The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has urged Justice Binta Nyako of an Abuja Federal High Court to drop the treason charges against some of its members.
IPOB said the judge should display same “uncommon courage” she showed in the trial of Boko Haram suspected terrorists.
The separatists group urged the judge to adopt same yardstick used for the terrorists by dismissing the treason charges against its members in her court due to lack of diligent prosecution.
The call was contained in a statement signed by the Head of Directorate of State, IPOB World Headquarters, Langenfeld Germany, Mazi Chika Edoziem.
The group noted that none of its members had taken the life of any Nigerian or committed any act of violence.
Against this backdrop, IPOB said there was no moral or legal justification for the indefinite detention of its members in prisons.
The statement titled, “Justice Binta Murtala- Nyako should do justice to IPOB the same way she did to Boko Haram suspects,” reads: “We believe that what is good for Boko Haram suspects is also good for Biafra activists, who never bombed or killed anybody unlike Boko Haram and herdsmen.
“The IPOB hereby acknowledges Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako for the uncommon courage she demonstrated days ago in dismissing terrorism charges against two Boko Haram suspects on the grounds of lack of diligent prosecution by the office of the AGF.
“We consider this a landmark decision that not only binds her court in all similar cases but should also serve as an example to other courts before whom such prosecutorial misconduct continues unabated, especially with regards to IPOB members including Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawusi, Bright Chimezie Ishinwa and Chidiebere Onwudiwe, who had been languishing in detention since 2015 without trial.
“More particularly, we expect the Hon. Justice before whom charges have been pending against the above IPOB members, and our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to do justice and likewise dismiss the said charges for the following reasons:
“With regard to our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, it is undisputed that he has been ready for trial since he was arrested and charged in 2015 but the prosecution has proved unserious with the trial.
“Instead, it has resorted to the dilatory tactics of filing several applications for amendment of the charges which were all granted by Justice Nyako. And just when it was becoming clear that trial must ensue and no further prosecutorial delay will be entertained, the complainant (Federal Government) resorted to the use of lethal military force to extra-judicially murder Nnamdi Kanu in order to permanently deny him his day in court to prove his innocence.
“As regards the other IPOB patriots charged together with Mazi Kanu, the story is the same and even worse as they have been denied bail and locked up in prison since 2015 while the prosecution continues to demonstrate an abject lack of diligent prosecution through incessant applications for amendment of charges.”
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, yesterday decried how the Federal government handled the issue of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), lamenting that injustice was meted out on them.
He also faulted the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government’s adamancy in refusing to proscribe armed Fulani herdsmen as terrorists.
Speaking at his Abuja residence during an interactive session with a faith-based group, Catholic Singles Forum (CSF), the Archbishop said: “The federal government was quick to declare Biafra agitators as terrorists. But Fulani herdsmen are killing people today and similar action has not been taken against them.”
“If something is not done about the security situation in the country, people will keep losing faith in the government and others might soon pick up arms to defend themselves,” he warned.
DAILY POST recalls that the federal government last year proscribed IPOB following its declaration as a terrorist group.
The Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, has challenged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to deal with killer herdsmen the same way it treated the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The Bishop of the Diocese, Rt Rev. Owen Nwokolo said such step would project the government as being serious about providing Nigerians with adequate, unbiased and nepotism-free security.
He said this while addressing newsmen yesterday in Nnewi, Anambra State.
Nwokolo said: “The killings and murderous activities of herdsmen in Nigeria are enough for the Federal Government to treat them as a more dangerous group than the IPOB and any treatment short of what has been given to IPOB amounts to support of what the herdsmen are doing to Nigerians.
“If the Federal Government fails to sit up and show genuine commitment and readiness in addressing the menace of herdsmen squarely, I urge Nigerians not to trivialize or ignore the call by the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma for them to defend themselves.
“Nigerians should therefore, look at the activities of the herdsmen and the reaction of the armed forces from what retired Lt. Gen. Danjuma said. We have waited for so long for him to say something about the security of the country and the activities of herdsmen.
“Having been the Chief of Army Staff and the Defence Minister and having fought for independence of Nigeria, fought for Nigerian unity during the civil war and always stood for the unity and peace in the country, calling for people to defend themselves means something bad is seriously happening that he could no more ignore and contain.
“Coming up to say Nigerians please defend yourselves, is an indication that there is no more security for the people and we do not expect the government to bring sentiment and politics into it. They should not pretend that all is well or play politics with the statement when they should sit up and address the situation that made a man like Danjuma to make that call and accuse his constituency, the military of taking sides and not doing enough.
