.
It is therefore, to be noted that court premises, particularly the court-room is not a barrack or police station where rules of engagement are treated with levity, and people subjected to all forms of inhuman treatment. We wish to note very strongly, that the atmosphere of fear, molestation, intimidation and harassment of civilians in and around the court premises should be jettisoned, as many foreign observers have arrived the country to witness this all important trial of a political prisoner.
- We wish to remind the Security Agents that it was in a period such as this in 2015 and 2016 respectively, that citizens who merely came out in their numbers for show of solidarity with our Client on the day he was brought to Court, were massacred in their numbers at Ngwa National High School Aba, Abia State; Afor Nkpor, Onitsha Head-bridge, and Ziks Avenue in Anambra State.
We do not want a repeat of such gory incident, particularly now that people have chosen to remain indoors on this date in solidarity with our Client.
- We also wish to state that the current tension and regular Monday sit-at-home being observed by our people in the South East, despite the exercise being called off by our Client’s peaceful movement, is steadily gaining momentum because our people are yet to see and believe that our Client Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is still alive.
This suspicion was further fueled by his non-production in Court on the 26th day of July, 2021, for no tangible reason. Our people’s demand for his unconditional release from custody is a well-informed position, which the Government at the center, currently persecuting Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should give a listening ear to, and speedily activate the process towards his freedom, as he has committed no offence known to law.
- That the Security Agents should avoid any situation that will result to any form of maltreatment to the Lawyers in court (whose constituency is that very court), the media, or those that will be attending Court in solidarity with our Client.
The World is watching. The show of shame openly demonstrated by the overzealous Security Agents on the 26th day of July, 2021. should never repeat itself.
- We demand for justice, fair hearing/trial and fair play, which will not only be done in the open Court but manifestly be seen to have been done by an average person watching from close proximity.
On this note; arrest, molestation, rough handling and maltreatment of harmless civilians and sympathizers who are to be in court in show of solidarity, should not be allowed.
We also, wish to advise our Client’s supporters to bear in mind that not everybody will be able to access the court room on this day. Hence, wherever you find yourselves within the court’s environment, you all must remain civil in your conduct, as you have always been, and continue to supplicate to God Almighty even as the trial goes on.
Further note that our Objection to the competency or otherwise of the newly amended 7-count charge is now before the Court, and we believe most strongly that there shall be light at the end of the tunnel.
We thank you all for being part of this briefing while promising you all that victory shall be ours, and justice shall prevail in the end.
Thank you all and remain blessed. With love from all of us in the legal team.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Esq.
Lead Counsel to Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu/IPOB
20th October, 2021.