Saturday 25th March, 2017
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The imperative of rule of law in Nnamdi Kanu's case

The imperative of rule of law in Nnamdi Kanu's case

It remains highly provocative, dis­gusting and deplorable that Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, is still languishing in President Muham­madu Buhari/Yemi Osibanjo deten­tion centre at Kuje, Abuja, despite subsisting Federal High Court order for his immediate release issued by Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
Equally provocative and particu­larly disturbing is the fact that Mr. Kanu’s continued detention against the order of a court of competent ju­risdiction signals in no small extent a very dangerous trend within the am­bience a self-styled democratic soci­ety which, incidentally, is under the watch of people who rode to power courtesy of respect for democratic ni­ceties. Of course, by implication, if the erstwhile President Goodluck Jona­than had shown the sort of ugly, stub­born and crass inclination to disobey­ing court orders, laws, democratic norms and values as currently typical of the negative behaviour of Buhari-Osibanjo-led government, perhaps, like the June 12, 1993 Presidential de­bacle, the fate of the incumbent APC-led government would have been a clear case of still-birth. Yes, still-birth! Predictably, at worse, crises would have erupted and people would have died, as they are after all dying and/or are being killed anyhow by Fula­ni herdsmen under the watch of this confused government. And perhaps in the circumstance of worst case sce­nario, the military would have moved in to take over the mantle of leader­ship of the Nigerian state. And then in the final analysis, Buhar-Osiban­jo Presidential ambition would have been successfully scuttled.
Anyway, back to the fundamen­tal issue of this piece, it is no long­er news that the prevailing assault on constitutionalism and constitutional democracy in Nigeria today appar­ently speaks volumes about the gen­eral malaises and utter negation of the principles of rule of law that are in­herent in Buhari-Osibanjo-led gov­ernment. Thus, for more than one year now, that this government has not been able to sustain any serious or meaningful charge against Mr. Nnmadi Kanu, a citizen alleged to have committed a “heinous” offence against the Nigerian state, is, to say the least, quite unfortunate. In the same vein, that it has not been able to secure or conclude a successful prosecution of any of the Biafra ag­itators being detained here and there for too long now, is yet a pointer to the fact that this callous government merely takes delight in abusing/vio­lating human rights and fundamen­tal freedoms.
Unexpectedly, though, it is obvi­ous that the only thing it (this gov­ernment) is notoriously good at do­ing and/or may have accomplished so far is its consistency in observing the laws of the land and orders of courts of competent jurisdiction in utter breach. Thereby, more often than not, replacing the rule of law, which encapsulates the idea that the law of a state is supreme, with the rule of man (thereby accentuating and propagat­ing the nasty idea that the whims, ca­prices, prejudices and wishful think­ing of President Muhammadu Buhari are not only above and beyond our established laws, but also constitute commands that must be obeyed by all and sundry, willy-nilly). In­deed, this absolutely poor mentali­ty of President Muhammadu Buha­ri which went viral/public in his first and only Presidential media chat ever held, during which time he report­edly claimed that court order or no court order, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu would never be released due to his alleged “heinous crime” against the Nigeri­an state, deserves in an unmistaka­ble terms a total condemnation. This is more so imperative considering the fact that our seemingly intimidated judiciary has ever since then been strenuously striving to do the bid­ding of President Buhari and/or fol­low his so-called (but plainly useless) body language at the expense of the laid down rules of law.
Little wonder that Nigerian gov­ernment prosecutors have been having a field day slowing down the pace and course of justice in Nnam­di Kanu’s case, among others. Inci­dentally, from being accused of hav­ing allegedly committed the offence of felony against the Nigerian state, to being lately slammed with the de­risive charge of terrorism – which of course came up later as an after­thought. This in a nutshell explains the risible, indecisive, puerile and erratic attitude of the Nigerian gov­ernment over its frivolous allegations against Mr. Nnamdi Kanu. But so far, all to no avail.
That aside, it is now clear that the only seemingly courageous Jus­tice, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who managed to take up the gauntlet by granting Mr. Nnamdi Kanu uncon­ditional bail, is today being persecut­ed and prosecuted by Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly being corrupt. Meanwhile, this is the same Presi­dent whose lawyer reportedly gave the same Justice Ademola the sum of five hundred thousand (#500,000) Naira gift (bribe in disguise) during the latter’s daughter’s wedding, and all of this apparently happening at a time the case of President Muham­madu Buhari’s certificate scandal was seen to be receiving attention before the court of law presided over by the same Justice Ademola. Surely, as the saying goes, wonders shall never cease! Yet, here we are all being mis­led by Buhari-Osibanjo-led govern­ment that Justice Ademola is not be­ing victimized because of his ruling in favour of Nnamdi Kanu (?).
It therefore becomes incum­bent on and imperative for the act­ing President Osinbajo to allow the rule of law to prevail in the case of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, and others, cur­rently languishing in Buhari’s dun­geon. No doubt, this will help a great deal in rescuing the country from the abyss which Mr. Muhammadu Bu­hari left it in.
Chiduluemije, a journalist writes from Abuja

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