“We have seen the way the issue of herdsmen are being handled. It appears the Federal Government is turning deaf ear to the pleas of the people. They feel unconcerned about the killings in different states of the federation, behaving as if nothing will happen because they have the power.
“Nigerians are tired and there is nothing else we can do. We have appealed to the Federal Government to defend the citizens. It appears nothing substantial is happening. It’s not as if the Armed Forces are not making any effort but they have not applied drastic measures that will curb the activities of herdsmen.
“When the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, was reigning and engaging in their protests and rallies, we saw how the government sent different ‘dancers’: the Python dancers, and the Crocodile dancers and what have you. They dealt with the problem but nothing substantial has been done about this one.
“We do not know what else to say other than to ask people to defend themselves but we still appeal to the Federal Government to tackle the matter headlong, because that is the only solution.
“We do not want to believe that the recent directive by the Inspector General of Police to withdraw arms and ammunition from even those who registered with the government whether you call them community vigilante or any name is to make way for more killings by the herdsmen.”
The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has said it will investigate the September 2017 invasion of a community in Abia State by soldiers of the Nigerian Army during a military exercise code-tagged Operation Python Dance 2 (Egwu Eke Abuo).
The Office of the Prosecutor, ICC, stated this in response to a petition filed to the court by a Nigerian journalist, Ahaoma Kanu, following the military occupation of Afara Ukwu community in Umuahia, Abia State, in an attempt to arrest the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, which led to the alleged killing of several unarmed members of the splinter group.
In the letter numbered OTP-CR-413/17 and dated March 20, 2018, ICC confirmed that the alleged military invasion and deaths recorded were already under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor.
Part of the letter signed by Mark Dillon, head of the information and evidence unit at the Office of the Prosecutor, read: “Accordingly, your communication will be analysed in this context, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information.”
Dillon stated that “under Article 53 of the Rome Statutes, the prosecutor must consider whether there is reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed, the gravity of the crimes, whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the interests of justice.”
He went further to say that “analysis will be carried out as expeditiously as possible, but please be aware that meaningful analysis of these factors can take some time.”
He further pledged to provide reasons for any decision reached by the court to proceed with the investigation.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has argued that agitation for secession is not an offence under the Nigerian laws.
IPOB said this in reaction to the secret trial of its elusive leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s co-defenders, Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
In a statement by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, IPOB questioned the jurisdiction of the Federal High court sitting in Abuja to proceed with the trial of its members over treasonable felony.
IPOB said it has instructed its lawyers to challenge the court’s jurisdiction and to strike out the charge of ‘Treasonable Felony’ against it’s members on the grounds of what a prosecution witness said, “agitating for self-determination or secession is not a crime known to any Nigerian law.”
He said, “We the worldwide family of the Indigenous People of Biafra wishes to draw the attention of the civilized world to what transpired at Justice Binta Nyako’s court in Abuja on March 22, 2018 at the commencement of the trial of four innocent Biafrans.
“The world must know that they are standing trial for offences not known to any law in Nigeria.”
Recall that the secret trial of Kanu’s co-defendants resumed at the Justice Binta Nyako-led court on Thursday with the Nigerian Government calling its first witness.
Co-defendants of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu have taken plea in a fresh charge submitted before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Federal Government.
Four of Kanu’s co-defendants, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi, and Bright Chimezie Tuesday pleaded not guilty to three count-charges of setting up illegal broadcast in London and Nigeria for the secession of the South East, South South and parts of Benue and Kogi States from Nigeria.
They also pleaded not guilty to illegal importation of radio transmitter, and unlawful possession of firearms.
This followed fresh application by the Federal Government, lawyer, Magaji Labaran, who informed the court that a fresh information, which reduces the charges from five to three counts have been filed before the court.
Defence lawyers, Chukwudi Igwe, P.A.N Ejiofor, and Maxwel Okpara had earlier objected to the application.
They had said that the fresh information was a plan to delay the trial and that it was not ripe for hearing having been served on them while in court.
Leader of the Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, BIM, has vowed that his group will repel any attack on Ndigbo by Boko Haram insurgents or herdsmen.
He gave the assurance in a press statement issued in Onitsha, Anambra State, yesterday by Mazi Chris Mocha, BIM spokesman.
Uwazuruike stressed that “one with God is majority and as such, any war anchored on non-violence just like ours is God’s war and must be fought and won.”
