Exclusive: Nigerian government’s reply before ECOWAS court immaterial – Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer

– A lawyer representing the leader of the Indegenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu has said that the ECOWAS community court has the jurisdiction to hear his matter

– The lawyer also said his team has responded to the federal government’s reply that Kanu’s matter cannot be heard by the ECOWAS court

File photo of Nnamdi Kanu A lawyer to the director of radio Biafra Nnamdi Kanu has said that the Nigerian government’s reply to his clients application before the ECOWAS community court is immaterial. Speaking exclusively to 234forum.com, Ifeanyi Ejiofor in Abuja on Friday, August 12 said his team has responded to the federal government’s reply that Kanu’s matter cannot be heard by the ECOWAS court since the matter is already before a court in Nigeria. “We have responded to that most misconceived reply from the federal government because the fact is very clear,” Ejiofor said.

“By virtue of Article 9 (4) of the supplementary protocol 205 relating to ECOWAS community court of justice amended Article 91 of the ECOWAS protocol, the ECOWAS court has the unfettered jurisdiction to get involved when the question which concerns human rights of a citizen of a member state arises. “It is immaterial that the matter is before a municipal court, it is immaterial and it has no base,” he said. Ejiofor said an allegation of the violation of the right of a citizen of any member state mandates the ECOWAS court to look into the matter before it.

He said: “It does not in that case amount to appealing against whatever decision is coming out from the municipal court or the court of the affected state.”

Kanu’s lawyer further said that he has filed a preliminary objection to the reply of the Nigerian government on the matter before the ECOWAS court and the matter slated for hearing on Tuesday, October 6. “We have no doubt about it, we have responded to them on the point of law and the law is very clear.

“The law cannot be rewritten and the ECOWAS, there are authorities bound to that effect, also decided cases by the ECOWAS community court are bound by that effect; cases wherein there is allegations of violation of the rights of a citizen of a member state,” Ejiofor added. He also said that the international court will not hesitate to get involved in the said matter.

“Under relevant international regulations and convention, Nnamdi Kanu is a dual citizen of Nigeria and Britain, if the occasion demand and the state continues to flout the laws by the lower courts;  we have the right to apply for the trial going on in Nigeria be moved to a foreign division where he has citizenship,” he said.

Also speaking, lawyer to the second defendant – Benjamin Madubugwu – told 234forum.com  that a brifing on the matter on Friday, August 12, was to address various conflicying issues arising in the media. Amobi Nzelu said it is irresponisble that the federal government could institute a charge as treasonable felony against Kanu.

“A treasonable felony cannot be committed by one person alone, treasonable felony has to be among some people who are agree to do an unlawful act, to take a government by force,” Nzelu said.

Kanu is currently facing a three-count charge of treasonable felony, management of an unlawful society, concealing of goods in a container and holding goods of different goods description alongside two others – Benjamin Madubugwu amd David Nwawuisi – arrainged for different offences.

Madugbugwu is facing a two-count charge of asssisting in the management of an unlawful society and unlawful possession of firearms and Nwawuisi is accused of assisting in the management of an unlawful society “We went further to tell that there were some orders that were made by a court.

“We have a written law, when a judge of a Federal High Court makes an order, it is only a superior court that can vilify that order,” Nzelu said “It states that the witnesses cannot be masked at all, without anything again, based on other applications, the Federal High Court veried its own order which could have been subject of an appeal, that wa wrong, an appeal is pending,” he said.

Nzelu also said that the his client has gone further to state that he is not the one delaying trial but the prosecution. “The prosecution is bringing one motion or the other one excuse or the other over the particular matter. This is just to alert the public that what is being said or peddled within the media – social and hard media.

It is not that Nnamdi Kanu doesn’t want to go for trial but the prosecution has refused to go on trial,” he continued. He also accused the FG of not being prepared for trial. “The court says it is me, the High Court judge that watches the demeanour of the witness in the witness box. How can I access a witness if he is masked to know whether he is telling a lie or not.

“The same judge summersalted and said that they should be masked. He said that is wrong. “Trials have been public it is open trial unless when you want to try juvenile people; all other trials in Nigeria is done openly,” Nzelu concluded.