Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Aloy Ejimakor, on Sunday warned security agents against molesting supporters of the agitator during Monday’s resumed court proceedings.
Ejimakor explained that Kanu’s trial is an “open trial,” hence his supporters wishing to show solidarity during Monday’s court proceedings are not doing anything illegal.
Kanu, who was rearrested and repatriated a few weeks ago, will continue his trial before the Justice Binta Nyako-led Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday.
Ahead of the trial, there are indications that IPOB members and Kanu’s supporters may not be allowed in during the court proceedings.
However, Ejimakor, in a statement he forwarded to Newsmen, said Kanu’s supporters have the constitutional rights to be present during the hearing.
According to Ejimakor: “This press statement is prompted by media reports indicating that those coming to Abuja to show solidarity with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will be harassed or even arrested by security agents.
“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 the 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”.