He lamented that as a result of insecurity, Biafraland had been engulfed in a second round of civil war with Nigeria, using new methods and ideology since 1999 till date.
He decried killings witnessed years ago in Benue, Taraba, Jos, Bauchi, Kaduna Maiduguri and Sokoto, through “government organised riots”, adding that it was was part of his reason for embarking on Biafra agitation.
Uwazuruike, however, commended the people of the North for listening to him last year when he asked them to withdraw their quit notice given to Ndigbo resident in the northern part of the country.
“I want to thank the people of the North for having listened to me when I came to Arewa house, Kaduna state, by not killing any Igbo man or woman.
“I love them and I also thanked them. I had never expected any apology from the people of the North”.
Igbo Elders Forum has warned South-East governors against making land available for the establishment of cattle colonies in the region.
According to the elders, the proposed cattle colony is not only conservative, retrogressive, obnoxious but parasitic and anti-people.
They noted that with the current population density and constant pressure on the land in the South East which has resulted in many gully erosions in the area, no governor in the region has the moral right to give out any land for the proposed cattle colonies.
Briefing DAILY POST on the issue of the proposed cattle colonies, at the end of its emergency meeting yesterday, Co-chair of the group and two-time Federal Minister, Prof. Ihechukwu Madubuike, said: “Governors in Igboland are advised in their own interest not to give out any land for cattle colony as our people will vehemently resist it.
“The social media reports and some rumours making the round that a governor in Igbo land is contemplating donating 10,000 hectares of land for cattle colony had better remain at the realm of rumor mongering because Ndi-Igbo will resist any such undemocratic and unpopular action.
“It should be remembered that our people still practice shifting-cultivations; that a parcel of land is left to fallow does not mean it is unutilized.”
Leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from the South East geopolitical zone, on Monday endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for a second tenure.
But the leaders also asked Buhari to pay them back in 2023 by supporting a president of Igbo extraction in 2023.
The APC South East leaders announced their endorsement of President Buhari for 2019 election when they paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
National Vice Chairman of APC in South East, Emma Eneukwu, who read the address at the event said that four years was not enough for the President to implement all his projects.
According to him, “It is our conviction that four years is not enough for you to complete this worthy journey hence the need for another four years to enable you make Nigeria truly great.
“We implore Mr President, as a just and fair-minded leader, to make history by supporting the zoning of the office of the President in our great party to the South East at the end of your second tenure in office as President in 2023.’’
They lauded President Buhari for the several projects receiving attention of the Federal Government in the South East, including , 2nd Niger Bridge, Enugu-Port Harcourt road as well as the Enugu-Onitsha –Owerri road, among others.
Responding, President Buhari pledged to give his best to all Nigerians, guided by a clear conscience in making decisions for the progress of the country.
He thanked them for their patriotism, sacrifices and support for the peace and stability of the country.
He said, ‘‘I am very pleased for your patriotism and consistency in supporting our administration. You are always going around explaining things even at the risk of abuse.
‘‘I want you to know that I have not forgotten the efforts and sacrifices you have made in the successes I have achieved in my position and I appreciate what you are doing for the stability of our country and the future of our children and our grandchildren.
‘‘I assure you that whatever I try to do, I will do it with a clear conscience and I’ll do the best I can do for all Nigerians.”
Also speaking in an interview with the State House correspondents, the leader of the delegation and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu urged President Buhari, to name a national asset after late former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, who died November 19th, 2017 in a London hospital.
Onu, said naming an asset after Ekwueme will show that the nation was appreciative of his important contributions to nation building.
He said, “We also thanked the president for the role the federal government is playing under his leadership on the burial of one of our very great sons, former Vice President of this great nation, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. And we told him that the people of the South East will be happy if a national asset is named after him as a way to show that the nation is also appreciative of his important contributions to nation building.”
Onu said, “The APC leadership in the South East met on December 31st last year and endorsed the president for a second term.
“We have come today to reaffirm that and to assure Mr. President that the party is working very hard to win future elections.”
The minister disclosed that President Buhari was very happy with the caliber of people that were in the delegation.
“He was very happy because you can see the caliber of people in this delegation, a very high-powered delegation. We have former leaders of the National Assembly at the highest level, Senate President, Speaker, House of Representatives, former heads of government at the state level, one government or represented by the deputy governor because the governor is out of the country, all the ministers from the south east, serving members in the National Assembly both in the Senate and House of Representatives, former members of the National Assembly and very important members in the party.
“We have our national Vice Chairman in the South East, members of the National