Critical And Unresolved Questions Arising From Abuja Federal High Court’s De-criminalization Of IPOB And Pro-Biafra Nonviolent Campaign In Nigeria
First of all, we make bold to say that the dismissal of six count charges out of the eleven charges as contained in a judgment delivered yesterday, being 2nd March 2017 by the Abuja Division of the Federal Court, presided over by Hon Justice Binta Murtala Nyako was totally correct; though it was grossly belated.
The entire eleven spurious and persecutorial charges levelled against Citizens Nnamdi Kanu, Dave Nwawuisi, Ben Madubugwu and Chidiebere Onwudiwe should have been dismissed in totality.
Though the dismissal is long overdue and long expected but it is legally and constitutionally grounded.
It is a victory for the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and their counterparts in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenants on Civil & Political Rights and Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as well as the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights.
It must be pointed out that matters involving human rights transcend all the boundaries of all regions of the world without hindrances and restrictions.
Other victors of the dismissed spurious charges are the pacifist and nonviolent Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its global and local leaders especially Citizen Nnamdi Kanu (POC); the conscientious segment of the Nigerian media; international leading rights groups like Amnesty International; local leading rights groups like Intersociety and Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations; other respected Igbo groups and individuals residing locally and internationally; and the entire Igbo Race and Southern Nationalities.
Conversely, the worst losers following the long overdue judgment are the Nigerian Army and its COAS, Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai; ailing President Muhammadu Buhari and the SSS and its DG, Alhaji Musa Daura.
Other losers are the Nigeria Police Force and its incumbent and immediate past IGPs, Alhaji Ibrahim Kpotum Idris and Solomon Arase; treacherous and rotten Igbo politicians; to mention but a few.
It is recalled that Hon Justice Binta Nyako had in her judgment dismissed six out of eleven spurious and persecutorial charges leveled against Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and ors.
That is to say that the Hon Pre-trial Court held that:
(1) owing to want or lack of evidence before it from the prosecuting body (i.e. AGF/SSS); IPOB is not an illegal or unlawful society/organization and the defendants do not belong to an illegal or unlawful society/organization;
(2) that the defendants do not own and manage or operate unlawful or illegal society/organization;
(3) that the claims by the prosecution that the defendants are researching how to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) cannot hold waters, because there was no proof that they were doing it;
(4) that there was no evidence before the Court showing that the importation of radio transmission equipment was illegal and contravened the Custom & Excise Act of 2004.
It is also important to note that the eleven spurious charges were repeated or duplicated in some areas.
For the avoidance of doubt the entire nine watery and spurious count charges, duplicated into eleven count charges are:
Count one: conspiracy to commit treasonable felony; in which Nnamdi Kanu, Ben Madubugwu, Dave Nwawuisi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe were accused of using the Radio Biafra London in diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 to campaign for the independence of Biafra;
Count two: treasonable felony by using Radio Biafra for the same purpose;
Count three: managing an unlawful society by forming the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) around 2012;
Count four: publication of defamatory materials/matter on 28th April 2015 against President Muhammadu Buhari;
Count five: improper importation of goods contrary to Section 47 (1) (a) (i) of the Custom & Excise Management Act of 2004.
Count six: improper importation of goods contrary to Section 47 (2) (a) of the Custom & Excise Management Act 2004;
Count seven: management of an unlawful society by keeping a large container housing a Radio Transmitter in Ubuluisiuzor (Ihiala LGA) per Ben Madubugwu known as TRAM 50L;
Count eight: illegal possession of firearms (two pump action guns) by Ben Madubugwu, said to be contrary to Section 27 (b) (i) of the Firearms Act 2004;
Count nine: conspiracy to commit treasonable felony per Chidiebere Onwudiwe and Dave Nwawuisi by installing Radio Biafra Transmitters along Ogui Road in Enugu; and,
Count ten: terrorism per Chidibere Onwudiwe, said to be contrary to Section 2 (1) (a) of the Terrorism (Prevention (Amendment) Act of 2013; by “being caught committing an act preparatory to act of terrorism by researching for the purpose of identifying and gathering of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) making materials to be used against Nigerian security forces”.