A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Mike Ozekhome, has faulted the purported invasion by troops of the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
This comes hours after the IPOB leader was absent in court after he was accused by the Federal Government of engaging in activities that pose threat to Nigeria’s sovereignty.
Reacting to the said invasion when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Ozekhome said the government should have waited for the result of the legal actions taken against the IPOB leader and not resort to invading his residence by the military.
“Now assuming that Nnamdi Kanu has breached every single material particular of those bails, what is the answer? The answer is again through the judicial process,” he said on Tuesday.
“The Federal Government has already done the right thing through its lawyers that filed a motion before the same judge, Justice Binta Nyako, to say ‘my lord, Nnamdi Kanu has breached these bail conditions. The Federal Government should have waited for that legal process to accomplish rather than invade the home through the military.”
Kanu was arrested in 2015 and charged with 11 counts bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony.
Six of the charges, including that of terrorism were struck out in January 2017 and he was consequently granted bail with some conditions on April 25, 2017.
The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinaya Abaribe, and two others had volunteered as sureties for him.
In September 2017, the Nigerian Army started the second phase of its Operation Python Dance in the South East, after which there was a confrontation between soldiers and IPOB members in Abia State.
Following Kanu’s alleged disappearance, Senator Abaribe approached the court requesting to be discharged from the suretyship, bond and recognisance of his bail.
Ozekhome, however, believes invading Kanu’s residence has complicated the matter, saying Nigerians saw “when they (soldiers) penetrated the house.”
“We saw that that was the last time Nigerians saw Nnamdi Kanu in his house. That’s what you call the ‘doctrine of the last scene’. So going by the doctrine of last seen, and the doctrine of ‘res ipsa loquitur’, it means that the last time Nigerians saw Nnamdi Kanu was when he was in his home in Umuahia and the military invaded that home and he has not been seen since then,” he added.
On Senator Abaribe’s application, the lawyer said, “That is where section 171 of the administration of the Criminal Justice Act comes into play.”
“The section says a surety can go back to court and apply and say ‘hello sir, discharge me from my suretyship obligation, … I can no longer see the person that I stood surety for because that person, after the invasion of his home, I’ve not seen him. Abaribe in law will be entitled to ask the court for such prayers.”
“The question then comes; can you tell Senator Abaribe to produce a person that he cannot lay hands on? God forbid, let us assume Nnamdi Kanu was kidnapped and he’s in kidnappers’ den, can you call Abaribe and say ‘you must produce Nnamdi Kanu, even though we are aware that he’s in the kidnappers’ den?” he wondered.