A magistrates court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, December 16, had discharged the cases against Kanu, but Obetta had told newsmen after the court’s decision that his client had not yet been released from custody.
“Mr. Kanu has been discharged but not released from custody. There are no legal charges on his neck anywhere in the world,” he said.
In an interview with Daily Sun yesterday, December 21, Obetta accused the federal authorities of giving flimsy reasons in a desperate bid to frustrate his client’s release.
Obetta, however, disclosed that prominent Igbo leaders have waded into the matter, although he did not give details on the level of their intervention.
He said: ”The trial has been hectic and laborious. This matter is still at its preliminary stage and as such my client would have been enjoying his liberty, but the reverse is the case owing to unnecessary legal bottlenecks introduced in the matter by the prosecution.
”My client was arraigned and granted bail by the Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja on 19th October, 2015. Irrespective of the stringent bail conditions, we perfected the process two days later but the prosecution insisted that they have to verify the surety.
”This was despite series of court orders commanding them to release him. While we were still at the magistrate court contending these issues, they went to the Federal High Court, Abuja and obtained an order of court to detain my client for 90 days to enable them conclude investigation on what they termed “terrorism and terrorism financing”.
”It was on this basis that we went to the same court with an application to set the said order aside. The high court that was not fully seized of the facts of a pending matter at the magistrate court now appreciated the full gist, and in its wisdom set aside his order made on 10 November, 2015, where it ordered that my client should be released unconditionally.”
Responding to a question on why the Department of State Services is still holding on to his client, Obetta said: ”That is one of the sundry challenges we are facing – I cannot understand any more.
”My common understanding of the rule of law is that the law is supreme and above every individual and institution. I also know that in a democracy all the three organs of government are independent.
”In Nigeria, we run an impartial and independent judiciary. And I must reiterate, at this point, that I am impressed at the level of judicial activism exhibited by these two courts we have approached in this case.
”They restored the hope of both the Bar and the common man. So, the practice is that once an order is made by a court of competent jurisdiction, it is bound to be obeyed. In this case, we are still watching how it will go.
”We have exercised the fundamental rights of Mazi Kanu as provided for under our law and the court has upheld our point of argument. The court has made an order to which the prosecution has been served the content to which is to the effect that they should release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally. This order was served on them on the 17th October, 2015.”